Now that I’ve handed over another completed manuscript for publication, I itch to get back into writing from scratch again while I wait for the editing process to begin. No resting on my laurels!
Sounds great, right? A blank page, with room for ideas to pour out. I’ve never experienced writer’s block – not since I got into writing for real anyway – so starting on a new project is exciting for me. The possibilities! The challenges! The difficulties! Building a relationship with my characters, building scenes, hammering out dialogues, changing and erasing and adding! Oh, the words I steadily fill the pages with! (Yes, there will be frustrations too, but not yet.)
I have so many ideas, and so many first paragraphs and plot outlines filed away in my ‘projects and ideas’ folder, I could probably churn out a book every year for quite a few years. Of course, writing doesn’t work that way. I need enthusiasm, and I need a voice coming through for me to start writing, and right now I have three distinct voices on three different projects speaking to me. And not enough time to write.
Because I teach full-time, and have no plans to change this, my writing time is limited to maybe an hour or so most nights, maybe some more hours during weekends – it all depends on how many tests and essays I have to correct for work, plus I occasionally have a social life too. (You’d think that as a teacher I can take full advantage of all those holidays I have at my disposal, and write like mad all day and churn out numerous books, but in reality, it’s just a couple of the summer weeks where I can write all day. This year I got lucky and didn’t have any papers to correct during winter break, so got an extra week to write, but usually teacher holidays are working holidays. Seriously, they are! Okay, enough about teachers and ‘holidays’…!)
Back to the topic of this post: I have many projects, but of course I must choose one to focus on for the next few months if my aim to complete another book by the end of the year is going to go anywhere. So how do I choose?
I look at the ideas I already have, and I let them stew for a few days, or weeks even. Now and then I’ll open the documents and add thoughts on the plot and characters. I also do some minor research to see if an idea is viable (for instance, last week I researched Florida, Alaska and California laws concerning minors committing a specific crime). Usually, one story starts to dominate pretty quickly, and then I just take it from there – adding thoughts and characters, sometimes short scenes I want to write, and I ALWAYS ALWAYS have the beginning and the end ready before I start the more detailed plotting. Once I’m at the detailed plotting stage, I’m basically writing the book, and then there’s no going back.
Right now, I have two competing ideas, none of which are willing to give up the race yet. Since I have the opening paragraph ready for one of these stories, I suspect that one will win. I’m still open to the possibility that the other idea, the one where I have very many scenes outlined already, will claim victory first. At any rate, I’m confident that both of these projects will be written – and that is a great feeling too 🙂