Have you ever had an old story idea that you absolutely love, but can’t quite get the gumption to work on? You love the concept and characters, but something is blocking your progress. Or perhaps you wrote it a long time ago, and now you’re looking at it as this mammoth task of rewriting that needs to be done. Well, never fear, many of us have been there. That’s why, today, I’d like to talk about reviving an old story!
There are a few things you can do to pump some life back into the heart of your story. Have you thought about writing it from another character’s POV? That might sound drastic, and you picked your MC for a reason, right? But is your MC really the right person to tell this tale? I talk more about this here. What would happen if you experimented with another character being in charge? Try some role reversals, even if it’s just between some side characters, and see if it sparks your imagination again.
You can also try changing tense (present, past, future, etc.), or POV (in terms of first, second, or third person). Sometimes, a story can come to life in one POV and not another. I discovered this about one of my own projects. In third person it just didn’t work (and that’s actually my favorite POV), but in first person there was a big difference and it got me excited about the story all over again. And the changing of tense can either make your story feel more dramatic, intimate, or distanced, depending on what you’re writing, so it’s worth swapping it around just to have a look.
Think about altering your setting, world, or locations, perhaps even your time period. Can changing one or the other (or many) breathe freshness into your tale? Can it add new elements you’ve never considered before? What happens if your Victorian fantasy becomes a cyperpunk novel? Or you go from the 1600s all the way to the 2500s? Be bold and daring, and just see what happens.
Take out old characters and put in new ones. Making new faces appear on the page reinvents your world in terms of its population. And in doing so, you have fresher elements to work with. New people bring new personalities, and with it comes new conflict, drama, and relationships.
Play with your concept. Really analyze what’s going on with your premise. Is there a vital part that doesn’t excite you as much as it should? Is an area of information fuzzy? What else do you have in your idea bank that can help lift your story up to the next level? What new thoughts, emotions, and feelings do you want to convey? Can any of these work to revive that old story of yours?
I am sure there are plenty of other techniques you can use to build a new life for your old story, and I think it’s exciting to look for them. However, perhaps you’ve come to the conclusion that you only like parts of the story. And maybe that means you can re-purpose and reuse them for another tale. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve certainly done it. My old story got new life…just not in the way I thought it would. Either way, keep writing and loving what you do!
Until next time,