Thursday, March 31, 2016

Not Ready for Prime Time

I was reminded of why it's seldom a good idea to dive in and start writing that shiny new idea as soon as it hits you. I wrote out everything I knew about the new story yesterday, and I only filled a sheet of notebook paper, in spite of feeling like I'd seen the whole movie in my head. What I have is an idea with some details. I don't have a full story. For one thing, I don't know who/what the antagonist is and what the antagonist wants. I don't know what the real story goal is. I know the immediate goal of the protagonists, but I don't know the bigger picture goal that they'll develop after they learn what's really going on.

However, that doesn't mean my mind isn't eagerly playing with this idea, which made editing difficult yesterday. I'd be trying to focus on reading the book I'm working on and looking for places to add oomph, and my mind would trail off to "and what if this was what was going on …" in that other idea. By the end of the day, I'd added a page to my brainstorming. I suppose it's a sign that oomph is needed if my mind wandered away like that.

It's still not ready to write, though. This sort of thing was what delayed the start of my writing career. Maybe I could have been one of those teen phenomenons if I'd focused better, but I had a bad habit of getting a great idea, starting to write a story, then having it fizzle out about two chapters in because my great idea was only a concept, not a real story. Then I'd get another idea, etc., until I had a file of first chapters that never went anywhere because I had concepts, not plots.

Now I need to focus enough on the current project to finish it. Then I can move on, either to the next thing I had planned or maybe to more work on this. Doing some real work on it will either make it take on a lot more life or will prove that it's not ready for prime time so I can go back to other things and let it gestate some more. Strategically, this isn't what I need to be writing right now. It really should come after the next thing I have planned.

So now I have at least nine fictional universes of my own trying to play out in my head. Some are quieter than others, but all of them pop up and demand attention every so often. And that's not even getting into other people's fictional universes that I find myself analyzing and trying to fix (which often generates a new fictional universe of my own when analyzing and fixing give me new ideas).

I've designated this weekend as "get my life together" weekend for bookkeeping, taxes, house cleaning, etc., but I may make my play time be some brainstorming in this new universe, with hopes that this will make it shut up and go away for now.

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