Resurrecting Old Stories

on August 11, 2014 in Misc

Have you ever dug up a novel or short story you wrote a long time ago, a piece of writing you eventually gave up on, and thought—can I do something with this?  Maybe rewrite or edit it.

Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis star in Moonlighting.A lot of writers have lingering hopes for their old, abandoned stories.  But me?  Never.  Once I give up on a story, it’s dead and buried.   Oh, I’ll keep a copy somewhere, but that’s just for sentimental reasons.

So guess who dug up an old manuscript and now wants to do something with it.

And I mean, I had to dig.  It was in my storage unit in the basement and I had to go through several musty boxes until I found those 95 pages titled….

My Favorite Zombie.

Don’t laugh.

See, the title is supposed to be funny because it was a spec script for the late 1980’s TV show Moonlighting.  The one that made Bruce Willis a star.

That right, the late 80’s, which tells you how old I am.  And how old the script is because I had to type it out on a Selectric II typewriter.  Remember typewriters?  They’re what I worked with just before I finally got a personal computer.  Which had DOS programming because Windows hadn’t been invented yet.

Damn, I’m old.


This script reminds me that I almost got my foot in the proverbial Hollywood door.  You see, after writing it I contacted about two million agents in the general Los Angeles area, and at long last one of them said he’d take a look at it.  Well, he read it, loved it, told me flat out it was “excellent!” and tried to get in through the door at the production offices of Moonlighting.  But no one at the show would look at it, never mind if they publicly stated that they accepted spec scripts.  By the end of that show’s run, the producers had in fact never bought ANY spec scripts.

I really was kind of brokenhearted.  

Anyway, flash forward many years, and I find myself wanting to write a screenplay much like the screwball comedies of the 1930’s, which I adore.  (Yes I know, I’m supposed to be working on my ghost screenplay, and I am.  But I get easily distracted.)

So I read through my old script and thought… This isn’t half bad.  I’m even getting good ideas on how to change it into a full length screenplay.

Will anything come of my effort?  I doubt it.  I’ll probably just spend a few weekends seeing how fast I can whip it out before getting distracted yet again.  But it’ll also be fun.

And what about you, my darling fellow writers?  If you’ve got any rewriting-old-manuscript experiences, I’d love to hear about them.

Take care, and have a great week.

10 Responses to “Resurrecting Old Stories”

  1. Bummer they never accepted it. Or any for that matter.
    You should rewrite it. I rewrote one that was ten years older than that.

  2. Helena says:

    Alex – Ten years older? And I bet you wrote something wonderful.

  3. I resurrected a really old story, gave it some polish, and self-pubbed it not too long ago. It was fun to revisit and has been more popular than I thought it would be.

  4. I think Alex is talking about became his first CASSA NOVEL. If he can do it, you can, too. Go for it. Sad that they lied about the spec scripts. Can you believe I turned in one for XENA? Lucy Lawless threatened to travel half the world to hurt me if I did it again! Not really. Just a fun rejection slip that was personal and gracious. It, along with the spec script, burned with my home. Have fun with your old script. It may breathe new life in your hopes. :-)

  5. I remember Moonlighting – I loved it! And I thought Bruce Willis was such a hunk :)

  6. Helena says:

    Michael – I’m so glad it was popular. Was it a short story or novel?

  7. Helena says:

    Roland – How heartbreaking that you lost that script and so much in that terrible fire. The only good news here is that the rejection slip was gracious, but personally I would have LOVED to seen your script become a Xena episode. I bet it had some of your great trademark humor in it!

  8. Helena says:

    Carol – I wish there were a new version of Moonlighting on TV. I miss that fast, funny dialogue.

  9. Sounds great, Helena. Never give up on your old stuff — there’s always a nugget (or more) worth saving. I look forward to reading more about your scriptwriting endeavors.

  10. Helena says:

    Milo – And I’m looking forward to reading your Shadow of Death!