09 August 2011

(Scary) Shiny New Idea

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
My brain is making the transition from pushing for publication of my complete WIP, to the creative thirst for writing something new. Little ideas are dropping into my consciousness, and I can feel my drafting muscle stretching, ready for a marathon.

At the moment I probably have about thirty bits and pieces floating around in my (digital) writing folder. Some are dialogue snippets, or character descriptions. Most are premises, a paragraph or more, and the tone is mainly commercial/women's fiction. I also have a 20,000 word expanded outline for a historical romance, 500 words of a book that could be YA, and 5,000 on the follow up book to the book I'm currently querying. I even have 1,000 words of story that could only be described as fantasy.

There is one new story that is shouting louder than the most. It grew in my imagination last week, after spring-boarding off another, more commercial and easy idea. I can't stop thinking about it, and I'm sure I'm going to have to make time soon to start actually writing it. The problem is it's not women's fiction... it might not even be commercial. I can't say for sure whether there'll be a happy ending or even a proper romance. The premise is slightly shocking. I suppose you could even call it "high concept". It explores morality and how good people can do bad things. It will probably told in alternating points of view, with many secrets revealed and twists along the way. I know how it starts, and a few hints of later events, and I've thought a bit about the characters - how they may have found themselves in this position, and why it's destroyed their worlds. Apart from that I don't have a plot. And my typical pantser instinct is just dying to jump in and start exploring this situation to see where it goes.

It will require a ton of research, and a heck of a lot of outlining and planning once I get going (I have to figure out how those secrets and twists should intersect and when), and it will probably be emotionally taxing. I don't know how I'd start the research or if I'd ever get the time. I'm going to be treading in areas of human experience I have not encountered in real life, and I might interpret these things incorrectly. I could really stuff this up and just give up half way through.

It would be a lot easier to just keep going with one of my 'brighter' ideas... to sail through on romance and commercial scenarios. But like I said, this idea just won't leave me alone. It's demanding enough head space to bloom into a real story. So I'm thinking I need to set aside a couple of hours this weekend to give it some air time in my frazzled mind. And who knows, maybe it will fizzle away once the initial creative burst is done. Or maybe it will completely hijack my life for the next year and I'll be in query hell again come August 2012.

Have you ever had a story hijack your brain... something completely different to what you thought you'd write? Have you had an idea really stretch you and work out as you planned?


  1. Go on your gut instinct. When ideas come strong...go with it. You never know where it may take you.

  2. My brain gets hijacked often. Some times it's caused by fear of failure, other times it's an authentic need to start something new. Discerning which it is isn't always easy. I wish you luck in deciding. And, remember, our pre-publication time is the best time to test out new waters!!