It’s all about the voices, man. I hear a lot of them. Nevermind the fact that were I not a writer, I’d be considered definitively mentally ill. But I have so many characters and stories floating around in my head. I’m a bit ADD when it comes to focusing on one set, one story, which is why I have worked so very hard to establish good habits, making myself finish a project before moving on to write another. Otherwise I’d just continue to add to the graveyard of partially finished manuscripts that fell apart around the middle when Sexy Next Book idea came along. I’d wager there are upwards of thirty or forty books that fall into that category. And that doesn’t even count the ideas I jotted down snatches of for “when I have the time”.
But I am nearing the end of this first draft on Hunted in Shadow, so I’ve been thinking about what I might be working on next. I’ll need to cleanse my palette so to speak before hitting revisions on that book so that I can come back to it fresh after a few weeks and see it clearly. But as I more than amply proved during the three months I plotted this book, I must write something in the interim. The most logical project is the novella I plotted out a couple of months ago. It’s short, and if I really buckle down, I can get a draft finished in a couple of months. I was really excited about it for a couple or three weeks. Then I got excited about something else. That would be the ADD part of my creativity. Before that I was getting excited about my culinary paranormal series. Right now I feel like that one’s a very long term project.
What’s caught my attention since last week is the YA series I have on the backburner. Now this is sort of very loosely based on the series I wrote in high school that was, oh thank the good lord, rejected by publishers (albeit with some kind feedback from one editor). It’s the story that I wrote when I’d gone through everything L.J. Smith wrote, and I couldn’t find anything else (because YA back in those days sucked). I re-envisioned it during college, as I’d found another published author with a similar idea (though, frankly, I think my concept was more interesting than hers…). And at some point since I got out of grad school and began writing seriously, I turned out a hundred pages of a first draft. I got seriously in the mood to reread these after last week’s premier of The Vampire Diaries. Which I did.
Despite the fact that I hopped on the S.S. Fluffyverse very early in the story, there are still fairly large chunks I’ll be able to use. The bones of the story are good. And now I’m in the process of taking all I’ve learned about craft in the intervening years, and applying it to plotting the whole trilogy out. As it stood, I had a very clear idea of the first book and no clue about books 2 and 3. This new plotter that I’ve become feels compelled to get down some of the main details for all THREE books so that I know how the plot arc of the entire trilogy will go before I start book 1. I’ve done some really good brainstorming over the weekend, and I’ve got at least a vague framework of how the three tie together, what the things (themes?) are that get covered in each book, who’s in them, and some of the other pertinent details I didn’t know before.
I’ve also decided that I’m going to set this in the same paranormal universe I’m creating for my paranormal romance. Part of this is because I’d rather all the world building I’m doing be on the same world. And part of it is that if I get these published and hook some readers young, then perhaps they will move on to my adult work as they get older. So I figured out how I’m going to tie the mythology that I’m using as the basis for the story to the mythologies I’ve already created, and I even came up with an additional character–a sort of mentor/guardian about whom I could potentially write an adult story later.
My project for the week, other than working on my daily wad on HiS, is to start working out the GMC for each of my six main characters (it’s a trilogy, with each book focusing on a pair), and answering those big questions about the main points for story architecture. And even if this DOESN’T end up being the next project that I work on, it’s still something very productive toward whenever I DO focus on it. That’s how I justify doing plotting work on any Sexy Next Book. They’re all potential future projects. As long as I get my daily goal in on current project, then all the plotting on something else is good. Not only because it lets me practice my plotting skills so that the next project won’t take a whole three months to plot, it’ll be more like the 4 days I spent on the novella, but also because ultimately it will help me see which stories I have planned out that are the most solid, that have the most substance. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee that that will be the story that sets me on fire enough to write, but it will still be there with the base work done whenever I am on fire to write it.