Ok, I’m getting closer. Because I had already written most of Book 2 almost two years ago, I reused much of what I could salvage from the original Book 2 to write the new Book 2, Kingdom of Happy Fools. I found, though, that in doing so, I killed some of my own creativity or even the creative streak that I was one. I grew anxious that something wasn’t quite right with the passages and I felt there was something missing. As I read the passages and blended them in with the rest of the story, I was put a little at ease. I found that if I kept doing that, my motivation to keep writing waned a bit, so the lesson I learned is: Rewrite it! Even if you think it’s the best writing you’ve ever produced. If it doesn’t fit exactly, then kill it.
Recently, I was about to add an already written scene toward the end of the novel. For several days, I mulled over it and couldn’t seem to feel good about anything about it. The first attempt to rewrite it, I saw elements I wanted to keep. Yesterday, however, I decided that it just wasn’t worth the effort to try blending the old with the new. I decided to erase the entire scene (as hard as that may sound).
You know what? It turned out even better than the first version. Way better, in fact. The scene took an entirely new direction that I hadn’t anticipated and worked even better for the story as a whole. So, I have heard someone say that if you have lost a piece of writing and have to do it all over again, it usually turns out better. In my case, I didn’t lose anything, I just simply deleted it (I have back-ups) and started over with that scene.
Make a general rule, my fellow writers (or potential ones) that if you’ve written something and think that you might want to reuse it in something different or even a different version of the same work…DON’T. Rewrite it! I promise it will come out far better than the original.