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Like most writers, I have a trunk full of unfinished or abandoned projects.  
 
Whenever I think of a possible story, I make a few notes so that I don’t forget the basic idea. For flash fiction/shorts I might only write a sentence. For novels, I write a rough, query-size description.
 
Some of the stories never get past the summary stage, but I find it useful to rummage through that trunk on a semi-regular basis. Not least because I sometimes come across a promising idea which I’d forgotten all about.
 
Over the weekend (between shoveling the rest of the driveway and clearing a path from our front door to the mail box), I dusted off my ideas folder and found this brief summary of an idea I had for an MG novel:
 

Dead Doris (MG urban fantasy)

 Doris and Kimberley are best friends. Doris is pretty, confident and by far the smarter of the two, but Kimberley wouldn’t trade places with her for the world. After all, who’d want to be the ghost of a ten-year-old girl?
 
Not that Doris is dead you understand. She’s only ‘mostly dead’, and as everyone
knows, mostly dead is slightly alive. 

 
Every year, on the anniversary of her death, a door appears at the spot where
Doris died and she must choose whether to stay on earth or walk through
the golden door and become ‘all dead’. This year though, the door
appeared two days early. Instead of polished gold, it’s black and covered in slime. Something’s trying to come through from the other side.  It wants Kimberley.  Is it Death? If so, what did she ever do to be
sent to the dark place? 

 
One thing’s for sure. Doris isn’t about to let anything bad happen to her best friend.  
 

My current WIP, A Union of Snakes, should keep me occupied for a good part of this year, but when that’s done, I think I’ve found my next project.  
 
How about you?
 
What all-but forgotten story ideas are hiding in your trunk?  
 

    
  


 




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( 64 comments — Leave a comment )
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ex_naomi_ja
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:16 am (UTC)
Too many to go into detail... I've got a post-apocalyptic angels versus demon thing, a paranormal romance, the beginnings of numerous novellas and short stories, another post-apocalyptic "thief in the wrong place at the wrong time" type thing, the start of the sequel to AFTERLIFE, a satirical urban fantasy about vampires, and God knows what else!
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)
Any favorites for the next WIP, or would that be the AFTERLIFE sequel?
(no subject) - ex_naomi_ja - Feb. 16th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 16th, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
meredith_wood
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:25 am (UTC)
I like that idea! I have three books lined up to be written, but the trunk of maybes is empty for me right now.
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 12:46 pm (UTC)
Are the three a series, or seperate ideas?
(no subject) - meredith_wood - Feb. 16th, 2010 01:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 16th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - meredith_wood - Feb. 16th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
saetter
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:33 am (UTC)
I'm too stubborn to leave anything in the trunk. :) It's either worth spending the blood and sweat developing or it not.

Of course, I'm just now finishing my first book too... This finally finished manuscript is kind of the third version. The first was just dabbling while I was in college (where I wrote maybe 8 chapters). The second got about 300 pages before I realized the story was being pulled in the wrong direction by a subplot. This final version I began from the ground up with only slight veering from my original outline.

I do have several projects lined up, though.
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 12:50 pm (UTC)
I have about twenty novel ideas in my trunk, several of which (like A Union of Snakes) have most, if not all of a first draft written, albeit a badly written one.

I'm too stubborn to throw ideas away, but when something's not quite panning out, I've no qualms about stuffing it in the trunk for a while.
asakiyume
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:33 am (UTC)
mostly dead is slightly alive

I love that line! Your scenario here sounds great.
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC)
I wish I could claim it as my own work, but I stole that line from Miracle Max in The Princess Bride :)
(no subject) - asakiyume - Feb. 16th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 16th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Feb. 16th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
bogwitch64
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:40 am (UTC)
Dead Doris sounds AWESOME!!! I love it, and so will YA readers. Union of Snakes better be dang good to keep you from DD!!

I know how it feels to have to exciting (to me) projects--as you saw yesterday in my LJ. It's always good to have something waiting in the wings; but sometimes, it's frustrating too!

I'm not the sort who can flip flop between books. Are you?
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
You're right, it's a great feeling to have more than idea vying for your attention, but like you, I can't flip flop between books.
out_totheblack
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
I have two good ideas in my trunk. One is pretty old, the other rather new. The old one is called Taedium Vitae, a vampire story with a twist (no they don't sparkle). It goes on the premise that there is an incompatablity in human blood that turns them into the undead, nosferatu type things and compatable humans have all but dissapeared.

The other is a military YA. I'm really interested in this one. I keep coming back to it. I've talked to one of my brothers in the army about it since he has the actual experience. To really write it, I'd need to go spend some time on post with him and get to talk to different families.
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
That vampire one sounds interesting, though I know bogwitch64 will be sorry to hear about the lack of sparkles ;)
out_totheblack
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:51 am (UTC)
Ooooo, that sounds really good.
out_totheblack
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:52 am (UTC)
lol, that was to you Jon. I like Dead Doris.
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 16th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
a_r_williams
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC)
Wow, I have quite a few!

Some are just ideas that even after some time has passed still don't have any life to them. Some I look at and go--hmmm, not yet--but maybe next. A few scary ones that may be a challenge. And then the ones that I definitely want to consider being the next story to write.

Some need to be re-written. One of these is going to be my next one, it's been sitting there for a while so I should be able to look at it with a more critical eye.
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:30 pm (UTC)
'Some need to be re-written.'

I know that feeling. I wrote a (bad) first draft of A Union of Snakes back in 2004. I love the world and the characters and the story, but not my writing. I'm basically treating that first draft as an outline.
temporus
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:29 pm (UTC)
I have a lot of ideas sitting in limbo, waiting to be told which way they are going...up or down. Once I'm done with an idea, in general, I'm done with it. Not all projects are worth revisiting. Sometimes, I stopped working on them for a damn good reason. I do have a number of ideas I sketched out, but never fully drafted. Those sit in the pile until I have the time, or until I have completed necessary research. Which can be a dangerous excuse, I know. But I would only be worried of that if it meant I did no writing at all. Instead I just keep bringing forward stories that require no, or less research, so that I can keep producing until I have the chance to reserach what I need.

jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
'Not all projects are worth revisiting.'

For sure. It's like we talked about on Saturday, when we discussed songwriting. Sometimes an idea sounds great in your head but comes out wrong. It's not out of tune or anything, it just doesn't work.

I figure I've saved myself hundreds of hours over the last few years by walking away from a stories that I could see weren't working, and as you say, there's always another one waiting to be told, so it's not like no writing got done.
mongrelheart
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC)
Dead Doris sounds amazing!

I've got a zillion story ideas that are waiting in line for my attention. I'm slow ;)
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC)
Lol, so many stories, so little time :(
clarionj
Feb. 16th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
Your story ideas make great novel hooks or blurbs. I've never been able to write a blurb like that before writing the story. I don't think in ideas apparently. I have a hundred story starters or poetic scribblings lying around though, with no knowledge of where they might one day go. I go back to the one where the image catches me.
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 02:33 pm (UTC)
I like to start with the blurb and expand from there, but whatever works best for you is the best way to go, right?
(no subject) - clarionj - Feb. 16th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
scriitor
Feb. 16th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
Erk. Enough to know most of them will never get the chance to escape my skull. Depressing.
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
Hehe, just the ones that want it enough, right? :)
phoenixfirewolf
Feb. 16th, 2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
More than a few, including some finished projects that I want to rework now that I know more about writing. That won't be for a while yet.

They're all UF and Fantasy with a smattering of Sci Fi.
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
I love going over old projects and seeing how I can improve them.
(no subject) - phoenixfirewolf - Feb. 16th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 17th, 2010 09:16 am (UTC) - Expand
debikm
Feb. 16th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
I have hordes of snippets, ideas, paragraphs and short pieces that I've written over the years. Any one of them could blossom into a full blown story, and I'm adding all the time. As far as large-scale unfinished business, I'd have to say that my fantasy epic, at over 200 pages and following my heroine from the age of twelve on up, is the ultimate work in progress. I will probably never finish it. I love this character, and all the others that appear with her, but it's unwieldy and she's had far too much tragedy in her life. If I fill in the gaps in her history, I may alleviate that overwhelming black cloud, but other projects have horned their way into my attention. Rayne may never see the light of day.
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
All those darned projects, every one of them jostling for position at the front of the queue :(
sandy_williams
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
I have notes jotted down for three sci-fi roms. I haven't started trying to write them yet, so I don't consider them trunked. Really, I only have one 3/4th written trunk novel: my first attempt at a book, a sci-fi with, you guessed it, a strong romantic element. This book was written before I realized I'm basically a romance author. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Lots of good elements there, and I'm sure I'll pull it out and brush it off one of these days, but I have other things on my plate to finish first.

I really <3 trunked novels. I wish authors would talk about theirs more!
jongibbs
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
Even if we never use them, I guess they're all part of the learning process.
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there















 











THE MEAGER PUDDLE OF LIMELIGHT AWARDS


Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

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