I found a lost treasure.
When I first became serious about writing, I was working on a Toshiba laptop (this was a while back, so it was a thick, gray monster of a thing!) Eventually, I upgraded to a thinner, nicer, younger laptop. One which had tons more storage capacity but did not have anyplace to insert a floppy disc. I promised myself I would eventually take all those discs to school (where old computers never go away!) and email myself the many documents saved therein, but I kept forgetting. Eventually the discs were tucked in a box and I stopped thinking about them until last spring when an editor (who’s probably given up on me by now! *grin*) asked me if I had any short stories. I pulled out the discs and started looking through them, surprised at all the work I’d let slip out of my sight.
A few days ago, I came across a fragment of a story I’d begun in a shared-world format. I’d given up the world after someone else appropriated Grog, my character, and led him far away from the story I meant for him. When I reread the fragment I’d written, Grog seemed to wake up in my head, and now he’s been wandering around in there for days, banging into the walls and grumbling about how his story was really supposed to go. (And leaving his socks on the floor. Geez.) I’m so hyper to work on his story, it makes my hands shake. I let myself play in Grog’s world only after I’ve worked on the novel, though – he’s become a prize for me.
I guess what I wanted to bring up today is that nothing is ever lost. That novel you couldn’t sell ten years ago might be just the thing for the current market. Dust it off and take a look. Those early stories that were clearly not saleable still might give birth to new and exciting ideas now. Maybe there are fragments still waiting for your attention, while you were focused on other work and couldn’t recognize them for the gems they were.
Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.