Saturday, February 18, 2017
What to do when you have too many ideas
I've stepped away from my series for a bit, and I'm writing some stand-alone books. My current work-in-progress is a YA novel, but right now I have too many ideas. Some writers might say that's a good thing, but when I have ideas for six books I want to write, the process gets muddled. When I come up with a great plot event, should I use it in my current book, or save it for a future book? If I'm struggling with the current work, should I slog through or switch to writing something else?
I try to stay on the same book, but it isn't easy. The project I'm working on now? I've been writing it, off and on, for the last few years. I try to outline, but I don't view writing as re-discovering a story that was already there, like a paleontologist chipping away at stone and finding fossils. I write drafts upon drafts as I edit, plan, and shape. In other words, I write like someone taming a wild horse.
When I get an idea for a future book, I write it down in that novel's file, but then I have to return to the main project, or it will never get done. If I'm not sure whether to use an idea now or save it for later, I use it now. There will always be more ideas.
And the ideas I get when I first start a book are always the fun ideas, the exciting premise. But actually writing an entire book--the nitty-gritty of character development, fixing plot holes, and rewriting and editing--is hard work and takes more than just creativity.
Right now I'm taming horses (that is, making sure the plot makes sense) and keeping a running file of stray ideas that haven't been assigned yet. Hopefully I'll be able to make it through this book, and write many more.
Photo by Unsplash.