What happens to characters and plots you create in books that end up not selling, but that you still love?
Most of the things I wrote in my 20s that were rejected, probably deserved to be. I won't resurrect them. But there are one or two ideas that deserve a better life. They keep kicking around in my brain, saying, "We deserve better!"
They'll come back.
The odd thing is that occasionally, a writer or director will do a modest job on a project he loves, then finally gets the resources to do it even better.
Example: Paul Thomas Anderson couldn't get rid of the idea of Dirk Diggler. He made a mockumentary on his favorite fictional porn star in 1988, when he was a mere teenager, and had been toying with the idea for years. Then, nearly 10 years later, he finally came out with BOOGIE NIGHTS.
Some character never die. Boogie Nights is one of my favorite films, and I'm so glad that PTA got to expand the world of Dirk.