I finished my last book. I’ve revised it. It’s done.
Usually when that happens, I get a new idea. For a long time now, like clockwork, when the old book ends, the new one appears. It’s like the Girls were thinking about it while I was concentrating on other things, and when I’m ready, they send up the next demand, er, suggestion. The transition is flawless. The second I type “The End,” I can type “Chapter One.”
Not this time.
This time, I the Girls are on vacation, asleep, or, heaven forbid, dead.
I’ve got nothing.
There are ideas I could pursue, extensions of ideas I’ve already worked on. For example:
- I have a two-book FBI suspense “series,” written under a pseudonym, for which I’d like to get new covers that display my own name. But it’s a grim storyline, written in happier times (although when I wrote book one, I sobbed the whole way through). I’m not sure I could go grim right now. And I don’t know how I’d start it. Not knowing how to start is new for me, too. But if I wrote a third book, I know what would be in it, so I wouldn’t have to scramble for a plot.
- I have three related books still under the bed, one of which is a stinker, one of which could be salvaged, and one of which is okay. These three feature Venus and Mars, gods from the Roman pantheon who come to earth to help mortals find their true love. These are “comedies,” although the stinker is just pathetic. But I could revise the salvageable one and maybe develop a new idea for a third. These books are light, light, light. They’re the first books I wrote, and I’ve learned a lot since then, so I could probably make this work.
- I wrote a space opera. I like all the characters. It seems made for episodic development. I wouldn’t mind exploring that world. But I have no ideas for it.
- And if I were truly desperate (which you know I am), I have a novella about a bookseller in a small town. I could, possibly, develop stories around events that happen in her bookstore. It’s not a bad setup, but I have no ideas for it.
I’m adrift without something to work on. I know I’ve asked you guys before, but now I’m dead serious: what do you think? Pursue one of these ideas? Or go with something fresh? And if it’s going with something fresh, what is that idea? And if it’s pursuing one of these, which one would you like to see more of?
I think the girls are trying to tell you that the holidays are fast approaching, they have plans of their own, and they think you should step away from the keyboard and savor ”The End” before you go rushing off to “Chapter One”.
If you refuse to listen, then my vote is to go with whatever that is lurking under the bed.
Thank you, Elizabeth! I think you’re on to something here, since my holiday travel schedule is unusually packed. I may discover that in fact I have no choice but to wait a month or so before I start something new. And maybe by then, the way will be clear.
Your travels could lead to all sorts of story adventures. I’m with Elizabeth. Take a break, do shots of eggnog, and see what happens!
SHOTS OF EGGNOG!! Now we’re talkin’!! Thanks, Justine!
I agree with Elizabeth. Maybe you could use the holidays to “fill the well” doing what helps you recharge. Maybe you could take in some movies either at the theater or in front of the TV. Or you could pick up a book that you wouldn’t normally read – something different and unusually to help get the juices flowing.
If you need to pick something up off of your list the Space Opera thing sounds interesting.
Thanks, Jan, I like the idea of filling the well. I think I could use more of that – – the wildfires in California seem to be scorching my psyche along with everything else in its path. I’ll be traveling for the holidays, seeing people I don’t see often enough, and this will be a good time to try new and different things, too. Good idea!
Ditto what the others said–take a break! I’m already foreseeing a Christmas where I’m revealed as the worst grandmother in the world, with nothing but gift cards for my adorable grandchildren because I’m racing to get Book 2 up on the Zon by New Years.
Take a break and then write about it in a way that creates vicarious rest.
Grandmothers armed with cash and gift cards are never a bad thing! I’m sure your grandchildren will appreciate your willingness to trust their judgment in gift matters. Thanks for the corroboration. I’m thinking the consensus says I should wait to start till the solution is obvious. And so I shall.
I’m working hard to get my draft done enough that I won’t be embarrassed to turn it over to my editor on Dec. 15th (my arbitrary cutoff, but also the day we arrive in Australia…and I don’t want to be doing any work while I’m there).
I’m with Kay, though. Gift cards aren’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s what my kids ask for. 🙂
Australia! That sounds like a great holiday vacation. And who knows—maybe you’ll find a way to set a Regency in Perth. With kangaroos. Have a great time. Oh, yeah, and I’m sure the draft will be fine. You know, editors can fix things, too. 🙂
Well, except for the depressing stuff, they all sound like they could be winners — I especially like the Venus/Mars thing because I love “gods on earth” and I also love the idea of “light, light, light” — in all the dictionary senses!
But when it comes down to the nitty gritty, I also like fresh. It sounds like the “fill the well” suggestions speak to you. I’d say try the writing sprint later today, and see if anything comes up; if not, don’t worry about it too much, and enjoy a lovely break.
I did a fortunetelling google for you, and all of the first hits came up with quizzes for “which book should I read next?” — reading and writing are often closely related, taste-wise, so maybe that would help? (-: I love randomness when I’m looking for ideas. Be sure to click on the other google tabs, too — image, shopping, etc. You never know what will come up. (The third hit on my Google Image was a compelling but dark image of a woman being strung up by her hands. Reminds me of the tarot card, The Hanged Man. It’s called “The Hook” — so it could be about music? IDK. LOL, I don’t need any more story ideas today! I need scene ideas! Hmmm . . . . Chef Rene traps our heroes in the freezer of the spaceship in order to express his disapproval of the Duchess’ disapproval of the menu?)
Seriously, Michaeline, I should just take notes on all your toss-away ideas and convert them to my file called “books of the future,” which as you know is currently empty. I’m kind of stuck on the space pirates idea you put on Jenny’s blog the other day, the one stimulated by the painting of the Merchants Wife. But googling is a good idea that might stimulate some fresh thoughts, and maybe I would get some plot points for the structures I already have in place — or even a whole new idea. Thanks!
If you like it, do it! I think we have very similar tastes as far as these things go, but even so, our execution is going to be very different! LOL, maybe you could put my little short stories about the thing at the end of your book, and let me have 10 percent!
BTW, I finally got around to Elizabeth’s Friday writing sprint on Tuesday, I think it was. (-: That’s what I did with the story so far. (I’ve got some pro-logue-y stuff as well.)
https://eightladieswriting.com/2018/11/09/elizabeth-friday-story-time-and-sprints-42/ (Anyone who reads this should also check out Jilly and Kay’s sprints, as well! And, it’s Friday again! So Elizabeth will be posting soon!)
What a fun story that was over there, Michaeline! I hope you’re doing well and having fun with NaNo, and I hope that Donovan keeps chef Rene under his left toe.