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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Stop Overthinking Things

A couple months ago, writing/blogging buddy Krystal Jane posted a graphic depicting a (real) conversation between Stephen King and George R. R. Martin. Save yourself a Google and go here to read her post. If you scroll down to read the comments, you'll see me lamenting my similarities to Martin and swearing to be more like King for my next project.

I did start my next book. (And yes, I did wind up going with Option 1.) And I'm trying. I really am. I'm trying to just make myself write write write write write write write write write, and worry about everything working out with editing later. It's been...okay. I got a solid, fairly lengthy (for me) opening chapter done in about eight days. And I started Chapter 2 today, even though I'm not 100% sure where it's going, other than "leading into Chapter 3 on my outline".

It's so easy to slip back into overthinking things, though. Even if something's not perfect, I'm trying to commit to just getting the damn words on the page, but then I'll be distracted by the possibility of word repetition, or varying sentence structure, or other things that can TOTALLY BE FIXED LATER ON. I don't know if it's necessarily a *bad* habit, since everyone writes in their own way, but I'm not crazy about being like this.

I used to just WRITE and worry about everything later. However, as soon as I started submitting things for publication and working with professional editors, it seemed that the more advice I got, the slower I wrote. The more I learned, the more I realized how much I didn't know, I guess. :P And while some have been better fits than others, every editor I've had the opportunity to work with has been super nice and supportive, so it's not like anyone's ever yelled at me for not being perfect. Maybe I need to frame my writing goals as keeping editors employed....

(Abrupt topic change! I think I'm set for the title on this one, so I'll make it official with a new tag!)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

New Things For Spring

(almost nailed the rhyming title, but not quite)

Lately, it seems that all of my creative-minded friends have been talking about what new project they want to embark on. I would say something poignant and poetic about it having to do with the time of year, with spring just around the corner, and everything waking up and getting ready to bloom, blah blah blah, but I'm in the part of the country that got smacked by a number of storms in a row and not all the snow in my yard has melted yet. So we'll save that for another couple weeks. ;) 

My writing fingers are getting itchy already, even though it feels like I just finished up the most recent novella and sent it off. Usually I take a break to read some books, play some games, and see what's new and exciting on Netflix, but other than a couple books I'd wanted to read for a while, nothing else is really calling to me. I guess I might as well start something new, then!

Of course that leads to the all-important question...what should I start next? As any writer or other creative-type knows, there are always plenty of options and not enough hours in the day to tackle them all. Some of my ideas have been bouncing around for years, while others are fairly new. Some are pretty fleshed out, while others are nothing more than little snippets yet. Here's my list of mostly-baked ideas (all romance):

Option 1
Pros: Except for figuring out the order of some scenes in the middle, I basically have the major plot points outlined. The characters are fleshed out in my mind. I realized lately I haven't written anything in a male POV in quite a few years now and I'd like to go back to it for a change. One plot thread is something I've wanted to write about for a while.

Cons: It's...fluffy. Not that there's anything wrong with fluff, but nothing about the plot is particularly earth-shattering or ground-breaking. Also, it's in a contemporary setting, which I've been finding myself writing in a LOT lately, even when the stories have sci-fi or fantasy elements.

Option 2
Pros: I was so excited about this one, I almost started it over the summer. I even did some research with a friend. It's got a dystopian setting, alternate dimensions/timelines, and all sorts of more complex stuff to wrap my mind around. The two main characters are pretty well established to me.

Cons: All of that aforementioned complex stuff takes a lot of plotting, and I'm not quite all the way there yet. There are also some big issues I have to decide how to tackle - stick with familiar tropes, or throw caution to the wind and do my own thing? (The latter takes more work, of course.) While I have the major plot points figured out, there's still a looooooot of blanks to be filled in.

Option 3
Pros: Action! Sci-fi! Edgy smartass main characters! The plot is mostly done! Pew pew pew!

Cons: I don't feel like I know the main characters well enough. I still need to figure out their goals and motivations beyond "I want to meet someone attractive and bang them." 

Option 4
Pros: I know the characters and the plot. Though it's mostly a contemporary setting, there are some sci-fi elements to play around with. Also, the romance is a menage, which I haven't written in yeeeeeeeeeeears.

Cons: Even though everything is plotted out for the most part, I haven't 100% convinced myself that the plot is a good one and something I should commit to writing. And even in my head, the female lead seems a little bratty, and I need to work on ways to tone that down.

I guess this is a good problem to have, right? Nothing's set in stone, but as of right this second, Option 1 is calling to me, fluff be damned. And if it's calling the loudest, I should probably listen!

I should also probably save this list for the next time the same issue arises, but who knows how many options I'll have to add by then!