The lesson is simply this: you just have to recognise that, no matter how much weight you put behind it and how much you tart it up,sometimes a story just doesn’t bloody work, and you have to take it behind the stables and shoot it through the head. No writer is perfect. We all have dead bodies to our names.
Knowing that someone I respect and admire as much as Warren has had to abandon something that just wasn't working makes me feel less terrible when it happens to me.
I was especially happy when he said,
The corpse gets thrown in the Loose Ideas folder, where one day it will doubtless be cannibalised for its more interesting/less ripoffy parts and interpolated into something new and better. Storage of corpses is important. As in life, you never know when bits of them will come in handy.
…because I do precisely that, all the time. Sometimes I have a fully-formed story in my head, and I just write it before it gets away from me. Other times, I have an interesting character I want to explore, or a story about some thing that I want to tell, but once I get down to the path and look up, I realize I've lost myself in the woods, it's getting dark, and I'd better go home before the wolves come out. When that happens, though, I always save whatever I've written to that point; just because it didn't work in this story doesn't mean that it won't work in another one that I don't even know exists, yet. It's reassuring to know that writers I look up to do it, too.