I was in High School when I wrote a thirty-something page short story which I called "Prophesied Child." It was about a five-year-old girl named Sara who had been left as a baby at a rebel camp. Peter and Lance were the leaders of the rebels, and they realized that Sara was the child named in a prophecy about the person who would kill the evil queen, Felicia. Felicia's daughter, Ana, was her commander, and she was captured by the rebels. Sara was instantly connected to Ana, but she didn't know Ana's secret, that Ana wasn't loyal to her mother and she was the mother of Sara, who had to abandon her as a baby by the secret rebel camp which she just happened to find right after she gave birth to her daughter. Peter's entire family, including their pets, had been murdered by Queen Felicia, so he hated the queen and the princess. In the end, Lance was the one who killed Felicia, and he was revealed to be the king, Ana's birth father. Peter and Ana ended up together, and they raised Sara.
It remained a horribly written short story for many years until Spring 2009 when I quit my classes and used the time to rework "Prophesied Child" into a full novel told in two parts: each in first person POV. (Part One told in Craig's POV, and Part Two told in Diane's POV.) It was critiqued for the first time in Fall 2010. My Novel Writing teacher, Lisa Shapiro, read about three chapters before she told me she thought the book should be in third person, not first POV. I spent the next three days tearing my book apart and patching it back together to form the first draft of what later became published as Child of Prophecy.
During my rewrite, I added the characters Melanie, Dave, Nabil, Frank, and the other rebel leaders. A lot of names changed through the process, with Sara's being the only one which didn't have any changes attached it to.
It was also during my rewriting process that I decided to combine several different book ideas together to form a series, later forming "The Prophecy Series."
"Prophesied Child" was written in 2005 or 2006, and in 2011, it was published as an e-book on Kindle. Five or six years of writing, rewriting, critique, and inspiration, and I finally had a published novel for all to read.
In January 2013, Child of Prophecy was, once again, rewritten and published as a paperback. In summer 2014, I thought to myself: "I can write this story way better than it is." So I ripped it up and rewrote it for the third time, including changing my character Dave to Thatcher. January 2015, I republished Child of Prophecy: Third Edition. That version is the current version available on Kindle and paperback.
Don't be afraid to make changes, take critique, learn from others, and don't throw away terribly written stories: they just need to be refined.