You'd think I would suggest using dusty old manuscripts as doorstops or paperweights, but no. There just may be a happier resting place for an unpublished piece of work. Here are four suggestions:
- Unpublished picture books--Consider cleaning them up and sending them to markets like Stories for Children, Knowonder!, or My Light Magazine. These e-zines are free, and you'd get paid little or nothing, but kids could enjoy your stories!
- Unpublished nonfiction--If it's short nonfiction for kids, like a nonfiction picture book, consider updating the data and sending it to Imagination Cafe or the educational market, Viatouch. Again, you wouldn't get paid, but this is such a great way to practice writing and earn publishing credits. And you'd be helping kids in the process. If you write for adults, FundsforWriters is a great place to search for markets.
- Steal a scene--If you've written a novel that will never see the light of day, but you love a particular character and/or scene, consider vamping it up and creating a short story. Especially if it's an unusual premise. It could then be submitted to an e-zine or anthology.
- Create a quilt--If you've left a trail of unpublishable manuscripts, I feel your pain. But maybe there are exceptional characters or plot points from different pieces that can work together. Dig through old material for gems and quilt them together in a new manuscript. A fresh spin might do wonders for those old faves.
I have a few pieces that I'll be tweaking and updating, then sending off to new places. I figure why not? They might as well be read and enjoyed by kids.
Have you ever recycled material from unpublished manuscripts? Did your favorite character find a home in a new story, or did your nonfiction piece satisfy hungry readers? If you can think of other ways to recycle dusty material, please share!