Saturday, June 14, 2008

Trunk Novels

We've all got 'em. And (unless we're Stephen King) they'll never see the light of day. But what makes them special? I mean, sure they've got problems, but if we managed to stick it out to the end there they must have some redeeming qualities, or else why spend that much time writing them?

Maybe a novel doesn't turn out like you anticipated. Maybe the audience has changed--or the genre--to something you can't quite define, and furthermore have no idea how to query.

Maybe there's a plot problem, and you know how to fix it, but the idea of yet another overhaul doesn't exactly excite you.

Maybe it'd sound better in third person. Never know until you try, right? ;)

Whatever it is, these are the novels we loved, and now that--for one reason or another--they just sit there gathering dust, we love to hate. Betas despise them, agents won't touch them, but we have a soft spot for those pages of manuscript that equal countless hours of our lives.

What's so special about your trunk novels? Or, is it not so much a "love-hate" kind of thing, but more like a "see you in Hell" kind of thing?


Catherine said...

My trunk novels taught me that I had a hell of a lot to learn about everything from the basics of grammar, to how to string a cohesive plot together. They will never see the light of day.

On the other hand, they also taught me that I come up with some kick-arse ideas and characters, and that I had some modicum of talent. Knowing what I could achieve if I worked harder made me keep at this writing gig.

And I'm still totally in love with one of my (gary stu) creations. So There.

Vanessa Concannon said...

I only hold onto the idea of mine because the idea is Beauty and the Beast. And well, that is my favorite, basically.

Taught me about Mary-Sues, careful plotting, and layers of meaning. Taught me about research, and how it's better done sooner than later.

Also, taught me how I had been limiting myself to what's been done. I don't think I do that so much anymore.

Jacqui said...

My first novel will remain in the trunk forever, I hope. I was so attached to it then, but it was SO fatally flawed.

My second novel was for NaNoWriMo and was a blast to write, but very much deserves its spot in the dark, never to emerge.

Haphazard said...

With my trunk novels (and LORDY are there a lot of them) I think mostly is... well. They sucked. There may have been some great parts to them but everything else was so lacking that they couldn't be saved.

And this is why I'm a cannibal. Can't let these good things go to waste.

beth said...

I call them "sentimental novels," but its the same thing.

Mine taught me that I could write a whole book, and that it could be a book I could be proud of.

It also taught me that not everyone agrees with my taste, that I've got to work more on craft and "publishability" and that if I want to make a career of this writing thing, I've got to move on.

Sage said...

I have a couple of trunk novels and several "trunk" fanfics (novella length). I think the main thing the fanfics taught me was that I could write a story. An interesting one. And as I wrote more, I got better at it.

The trunked novels then taught me I could write in my own universe and finish the novel. I also learned a lot about editing on my first trunked novel. The other one was a NaNo project that I didn't take as seriously as I've taken my later ones.

I still love the novels, love the characters, but both would require a major overhaul to be publishable and with my later writing, I can see that. So, trunkage :-)

Trish Doller said...

My trunk novel started out as Civil War historical fiction, but I lost interest when I decided I didn't want to write love/sex scenes between the MC and her love interest.

Since I started writing YA, I've decided to pull out that old idea, dust it off, and see if making it a YA might breathe some life back into it. I think it will.