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How to create new stories from existing writing

Part of writing includes stalled starts and manuscripts that are better left in a drawer. But sometimes those pieces of writing that didn’t work out can be turned into something new. Add to that, poems or essays or short stories that reveal ideas and characters so compelling that they may generate brand new works.

One example of this is the memoir Breaking Clean by Montana author Judy Blunt. The first chapter was initially an essay Blunt wrote as a college writing assignment.

Short story writer Pete Fromm wrote How All This Started, a novel, which began as a short story by the same name that was published in his short story collection, Night Swimming.

I recently read a poem to my writer’s group and my writer pals said they wanted to know more about one of the characters in the poem. Maybe my poem will lead to a short story or novel.

Even drafts that don’t work may have promise. As we write and read and write again, we change and learn. We have a new perspective. A draft that didn’t seem to work years ago may have new life in light of all we’ve learned.

What drafts or works have you written that still resonate? Maybe now is the time to give them new life.

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