Writing: The Fate of Unfinished Drafts #writing #amwriting

Every writer has a cupboard or computer full of unfinished drafts.

But what if something were to suddenly happen to us and those embarrassing or poorly thought out scribbles were let out into the world?

I’m not a famous writer, so I don’t need to worry just yet about my estate getting into a wrangling about selling on my work, nor with publishers creating thousands of knock off novels based around the characters I created, but for some writers this is the case.

For all of us, our drafts are precious potentials, but just that and nothing more. I expect we can all compare our draft to our finished work and see the vast gulf between those early scratchings and the polished product at the end.

Even finished drafts can been difficult to let out into the world where we prefer our trusted few to read them with an expectation that they are still rough work.

A part of me is horrified that Terry Pratchett chose to crush his unfinished work, and another part applauds him.

Worth a read if you haven’t seen it already No wonder Terry Pratchett wanted to avoid the Stieg Larsson treatment (Link)

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5 thoughts on “Writing: The Fate of Unfinished Drafts #writing #amwriting

  1. I like Pratchett’s solution, though mostly because I do appreciate a final, grand gesture. Like Hunter Thompson’s wish (carried out by his friends, including Johnny Depp) to have his ashes shot out of a cannon.

    (The Guardian does propose that there may be more to the Pratchett story, that there may be a final joke coming. This goes along with my first thought when I read about this, which was, “Who keeps all their work on one hard drive with no backups, on-site and off-site?”)

    Most annoying, though inevitable, is the situations where the decision is obviously based on the fact that there’s money to be made, rather than any theoretical tussle between the author’s wishes and posterity.

    If I were in that situation — famous author — my answer to the posterity argument would be the statement made by the lunatic playwright in The Producers: “You are the audience! I am the author! I outrank you!”

    As I recall, he was clocked on the head and rendered unconscious immediately saying that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I almost cried when I heard about Pratchett’s work being destroyed. Not only was it sad to think about losing any work from my favorite author, but it also was the proverbial last nail in his coffin. It just hammered in the point that he was truly gone and there would be no more Discworld stories. I do understand what he did, though. I don’t think it would be the same reading a book filled-in by another author, even if that were someone like Neil Gaiman. There was no one like Pratchett.

    Related to the topic, have you seen this? http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/37395526/writer-rushes-into-burning-building-to-save-two-finished-novels

    Liked by 1 person

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