Last night my dreams all took place in the world from my dark Science Fiction novel. It's a novel I started writing a while back, but I realized by chapter thirteen that I was trying to turn the wrong character into the main character. Being female, I have a soft spot for a strong woman protagonist. However, the character with the most to lose and the greatest obstacles to overcome, the really interesting character in the story, is not the woman. The male lead I was trying to relegate to a secondary role is the one the story is really about. I stopped writing with the intention of sorting through what I had done so far to see what was salvageable and what was scrap.
That hasn’t happened yet. Why? Because my efforts have been focused on getting book one of my trilogy out the door to agents and editors. I have done about six edits on the novel and, after the PNWA conference, I finally had to admit that it needed cutting to have a chance in this market (see How to Cut a Novel). Now that the book is cut and my wonderful team of review readers is looking it over, I can focus on writing the next novel while I wait for their feedback.
On to writing the Science Fiction novel, right? Wrong. I have many ideas I’m very excited about working on and I find it hard to choose between them. Even when I have chosen, I often second-guess myself throughout the tough process of getting a new work rolling.
The short list of ideas as I think of them:
- The Dark SciFi (started – needs reworking)
- The Steampunk (just started)
- The Urban Fantasy (plotted)
- The Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy (rough plot)
- The BS Book (The one my husband says is going to be my best-seller. ;) first draft done - rewrite)
- The Greek-Inspired Fantasy (half written – need to revisit plot for possible splitting as it is already getting too long)
That’s just scratching the surface of the ideas I’d like to bring to completion. Starting something new and keeping my focus on it gets harder as the ideas pile up (and dreaming about an idea other than the one that I am working on shakes my confidence). That said, I am currently trying to focus on the Steampunk novel because it and the Urban Fantasy seem to have the best chances in the current marketplace. When I finally have the flow for the Steampunk going well enough that I can drop in and out of it with ease, I will resume rewriting the BS as well.
When my resolve falters, part of me just wants to curl up with my paranormal kitten and wait for someone to tell me what to do. Another part keeps sneaking back to the trilogy because it is comfortable and familiar. The trick, I suppose, is just to press on with the current story even when dreams and furry friends try to lead me to distraction.
I would love comments from anyone about similar problems they have or techniques they use to deal with this kind of thing.