Alix Kunkle: Sometimes, it's fun to look back to see what you did
Earlier this week, I stumbled across a folder on my computer of some of my fiction wanderings from years ago. I've always enjoyed writing fiction in my spare time (probably since junior high school, or maybe 10th grade), and I still do to this day. One day, I'd like to publish a fiction book (bonus if it catches on). So far, I've made it to about 50 pages of single-spaced text in Microsoft Word. And, on this current draft, I'm not even half-done.
But I decided to start reading some of those old drafts, ones that I kept "just because." Boy, did that give me a chuckle. I read one of the earlier ones — it, too, got pretty developed, but it was far from complete — and I couldn't help but laugh the whole way through.
I won't share the details (because I never know if I might use parts of it again, and I don't like to share!), but it was based on some events of an everyday teenager, with some not-so-everyday events mixed in. Would it be something I'd write now? Probably not, but again, I never know.
But people always tell us to look forward, and don't look back. Generally, that's true. But every once in a while, it's OK to take a look back at what you did earlier in life, and just reminisce about the times.
And sometimes, pulling out a senior project or a college essay that you were proud of can spark something in you. Even though I probably wouldn't use anything word-for-word from that draft of the novel I was reading, it sparked ideas for me. Ideas that I could turn into new scenes in my current writing. For example, I stumbled across a scene with a bad thunderstorm. I also had a less developed scene with another thunderstorm at a swimming pool. The wheels in my mind start to turn, and I've got the idea for a bigger, better scene.
It's something we can all do in our hobbies. We can take a picture we drew in high school and make it into a bigger and better portrait or landscape. That old dress you wore to prom? Use it as the basis for a quilt if you like to sew.
The possibilities are endless. Another example — I like to use everyday life moments as the basis for scenes in my writing. It serves a twofold purpose — it helps develop my stories and characters, but it also serves as a way to look back, five years from now, and laugh at some of the silly things that happened.
Hopefully, in a few years, you'll be able to read about what I'm talking about when you pick up the next hot bestseller.
Alix Kunkle is the news editor at the Leesville Daily Leader in Leesville, La. You may contact him at email@example.com.