Unfinished stories

When it’s a bright, new year, you can’t help but think of fresh starts and the road yet untraveled. But what about the old projects and the chronic hangups?

Since finishing my last creative writing class as an undergrad seven years ago, I’ve had a number of false starts: Stories that are started with such zest and anticipation but are ultimately abandoned. I’ve got about a dozen of them.

Some like writer/blogger Deborah Ross maintain that unfinished stories can serve as a useful tool in challenging a writer to improve. However most contend that to grow, writers must conclude their stories.

And here is the perfect (albeit paradoxical) New Year’s project: Bring a fresh perspective and swift conclusion to these orphan stories—one week and one story at a time. Many will make me grit my teeth at their premise, prose, and presumption, but perhaps others will turn out okay. At the very least I will be finished what I started.

I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.
– Erica Jong

Work on one thing at a time until finished.
– Henry Miller

You will never be the writer you want if you cannot complete what you begin.
Chuck Wendig

You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.
– Neil Gaiman

Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What do you think of unfinished stories? Do you have any and do you revisit them later?

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