By Robin D. Owens
There you are, drudging through your current project, convinced it is cat crap and an idea wiggles in. A beautiful, sparkling, WONDERFUL idea. Something so alluring, that will be so much more fun to write than the current story (especially if the current story has been bought and you’ve taken money for it and it is now late).
Oooh. Yes. There’s the hero, you get HIM. Different characteristics than the guy giving you fits right now.
There’s the hint of the plot, SO much more exciting than the murder you’ve gotten bogged down in, or the details you need to research of the cathedral you’re building, or the heroine who needs to be trained in knife fighting…
SO much easier to write on a story that shines with promise rather than dig into the guts of the work you have now, the one that was once shiny but currently is hard to write, a job, work.
Because all ideas become hard to write. Nothing stays shiny. But that initial POP of an idea, the brainstorming of some bits of the people or the plot, wow, that’s FUN.
Before I was published, I could be lured away. I must have six or seven manuscripts started that never made it more than 100 pages or so before something else caught my attention.
Now, with the selling of my stories, my work, I have to be more disciplined. Yes, the ideas come…it’s particularly bad if they come in a series I think I can sell….whispering their sweetness. But, for me, I must resist.
So this is what I do. I live only with cats which means I can wake up in the middle of the night and dictate wonderful (or stupid) ideas, so I keep my itouch handy. The voice memo button is on the toolbar so it stays available whether I was playing spider solitaire or looking at Word of the Day when I turned off my device. I can find the memo app with my thumb in the dark, if necessary. I can burble about the new and shiny idea. Then I can save it for a more appropriate time (i.e. when the present manuscript is finished).
If the story continues to hang around while I’m studying knife fighting or building a cathedral, or figuring out when my hero is going to say “I love you,” I might hit the computer and write down additional notes or prompts for it. The heroine is an adventuress. The hero is a gentle giant. He is an introvert [long notes about the story formerly here CUT].
When the previous manuscript is finished and I have a little time, I can rub my hands and delve into the New! Fun! Improved-Technique-Trust-Me-Baby! Shiny idea. And it stays fun for a while, depending on the publishing schedule, real life, and before I take the first chapter to critique group. Maybe even after that. Until I hit a snag, or need to deepen the character or realize that the plot does not work.
Then the mind wanders and . . . You understand? Sure, you know this cycle as well as I do.
Well, that’s what I do when the next sparkling concept hits my brain. I’m not sure what you might do, but this works for me so it might help you.
What is lovely is that it’s good to realize that you aren’t alone in this fascinating endeavor. That there are other people on this journey whose eyes WON’T glaze over when you talk to them about writing.
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