Thursday, December 6, 2012

The "I Hate This Part" Part

As related last week, I completed a book, sent it out and had it accepted, hooray! The weeks of edits, rewrites, proofing and short deadlines still lie ahead. In the meantime, I should be working on my next book, so the draft can simmer while I’m doing the edits on the one that just sold. This is how professional writers work.

Operative words: “should be.”

This is the part of the process where I tend to stumble. After I finish something and send it out, I go through a period of “now what?” while I try to figure out what to work on next. This can last for days or sometimes weeks. Since I try to write something every single day, this leads to a lot of snippets, flash pages, and character sketches in ever-growing piles of spiral notebooks.

It’s not that I don’t have any ideas. Ideas are easy to come by. I have more ideas than time. It’s zeroing in on that one special idea that gives me problems. You know the one—that little bastard at the back of your brain that keeps kicking you in the frontal lobe when you’re trying to do something else, like pay the utility bill or talk to your mother-in-law. The one that keeps demanding “Write me! Write me now!” and won’t shut up until you devote your full attention to it. That’s how ideas should behave. At the moment mine have all clammed up and slunk off to hide in the corner and none of them wants to come out, hence my current dilemma.

Sometimes I’ll dive into an idea anyway in the hopes it’ll develop into something. They rarely do. I’ve got another pile of spiral notebooks with all my abandoned beginnings and the stories that whipped along for about ten pages or so and then petered out on me. That’s usually because, being a pantser, I don’t know where the story’s headed. What that really means is, I don’t care enough to find out. The YA got written because the characters started nagging me to get their story down on paper, so I finally said all right already and wrote it. That’s the kind of idea I’m looking for. Finding it’s the bugger.

I have a couple right now I could be working on. There’s the fashion designer and the dragon; I’ve tried to start it about three times now. It keeps rolling over and pulling the covers over its head and growling at me to go away. Rick and Nilambari’s story poked its head out of the cave and sniffed around a bit, but it seems to have withdrawn again. Too bad, because Sergei’s in that one, and I like writing about Sergei. His story’s stalled as well. I’ve been promising Serena I’ll finish the Belonging trilogy any month now. That one went flat on me too. I may have to watch all the Castiel episodes of Supernatural season four to get myself into the mindset. The life of a writer is so hard, sob sob.

Usually when I try to work on a story and it’s not in the mood to get written, my brain throws another idea at me as a distraction. That’s how the YA got written in the first place. Ditto for the M/M superhero story. Serena wants to see a book about Dina, one of the characters from the YA. But I don’t have a plot, I whined. Not a problem, smirked my subconscious. Right in the middle of typing the email I got a sudden flash: the YA refers to a teen series called Dead of the Night (this story’s version of Twilight) and its vampire hero, Armando. Out of nowhere I wondered, what if the hero in the book had been inspired by a real vampire? And Dina meets him? And becomes attracted to him? What happened to his first lover, the woman who wrote the book? There’s a whole story there and it’s sort of nagging at me, but I’m looking at it askance. I have an uneasy feeling their story would not end well. But it’s there, and if it annoys me enough I might have to write it just to shut it up.

Or I could work up that M/M shapeshifter series. Or the family of cowboy vampire slayers. Or maybe something else. Like I said, finding ideas isn’t the problem. Finding the right idea? Not as easy as you think.

On top of that, I may have to give in and set up a Facebook page. The new publisher wants us to do promotion and sent me a whole bunch of suggestions. The fun part will be keeping any teen readers away from my erotica. Hey, kids! Want to know more about the characters in the YA? Their story starts in this M/M/F ménage over here, with the violence and the blow jobs in the kitchen and stuff. Make sure to get your parents’ permission.

Being a professional writer’s a bitch. I wonder if Stephen King has days like this?


Savanna Kougar said...

Yeah, likely, the 'King' has days like that. What gets me, is like you say, ideas aren't the problem... it's having the time/energy to write all the stories.

And how do you choose? Except if the heroine/hero starts shouting and nudging... or their story just starts writing itself... then turns into a novel and refuses to end... argh! because they're having too much fun being with each other...

BTW, I had a dream awhile back where a man who was related to Adrian Paul showed up, and his name was Armando. Coincidence?

Pat C. said...

It would have to be coincidence, because I'm thinking a 20something Antonio Banderas.

It's not so much ideas or time as it is -- I don't want to say this, but I have to -- inspiration. One particular plot or character(s) will start kicking me until I have to write it. Unless and until that happens, it's just not going to work. I know, because I've tried to force it. Everything just dries up.

My only solution is to go ahead and write something I have at least marginal feelings about. Either it'll take off, or a different idea will ambush me. Either way, something gets done. I just can't vouch for the quality.

Pat C. said...

I know all about the books that refuse to end. Mine was Legacy. If the ending reads like it was rushed, that's because it was. I was up to around 70,000 words by then and was trying to wrap it up.

Savanna Kougar said...

Yeah, 90,000 words plus now...

Antonio Banderas... oh yes, yes, yes! Especially as Zorro, for me, anyway.

BTW, be careful with a Facebook page. FB is notorious about stealing and selling personal info, even if you follow all the bells, hoops, and whistles telling them not to. They tell you up front, at least they did, everything you put on FB 'belongs' to them. And they mean it.

If you just do the basic author-promo thing that could work... but there are so many traps to get your info and 'friends' info that I doubt anyone can keep up, even the techies admit this, but also admit they're addicted to FB.

Anyway, Rebecca and Serena should be able to help you out with FB.