What We Leave Behind

I’ve been going through all of my partially completed novels, to put them on my mental list of potential worlds as I write short stories.

Including my three finished drafts, two of which are from the same series, I have about a dozen.

I honestly have no idea how that compares to other writers; I know a few, but it seems an intimate question somehow, and we’re always talking about the projects we haven’t currently abandoned. But I’ve got almost ten drafts gathering metaphorical dust because I can’t write more than one book at a time and it’s too late to stop them from having multiplied in the past.

This is something I wanted to mention because my family has confirmed that we will be moving in July…in less than a month, technically. And as I began to mentally prepare for everything that’s going to entail, my top considerations definitely weren’t ‘old novel attempts’ for understandable reasons.

But, one of my unfinished novels is an idea that I still think holds amazing promise. It’s YA, and it makes the setting a central character, with a scavenger hunt that in the end leads the protagonist to friends and love within her new home.

The problem is, I came up with the idea and made the setting so crucial to the story because it’s set here, in Salt Lake City, a place I’ve gotten to know very well over the decade we’ve lived here. I know it not just the way any resident would, but as someone who relies on public transit, who has lived in a car and became familiar with places most people don’t notice.

I was all prepared to channel that expertise into finishing that book, someday down the line after others I’ve deemed more worth my time. Now my time is up. Sure, I could Google Maps-and-bluff my way through a draft, but there’s a real possibility I won’t ever come back here—making revision and fact checking, especially over time, pretty difficult.

And yes, it’s possible I could learn my way around a new city and then transplant the idea…but that wouldn’t change the fact that I would still never be writing this book, one that felt like it was meant to be written.

So, how do you say goodbye to a good idea that’s still good but no longer viable? Do you mourn and move on, or just keep it in that “someday” folder and refuse to accept defeat?

I think for now, I’ll choose the latter. 🙂

PS: Wildcard Weekend is still ongoing, and tomorrow I’ll post a list of the stories I’ve completed so far, with links for easy reading.

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What We Leave Behind

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