Saturday, January 28, 2012

Trash Or Treasure

You know the saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure"?  Well, I'm a firm believer in that.  I'm not rich so I often visit second hand stores and thrift stores.  I look for books like it's going out of style!  I will literally spend hours sorting, sneezing (I'm deathly allergic to dust so this is TRUE dedication on my part), and sifting through other people's cast offs to find my treasures to take home.

But how do I determine what comes home with me?  It depends on what inspiration I'm looking for at the time.  When I was decorating my newly remodeled study, I was looking for accessories to decorate the room and I came across some very lovely pieces that add to the decor while inspiring me to continue writing.  With books I will hold it to see how it feels to me, I will quickly skim the pages to see if the general idea hooks me into wanting to find out more, and then I look at the general condition of the book.  

Writing is a bit like treasure hunting.  You start out with just an idea, a nugget of information, and you pour your heart and soul into it until at last you have your manuscript.  Then comes the hard part.  Is it trash or treasure?

A few months ago, I submitted a flash fiction piece to one of my online groups as a part of a contest.  My entry didn't win.  A dear friend of mine read it and told me he didn't really like it.  He couldn't really see any future for it.  For him, it was trash and best discarded.  While I respect his opinion, to me it was a treasure...MY treasure...and I kept it close to me...adding to it until it became the beginning of my YA novel I am working on.

Maybe our writing can be both.  It would be ridiculous and irrational of me to presume that everyone in the world will love my stories.  So why do we presume that agents or publishers need to unconditionally love them as well?  It's our duty as writers to search out those people in the publishing industry that see our work for what it is in the "pre-publication" form...a bit of "trash" that with a little cleaning up and polishing, will become the highest form of treasure!

As for my flash fiction piece?  You be the judge...trash or treasure?

Lacey's Bridge
By: Donna Martin

Tears streaming down her face, Lacey raced to the bridge.  She was numb to the feeling of branches scratching her arms and the wind tangling her hair.  Her attention was focused on the destination.  She had to get to the bridge in time.
            Lacey broke through the trees just as the sun slid from behind dark clouds.  Ahead of her were moss-covered posts and snow stung her eyes as she stumbled toward the bridge’s edge.  Exhausted, she paused a moment to rest her head against the gnarled wood as memories of Tommy washed over her.

            “You promised!” He said.
         Lacey looked at him with tear filled eyes.  “I know, but now I’m not so sure.”
         He pulled her to him and kissed her softly, almost apologetically, before saying, “You know she will never stop.  This is the only way.  If two people believe in something strongly enough then even the impossible becomes possible.”
         She hung her head, “Yes, I know.”

            Lacey’s thoughts returned to the wood beneath her hands as his voice echoed into the night, “I’ll love you to forever and beyond.”
         Slowly she made her way to the middle of the bridge.  Stopping long enough to register the sound of hounds barking in the distance, she reached into her pocket.  Trembling fingers closed around cold steel as Lacey drew the gun to her lips for one final kiss before letting it slip into the dark waters below.
            It was done.


  1. So where is the rest of the story? Let's get on with it. I love books, too. I am not electronic and have no interest in e-books. Bless them that do. But, I love the look and smell of books. I love hunting through libraries, book stores, and garage sales for books I want to read or read again. Trash? Who throws away a book? That may be my treasure, You Said It!!

    1. Thanks, Janet, for stopping by! I am a die hard REAL book fan. I think if I sold all my books and DVDs I might just be able to pay off my mortgage! But my son has also dragged me into the new era of ebooks and even gave me a Kindle, although I must confess I've loaded a number of books on it that I've never even started reading. For me, it's just not the same and like you, I treasure the thrill of the hunt!

      Come back any time!

  2. Well I'd definitely like to know what happens next, so I'd vote treasure! As for writing in general, there are so many different tastes in the world. It's a question of matching the writing to the right agent, editor, reader - nobody's going to like everything - you have to find what's right for you and they have to find what's right for them, and isn't it lucky that there are so many different styles of writing and so many different readers! Something for everyone :)

    1. Thank you, Susanna, for saying you vote treasure. When I first wrote that piece, in my mind it was nothing more than what you see. But somehow the characters of Tommy and Lacey refused to go away and it evolved into much more! And I completely agree with you. Thank goodness for the differences!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

  3. I want to read what happens next. Go write it.


    The thought of used books reminds me "April's coming"... I'd better clear some shelf space. Every April our symphony orchestra holds a colossal used book sale. I have found some real treasures there. (I also have donated a large number of books -- it's a great way to recycle things to others!)

    1. Thanks, Beth. This is actually the prologue to the YA novel I was working on for NaNoWriMo at the same time I was doing PiBoIdMo. I got to around 17,000 words with the novel, but the children's voices in my head kept drowning out Tommy and Lacey's voices! ;0)

      And that friend of mine that basically said to trash it? I sent him the chapters I had wrote so far in the first rough draft and I think I shocked him!'s not that he doesn't see me as a writer because he has been incredibly supportive this past year since my return to writing. It's just that he said he would have NEVER thought the flash fiction piece could have evolved into not only a story with a much deeper feel to it than he was expecting, but it also peaked his interest so much he is demanding that I finish it so he can find out what happens to them. And the icing on the cake is that he really doesn't even LIKE this type of story usually but only read it because I asked him too! Oh yeah, he's a fellow Canadian...;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

  4. The story definitely has me hooked. It's very compelling.

    I get the Trash/Treasure thing. When I read a piece for the last time before submitting it, I can SWEAR it's a treasure! When it comes back rejected, UGH. Trash. I play with it some more, and Ka-Blam TREASURE, and it's ready for another shot.

    1. Thanks, Genevieve, for stopping by. And thank you for your kind words! I just wanted to remind people that just because someone might not like our stories now, that doesn't mean they have no value or that they can't be improved upon. I'm glad it looks like everyone got the Trash/Treasure

      Come back any time! Oh yeah, just wanted to say again how much I enjoyed your blog post!