When to Move On — March 29, 2013

When to Move On

I was thinking the other day about all the various projects left abandoned in various stages on my computer hard drive, back up discs, or in the form of scattered notes stuffed in a box somewhere.

I think it can break down about like this:

One completed novel that will never be revised
One MG novel left in the germination notes stage
Three YA novels left in the world-building, germination notes stage
One film screenplay in the development stages
One script for a television show I watch, started but not finished
Five short stories left unfinished
Four poetry collections left unfinished
Two completed adult novels that will never be revised
One NA novel left unfinished
One adult novel queried but never going further than that
One novella completed but I’m on the fence about revising

It’s all part of the process, I guess, learning to recognize when to move on from something. Learning how to recognize when a story isn’t in your heart enough to justify continuing on with it.

Apparently it’s a lesson I’ve learned pretty well. And I think that’s true, of me, at least. I don’t write something unless it absolutely has grabbed me by the throat. Like my next book idea.

Yes, I’m coming off writing hiatus in April and will be drafting a new book. I love this book idea and will definitely be seeing it through.

This idea, though, of needing to have a story firmly in my heart to see it to completion has me worried about all the book ideas I have planned for the world of Heirs of the Seven Realms. (The series name for Woven, which is out on query right now.) Most of them have slight crossovers with other books, and most take place after Heirs with direct consequences stemming from the events of both Heirs and Curse of Life. (The book I have in revisions right now.)

I’m tempted to write the first draft of all of them, just so I know they get finished. But at the same time that feels like a bad use of my time, considering they can’t get published unless Heirs does.

WiP Wednesdays 8/25 — August 25, 2010

WiP Wednesdays 8/25

Wow, what a week.

First, who switched my muse with that of a YA writer’s?  Seriously.  The adventure novel I’m world-building on is pestering me to become YA.  It wouldn’t take a ton of work because the MC is already 18.  I could probably make him younger with little effort.  And the short story that I wrote, well  I think the MC is around 16/17.  I never really thought about it.

Second, I’ve been really scooting along on my Lodestar outline.  It’s going so much faster and so much smoother than my last outline.

There are lots of places I can see to cut.  And that leaves me lots of wiggle room to incorporate the feedback I’ve been getting.  (And that I’m still waiting for from my brother.  This beta process is agonizingly slow.)

There are places where I might need to consider a serious plot restructure.  But I’ll leave that until after all the feedback is in.

Next up is my adventure novel.  Which I’m considering looking at ways to make it be YA.  I’ve been doing a lot of world-building work on it.  It’s set partly at a university.  In order to get the exact details I needed, I had to go ahead and create my own fictional one.  Which was a fun challenge in and of itself.

I even got to draw the map of campus.  That was interesting.  I do so much better drawing when I can do straight lines and sharp angles.  Give me anything else (like a circle) and I fail with great finesse.

There’s a certain building on campus that is central to the mythology and plot of all three books in the series.  I drew its front elevation.  (Not as bad a failure as I thought it would turn out.)  Then I mapped all its various levels.

I still have to write out the history that I need for this novel.  Then it’s on to character bios.

After that, massive amounts of research.  Mostly Bible research.  But lots of it.

And some research into Norse mythology, Japanese mythology, and their respective cultures so that I can outline/plot books 2 and 3.  I definitely see a trilogy, but only in the sense that they’re all connected by having the same MC.  There would be an overall character arc, but each book would be self-contained with its own plot and mini-arc.

Lastly is the short story that I wrote a while ago.  Clockworks and Cogs, as it’s loosely titled, is still pestering me to be turned into a novel.  I’ve partly indulged the story by giving it its own project binder.  (I’ll blog about project binders tomorrow.)

I enjoy the story thoroughly.  The MC has to make a very serious choice at the end and I think that a novel would be a great place to explore what leads to that choice.  And I think my characters deserve more than 30 pages to have their story told in its best capacity.

How are your WiPs going?

MWPD: Multiple Writer Personality Disorder — June 24, 2010

MWPD: Multiple Writer Personality Disorder

My friends and fellow writers, I write this note to warn you all of a very serious disease which is threatening to become pandemic.  It is a disease endemic to our society.

Doctors have classified it as Multiple Writer Personality Disorder, or MWPD.

Symptoms include a propensity for shiny objects, many voices in your head screaming for attention, and are not limited to but may include thoughts of suicide, murder, mayhem, and general mischief-making.

Severe cases may include obsessive-compulsive tendencies, aversion to sunlight, food, and housework, and depression from loss of socialization with others outside the writing community.

All care should be taken to avoid contracting this dread disease.

Not every solution is ideal for every writer, but I would like to share my strategies for getting through a case of MWPD.

1- I keep binders/notebooks for every idea that comes to me.  Currently, I have three binders that are active in any sort of way.  One for my current WiP, one for the book I think I’ll develop and write next, and one for my poetry collections.  There are three others sitting there on my shelf, waiting for me to toss in some bits that are floating around on scraps of paper.  Two of those stories may never see any sort of real effort, but at least I have a collection bin for the randomness.  The third is one I definitely will work on.  Might just be the one after the next one.

2- Sometimes, I have to take a half hour or so to just sit and think things through and let myself entertain the new ideas.

Okay, so there’s not much there.  Really, there isn’t a lot we writers can do to entirely prevent a case of MWPD.

What are your strategies for dealing with this?

So, I had this brilliant idea — March 9, 2010

So, I had this brilliant idea

I had a great idea for a blog post.

It’s somewhere in my morning pages but I’m too lazy to go look it up.  Besides, I seem to remember that it would take a long time to actually write, and write well.  That’s time I don’t really have today.  So, I’m not sure where I’m going with this blog post.

Oh, I remember the topic idea.  Yeah, you’ll get it next week so I actually have time to write it out.  It’s sort of related to my bright shiny new idea that I got last week.

About ideas.  See, for me, they’re really just these little seeds that can sometimes take on a life of their own.  This new shiny idea I have was a dream I had the other night.  Really only the concept of the dream can be used since the entire thing took place in my garage.  Not exactly the most interesting setting for a full novel.

But I’m excited about this idea.  I think I have project ADD and shiny-object syndrome.  I love the development process of an idea.  There’s this stage for me with an idea where nothing has been solidified and so anything could go.  My brain works a thousand miles a second and there are always little nuances and things that pop into my head.  For each project I have a binder filled with blank notepaper.  I write down all the little inspirations and eventually make sense of them.  They’ll cohere into a solid backstory and mythology for the book.  It’s just going to take a while.

My plans while I research for bright, shiny new idea?  Well, I’m going to keep reading for a while.  And revising Oracles Promise.  But I hope to have OP ready for betas in about two to three weeks.  At which point I’ll go take a look at Lodestar again and start drafting it.  And researching more for the new idea.

Did I say my new idea is going to take a lot of research?  Because it is.  But that’s okay because I have access to lots of resources for that research.  Like an entire university library.  But that’s beside the point.