Left Over Story

What is a writer supposed to do with bits of story, backstory and such like left over after publication?

Deliberately Left Over Story

A few years back I was working on what turned into “The Uncovered Policeman; Made For TV” when I discovered a chunk of the story was going in a different direction to the main narrative. I cut it out and dumped it into a separate file, summed up three thousand words in five lines and carried on.

Three thousand words, it was a lot of work, I wasn’t going to waste it, surely? Certainly not.

I added a few characters and followed the narrative. I ended up with one of my longer stories, “While Bees Sleep.” A story described by one reviewer as “a fine contribution to the literature of the body-positive movement.”

Unneeded detail

My last novelette, D-Day for Ruth is very much a one Point of View (PoV) piece. However, there are other characters in the book and to make the story work, they need a backstory.

One of the backstories developed into an interesting narrative of its own.

I was tempted to write it into the timeline of the existing story. I soon realised that it would involve extending the story beyond the ending as it exists. Effectively, it would become a different story.

I think it may appear as a second story however, it lacks an ending … Perhaps, one day!

The Unfinished Book

A third type of left over material is the incomplete work.

I have a half finished science fiction book. I think it has a rather good plot. I’d got to an ending … except as an early reader pointed out I give away the ending on the third page! That, he pointed out, makes reading the book rather pointless.

On re-reading after that blow, I discovered that I also break an established rule of the universe I set it in, which was very silly.

I still hope to return to this one and straighten out the mistakes.

So, No Waste

As you’ll see from the examples above I hate waste! It doesn’t mean that I don’t have old ideas, half paragraphs and unfinished stuff floating around. While some writers may discard work, I don’t; everything is recycled eventually.

D-Day for ruth

D-Day for Ruth

Ruth is a young woman, she is on the verge of her divorce from a controlling husband. She sees her divorce as a liberation, her D-Day! The day she regains her freedom. A day worth celebrating. A day for sticking two fingers up at her soon-to-be absolute ex!

Her first decision is how to mark all three days in one action.

The story of D-Day for Ruth was inspired by the cover image (used with kind permission) by @nudismnu.

I had asked on Twitter for a cover image for the next NBL Solutions story. This missed the brief by a considerable margin. Melody is a lady of a certain age and generous proportions. Ruth in the image is much too slim, young and agile. The image needed a different story. This is it!

Once again I found myself writing in a female voice, something I feel comfortable doing. I’ve not been criticised for my tone or phrasing by a female (yet). I read several segments of this as a work in progress to the Creative Writing Group (thank goodness for Zoom!) and the lady authors all managed to empathise with Ruth!

D-Day for Ruth is a Novelette, 10 000 words long. Amazon included it as a 90-minute read. Which makes it ideal for a day’s commute, a flight, while ignoring the TV News or just lounging around the pool!