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View Full Version : How many manuscripts are at the bottom of *your* drawer?


Mharvey
08-17-2011, 09:45 PM
Today I went back and actually counted all the drafts of novels I've gotten 50%-100% the way through and abandoned for one reason or another. That number is depressingly high at 10.

How many forever unfinished concepts or (by your estimation) unpublishable works line the bottom of your drawer - or take up space on a hard-drive - somewhere?

Darkshore
08-17-2011, 09:50 PM
So far just my UF Novel that I trunked as un-fixable elephant fecal matter. Keeping it though just in case I ever feel the urge to write another UF Novel. I'll polish that turd one day I swear!

quicklime
08-17-2011, 09:51 PM
zero...I have one I need to stop hangin around here to finish, then I start another book or two

quicklime
08-17-2011, 09:54 PM
as for your ten, maybe some are fixable long-term, maybe you have an issue with committing or finishing you need to deal with, or maybe they are just dead ventures......John Saul made headlines for the advance his first novel got, but it was book 7, the first six nobody would touch with bleach and a hazmat suit. Multiple trunked books is not at all uncommon.

As for the 3 possibilities above, and if your books SHOULD be trunked....that's something you'd have to sort out for yourself.

Margarita Skies
08-17-2011, 10:02 PM
I just went through my manuscripts' folder and I have three incomplete manuscripts and five or six projects that are in my plans but not started just yet, and about 20 of them finished, but none of my projects are forever unfinished or abandoned. I am 70k words into a new manuscript I started on July 10, 2011 and 28k into another one I started on August 3, and I am working on those. Next, I am going to work on two of my incomplete projects since I started working on two projects at the same time last month and so far it's worked like a charm. The only way any of my projects will ever be abandoned is if I decide to stop writing forever, something I will never do, unless I can no longer use my hands or my voice to get words into a word processor, or unless I die. I put projects on hold when I find myself depressed and unable to write anything, but once I snap out of that I go right back to work, so no, none of my projects will be forever abandoned. :) I like to finish what I started, especially manuscripts. Otherwise I feel incomplete, like there's something pending, waiting, and I don't like that.

Karen Junker
08-17-2011, 10:37 PM
I only have two at the moment. Trying to decide if the were-penguin shaggy dog story deserves to become a novel...

CheyElizabeth
08-17-2011, 10:46 PM
About five. Three of them I know for sure I'm going to finish.

Jonathan Dalar
08-17-2011, 10:57 PM
I'm sure most of my unfinished trunked stuff will be taken out someday and finished. Right now I have a dozen or so viable novels, along with probably twice as many story ideas that could go any length. They're all just sitting around in various unfinished forms or in my notes document. They'll all get done eventually, they just have to start shouting loud enough for me to pay attention.

Anaquana
08-17-2011, 11:36 PM
None. I have a lot of files full of story ideas that I'll eventually get around to working on or finishing, but I don't have any that are "trunked" in the sense that they are complete and utter rubbish that should never see the light of day.

Witch_turtle
08-17-2011, 11:39 PM
I have 6 "trunked," plus the one I'm currently working on/almost finished. Two of those trunked ones were written when I was a preteen, so I consider them unsalvageable. Two others I just fell out of love with and so never bothered to finish/edit them. And the other two I plan on going back to, someday...maybe.

On one hand it is a bit depressing to have such a high number of completed/nearly completed/abandoned projects, but then, I literally started writing books when I was a child. So I pretty much consider everything before my current novel as practice, stories I wrote both for fun and to teach myself how to write.

Shadow_Ferret
08-17-2011, 11:49 PM
I guess all if them.

I have 3 that are infinished and abandoned. I'm just stuck on where to go with them.

I have 1 finished that is a trunk novel. It just requires too much work and thought to fix.

Then I have one that I was subbing, but after 60+ rejections it might as well be abandoned.

And then I have 4 other sequels to that one that are unfinished and probably will stay unfinished if the one can't be sold.

dangerousbill
08-17-2011, 11:58 PM
Today I went back and actually counted all the drafts of novels I've gotten 50%-100% the way through and abandoned for one reason or another. That number is depressingly high at 10.


Six.

I like all of them, and if I live long enough, I'll probably finish them.

All except the one about a dystopian future when the world is run by religious nutcases. Seems that events moved faster than I expected by some 20 years.

AlwaysJuly
08-18-2011, 12:04 AM
Well, it depends on how we define "unfinished". I'd say three.

One fantasy novel that I heart, but it's just out of control... I was 50k in and I felt all I'd accomplished was worldbuilding and getting my MC married off to a slightly less awful ass than her father was. I do want to resucitate that story someday, but for now it's moping around my hard drive.

One completed, many times re-written, novel that needs yet another re-write. I'd like to come back to this someday, but it's taken up more of my writerly energies than I think any one MS should, so it's shelved for now.

One mostly-completed rough draft that I think just needs some extra scenes inserted and then the old polish-polish. But the plot involves a suicide attempt, and someone very close to me just committed suicide. I think it's a good story, but I just can't read it, let alone edit it right now.

If only we had world enough, and time...

celticroots
08-18-2011, 03:11 AM
Right now, I don't have any abandoned manuscripts. I did have one that I didn't work on for a long time, but I finished that, and I am now 35K on a novel that will probably never see the light of day. I also have other ideas for short stories and novels that I haven't gotten around to writing yet.

DrunkenLilacs
08-18-2011, 03:15 AM
ABOUT 7 O____O. It's my goal to finish all!!!!!!!

AlishaS
08-18-2011, 05:33 AM
I don't have a *drawer* lol but I do have a *trunk* and in it are 2 completed manuscripts, one that I shopped around to agents but never got any where, it needs to be revised. And I have another that I completed but lost interest in it when a good beta friend of mine ripped it to shreds.

And then 1 have 20K of another novel that I loved, but after a long break from writing wasn't able to find my way back into it.

So, that's a total of three, and I plan to finish the one and edit and polish the other two.

Lady MacBeth
08-18-2011, 05:54 AM
I have 8, but two of them are being read by agents. I never abandon them completely, but let them "rest" between revisions.

htrent
08-18-2011, 06:09 AM
Er. Four? Maybe five? Uh...six?

I do plan on finishing four of them when I'm not being bogged down by the series I started.

Desperate City
08-18-2011, 06:32 AM
Probably 5 or 6 that have enough meat in them to be considered finish-able stories. I also find that if i know a story is truly dead (thankfully not too many of those) I pick parts of it off I think I may need for other stories, kind of like still picking at a turkey even after you're full. A lot of times I can salvage big chunks from long dead stories.

Like Shadow Ferret, I have a totally completed trunk novel that probably requires too much work to fix. But I still love the characters in it, so who knows, one day I may get around to resurrecting that bird.

Jehhillenberg
08-18-2011, 06:35 AM
shelved and trunked, whatever, I only have one complete ms that's put away but to be revised in the future...maybe? I've got PLENTY of stories, but they're either unfinished or middle school efforts.

Becky Black
08-18-2011, 01:14 PM
None! (Feel free to hate me now. ;)) Even before I was writing for publication, every novel and novella got finished eventually, edited and put on my website. Some of it was fanfic, some original. The one that came the closest to never being seen again was my 2009 NaNoWriMo effort. A fanfic, the only time I did a fanfic for NaNo. It was torture to write and just didn't make a damn bit of sense. I did finish it (out of pure bloody-mindedness), but I came very close to not doing any more with it after that. But in the end I did edit it - and by edit I mean I cut 30k of its 50k words and rewrote the entire second half. It was good discipline for me, as I've never had to do such extensive revisions to anything before.

seun
08-18-2011, 01:18 PM
Unfinished? None. I've started eleven books and finished eleven although none are published.

Anne Lyle
08-18-2011, 01:29 PM
Somewhere between 4 and 6 - it's hard to be sure, since I have a bunch of half-finished stabs at the same concept. These are all pre-NaNoWriMo efforts, before I learnt how to plan out a novel and finish it!

I'll probably go back and mine them for ideas one day - I'll need something to write after I finish this current trilogy!

gothicangel
08-18-2011, 02:34 PM
One, but not for long. Once I've finished off the draft on my WIP, I'm dusting off the trunked crime novel and see how I can rewrite it into a Roman historical thriller.

BigWords
08-18-2011, 03:46 PM
There's eight finished (but hopelessly broken) novels, two semi-completed ones, five scripts and enough kipple to make anyone depressed at the sight of it.

Also, the bottoms of drawers can only take so much weight, and sooner or later they will collapse under the strain - I think that there's a metaphor in there somewhere...

KTC
08-18-2011, 03:51 PM
Sebastian's Poet
The Reasons
Half Dead & Fully Broken
Chasing Empty
That's Me In The Corner
5

September
08-18-2011, 04:11 PM
Six or seven, I think. Some of them are half-finished. Only one is worth trying to resuscitate, and it needs to be completely rewritten.

bearilou
08-18-2011, 06:11 PM
I don't know if I can count the one I started twenty years ago, didn't finish and shoved under my bed, only to get lost to the mists of time and moving seven times.

I've only trunked one, my first NaNo attempt, which I have pulled out three years later and am now completely reworking the idea.

htrent
08-18-2011, 07:44 PM
Oh. Yeah, I forgot about that NaNo attempt... add one more to my tally. :(

Cav Guy
08-19-2011, 01:29 AM
Five novels...two in my main genre. There are a couple of likewise non-main genre short stories kicking around, but I work on them to fill creative voids.

I just decided to stop working on one draft novel (I wasn't happy with the developing plot), but plan to get back to it once a new idea works its way through. So I'm not counting it as trunked.

J.W. Alden
08-19-2011, 09:32 AM
I have three, one of which is "finished" in the sense that it has a beginning, middle, and end. The other two I abandoned part of the way in.

One was about 70% finished and I abandoned it after getting my first ever case of writer's block, which in retrospect I see was caused by my desire to write a novel despite the fact that this particular story is not suited for that length. I'll probably go back to this one day and write it the way it wants to be written, probably as a short story or novella.

The other unfinished one is only a few pages. It's a zombie story, which is not my usual forte, but I just got it in me to start writing it one day. I stopped because I was in the middle of the other, and have never gone back to it. I might one day, though I have no idea when, as I'm not that confident that I can make a fresh enough approach to that type of story that has been done so many times over.

The "finished" story is my baby from my teenage years. It started out on binder notebook paper and eventually made its way to a hard drive over the years. The sentimental/nostalgic part of me would love to revisit that story one day, but it's not likely. Bad teenage writing aside, the basic premise doesn't interest me as much as it did when I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Plus, I've gutted it of a few themes and ideas and incorporated them into other works, including my current WIP.

lorna_w
08-27-2011, 03:49 AM
2 finished ones--my first novel is actually gone, tossed into a recycle pile at some point though it may have been marketable. Then there's this novel that seemed like such a good idea at a time--hey, I said, there's this subgenre I like, and I read thoroughly in it, and nobody had ever done it like this and wasn't it a clever idea of me. I wrote the novel and by the end I said, "aha, I see now why nobody has ever done it like this!" I admit, it was boring my way. My first attempt at a mystery petered out about at 100 pages, but again, that's a good thing because I learned what not to do and if I learn a good lesson, I don't consider it time wasted.

The other two finished novels I have could sell one day, or I might self-publish them. But I'm more focused on what comes next than what went before.

Chronos
08-27-2011, 02:15 PM
I have no "trunked" novels but I have 5 that are sitting on my hard drive waiting on me to finish. Oh and the 3 real folders full and 12 gig on my lappy of stuff for a 12 book fantasy series that I'm not allowing myself to start until i finish the others. ^_^

JinxVelox
08-27-2011, 04:22 PM
About 25, but that number *is* diminishing, since I suddenly have time to write and complete all of my projects!

Being a homeschooling mom has definitely cut into my writing time, but getting divorced suddenly changed all of that. LOL Now my son is with his dad every 4 months, giving me 8-10 hours a day to write... until my new husband drags me off the laptop and tells me that I've been working too hard. ;)

Snowstorm
08-27-2011, 07:46 PM
I have one that is trunked. It's finished, but an agent said a college-aged gal is not salable, so sometime I'll revise it.

I have a second that's more like in the dresser, but sometime I'd like to edit it and submit for a romance.

ladyleeona
08-27-2011, 09:41 PM
Four are trunked while I finish up the current WIP. Three of those trunked bits are salvageable...the other (my first attempt at a novel) was, um...fanciful. And bad.

Very, very bad.

Rebekkah
08-28-2011, 12:22 AM
I have one that's sitting on the shelf because I had decided to cut some of it out, and rewrite parts of it, which I'll do in the future.

thethinker42
08-28-2011, 05:07 AM
Man, I don't even know. I have three drafts of a trunked fantasy novel, probably three or four books that I finished but ultimately trunked, and I'd guess a dozen or more false starts that are either perma-trunked, or I'll maybe get back to them eventually. Most of what I start, I finish and ultimately sell, but definitely not everything.

swvaughn
08-29-2011, 07:38 AM
Seven.

Okay, not really. I just like saying "seven." :D

Three that are completed. The first two I ever wrote (steaming piles of manure, both of them), and a later one that was supposed to be the third in a series, that I wrote all the way through and then decided it was ALL WRONG and threw it away and started over again.

Worked much better the second time, and taught me what to look for in the way of taking stories in the wrong direction, so that I'd never make that mistake again.

I also have about eleventy billion partial novels, all of which I'm totally going to finish writing someday. I've completed 15 or 16 novels, so my word's good. :D

amrose
08-29-2011, 06:23 PM
Novels - 1

Short Stories - 4

scarletpeaches
08-29-2011, 07:10 PM
None. I've sold everything I've written.

I had binned ideas from my pre-erotic romance days, and have rewritten them as erotic romance, and sold them too.

One resurrected, filthified 'trunked' novel is only halfway through its dirtification process, so we'll see how that goes, but I'm confident of selling it too.

Carlene
08-29-2011, 07:36 PM
One - I sold everything after that first, learning attempt. Ten novels, one non-fiction book and three novellas - so far.

Carlene

Archie1989
08-29-2011, 07:39 PM
One, though hopefully someday it'll see the light of day again.

Kyla Laufreyson
08-29-2011, 07:49 PM
Just one. I finally gave up on fixing it. I might go back someday, but it'll be starting from scratch with just the same characters and very basics for the storyline.

EnitaMeadows
08-30-2011, 10:44 PM
Well...none, since I tend to finish every novel I start. Or three or four, if counting ones that we've finished but haven't submitted yet (waiting for submission openings with my publisher before mass sumbitting :P) In my mind though and ready to go...well, definitely more than ten.

L.C. Blackwell
08-31-2011, 11:55 AM
Oh, I've got a pile of 'em. Most of the ones that are "trunked for all time" were written when I was in my teens, go figure. Some of what I've got from my twenties may be resurrected eventually, but I wouldn't count on it. I'm just not interested in the same things anymore.

The TBR--To Be Resurrected (mostly likely) pile--is smaller, and only holds about five projects, plus a couple of new projects with notes set aside for later. I figure it's my backup library. When I get the current novel done, I'll fish something else out of the pile, and work on that.

adagietto
08-31-2011, 02:27 PM
Three never-finished ones ... they're still floating around on my computer somewhere. I rescued some of the characters and reused them in my current novel.

c.m.n.
09-01-2011, 08:01 AM
How many unpublishable works line the bottom of my drawer?

Does a collection of mindless dribble from my teens count?

I shouldn't count the short stories, which would equal 78 all together. They are a collection of their own.
So, put them together, call them one, and the rest of my unfinished drawer and I have about 15 including novels that I've dropped.

Stellan
09-01-2011, 12:46 PM
I've got about eight novels that actually got somewhere before being abandoned, and about twice as many false starts.

They're never lost forever, though. They either get whittled down into short stories or recombined into awesome mutant monstrosities.

BookFormatterJen
09-01-2011, 02:59 PM
I just went through my manuscripts' folder and I have three incomplete manuscripts and five or six projects that are in my plans but not started just yet, and about 20 of them finished, but none of my projects are forever unfinished or abandoned. I am 70k words into a new manuscript I started on July 10, 2011 and 28k into another one I started on August 3, and I am working on those. Next, I am going to work on two of my incomplete projects since I started working on two projects at the same time last month and so far it's worked like a charm. The only way any of my projects will ever be abandoned is if I decide to stop writing forever, something I will never do, unless I can no longer use my hands or my voice to get words into a word processor, or unless I die. I put projects on hold when I find myself depressed and unable to write anything, but once I snap out of that I go right back to work, so no, none of my projects will be forever abandoned. :) I like to finish what I started, especially manuscripts. Otherwise I feel incomplete, like there's something pending, waiting, and I don't like that.

You really have a passion/relationship with writing. :-).

BookFormatterJen
09-01-2011, 03:01 PM
You guys should try self-publishing so that your masterpiece will not be shelves.

scarletpeaches
09-01-2011, 03:11 PM
If I have to pay someone to print my book, there's something wrong with my book. So, no thanks.

Mr Flibble
09-01-2011, 03:48 PM
That I'm never going back to? One.

I've got a first draft that needs something doing with it (I wrote it fairly early on so, uh, yeah, my writing has improved since then. But I like the story, so it'll get done). And the beginnings of a first draft, which I'll also finish (just decided to concentrate elsewhere for now). And two on sub. We'll see about those...

Devil Ledbetter
09-02-2011, 07:32 PM
You guys should try self-publishing so that your masterpiece will not be shelves.
If I was a woodworker, I might want my masterpiece to be shelves.

stormie
09-02-2011, 07:39 PM
Too many to count. But I don't call them "unpublishable." I call them "waiting to be discovered." I usually take parts of one, fit it with another, and create a new work.

Harper K
09-02-2011, 07:44 PM
Over 20!

I never intended any of them to be published, though. They were just for fun and practice. I'm just fine with all of them staying in the drawer.

Of novels I've worked on with publication in mind, one has been temporarily trunked and the other I'm actively trying to finish and submit.

SRHowen
09-02-2011, 10:47 PM
Just one, but other novels and stories have grown out of it, it was a 300k plus first work, but I finished it taught me a lot about the process. Someday I may go back to it. LOL but I doubt it.

JinxVelox
09-03-2011, 01:56 AM
Very pleased to be able to drop that previous 25 down to 23, with two releases in the future. Ah, completion is good. The other 23 are just waiting for me to finish them. Wonder if I can manage that in the 4 months I have until my son comes home... ;)

schadenfreude
09-03-2011, 07:27 AM
Finished and cringe-worthy?

Just one.

But unfinished (and by that I mean several chapters at the most and a whole lot of profiles, documents and images), about an 8GB memory card full.

scarletpeaches
09-03-2011, 01:36 PM
Your avatar is a thing of beauty, by the way.

Soccer Mom
09-04-2011, 05:57 PM
mmm. Adam.

And before I was distracted by hot singing goodness, I was going to say I have 3 ms on a flashdrive that shall never see the light of day. I one that might be rewritten into something saleable.

eward
09-05-2011, 06:32 AM
Oh, wow. Quite a bit!

Only one novel that I actually finished. I may return to it someday, but the chances are very, very slim because the story just doesn't excite me like it used to.

I can't count how many concepts I started and didn't get past ten pages. As for serious ones where I got pretty far. . .about six.

There are others that I'm reluctant to say are forever unfinished. Unfinished for now, yes, but I may return to them. Those above, though, forever gone.

You guys should try self-publishing so that your masterpiece will not be shelves.

Why would we self-publish the novels we admit are unpublishable and unsalvageable? :Shrug:

Aubie
09-05-2011, 05:38 PM
Wow, I thought my count was bad, lol. I've got 3 finished that probably won't ever see the light of day, and two more started and stalled. Working hardcore on one that I hope to query in the next 6 months some time.

Mutive
09-06-2011, 10:18 PM
Like...a million. I've been writing short stories and novels forever, though, and most of those early attempts weren't pretty. So they've been tossed out. I may return to some of the ideas but the manuscripts themselves? NEVER.