Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Recycled Writing

We do it with peanut butter jars, old T-shirts, and even leftovers. When they've served their purpose they get recycled, reused, reworked into something fresh and new.

We can do that with our writing too! Here are a few suggestions for getting the most out of your old (or not so old) writing:

  • Old manuscripts that don't seem to be working can be picked apart so that you can use their good parts in another story.
  • Non-fiction articles can be transformed into completely new pieces. A long article about arctic foxes can be reworked into a list of fox facts, or a short filler.
  • Take info from articles and work it into puzzles to fit magazine theme lists (great for kids' magazines).
  • Sell old pieces as reprints.
  • Got a picture book manuscript that doesn't seem to be catching on? With a little tweaking, you can turn it into a magazine story.
  • Use the info from a nonfiction piece (animal, person from history?) to write a fact-based picture book or magazine story.
Remember, just because an article or story has been published doesn't mean its life is over. Make the most out of every bit of writing you do!


  1. I love the first one. I'm totally going to reuse my characters from my first novel. Great tip!

  2. Good advice. Have we been doing this? :)

  3. Great tips. I take bits and pieces from old manuscripts all the time and reuse them.

  4. So true ... very good points, and such a positive way to look at things!

  5. Elana--good! Now if I could just follow that tip too!

    Corey--I don't think so. But maybe we should, at least with some of our stuff.

    MG--That's so cool. I've never actually done that, but it's something I've always thought about. I have a hard time giving up on a manuscript.

    Kelly--Staying positive is a big part of the battle. We have to remember that a manuscript that didn't work out is NEVER a waste of time.

  6. I always save bits and pieces that I cut from stories. Sometimes there's some good stuff in there :)

  7. Wonderful tips, Rebecca! I recently cut a line from a picture book that I think will work well in my middle grade w-i-p.

    Lovely blog you have here! :)


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