I have two trunk novels that no one will ever see. The first one is a futuristic steampunk story. It involves a world coming back from a medical disaster. It also involved genetic research gone wild, because two back stories are better than one. The second one is a sequel of the first. Neither one of them is any good.
They still have value though – to me. I managed to work in kings and queens, cowboys, and even a new chapter of the Bible (To explain the backstory). They are filled with backstory, ly adverbs, head hopping, and a multitude of other shortcomings.
The very idea that it would be a “save the princess” story didn’t even occur to me until twelve chapters in. I even changed it into a “save the prince” story, because I’m clever that way.
So where’s the value? They taught me a lot. None of us are ready for prime time, until we are. We only get there by putting words on paper. There are dues to pay in writing, just like anywhere else.
My sequel involved a Pope vs an Anti-Pope, and a group of nuns who kicked ass like a team of Angelina Jolies. My main characters deviated from the story to go on side missions, and by God they even made stew. Stew has become a bad cliche in fantasy, because someone usually whips it up like opening a package of Pop Tarts. I know how to make stew, and can produce a pretty good one if called upon.
These two stories also brought me a lot of joy. I absolutely loved writing them. I didn’t know anything about plotting, character arch, and never even heard of the hero’s journey. It was all similar to giving my grandchildren a new toy, then watching them play with it the wrong way. They don’t care that a toy car isn’t supposed to fly.
I love and respect my trunk novels. I bound the trunk in chains and placed in a cave near the Writing Cabin. Then I set a hydra to guard it from prying eyes. I still know where it is if I ever need them. They helped make me who I am today as a writer. Years from now, I wonder how I’ll look back at my current projects.
All writers have at least one. What’s hidden in your closet? Do you love them or hate them? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment when you look back at them? Are your trunk novels just a paving stone on your journey?
I’ve let you look up my skirt, now spill the goods and tell me about your early works.