This month I've gone back, way back. I've pulled out the first fantasy story I wrote, dusted it off and have started rereading it. Why? Because I want to see if it can be salvaged, whether it's worth trying to get it published again.
The short answer is - maybe.
When I began to read it, I was marking it up like I would a current manuscript: writing notes, tweaking sentences and fixing spelling. By the time I got two chapters in, there was more coloured mark-up than there was text. A friend suggested I just write down the outline - what happens in each chapter - to see if the bones of the story are good. It was good advice. I've been slowly working through it, reading a couple of chapters a day, and can immediately see a lot of scenes that can simply be deleted. They really aren't needed.
One of the biggest things I've noticed is how much my writing has improved. (What a relief!) I wrote the manuscript before I knew about techniques like show don't tell and deep point of view. A lot of the writing is bland, surface level emotion and I know I can do much better. I can also see many more places where I can add conflict and tension and make things more difficult for my characters.
Surprisingly though, I was much better with description back then! I think it's probably because I wrote it before I worked in the corporate world where you had to get straight to the point and not have any extraneous detail.
So can it be saved?
Possibly. I still really like the concept, but I'm going to have to examine the outline to see if there is enough plot to carry a full story. I'll review all my notes on show don't tell and deep point of view so it's fresh in my mind.
Then of course, I need to find time to rewrite it!