Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ideas, Anxiety, and Flukes

     I was a daydreamer long before I was writer. I didn't think I had what it would take to actually finish an entire novel, so I decided just to be content with letting my stories play out in my head. None of these story seeds ever fully solidified into something workable anyway, and most of them were heavily based on television shows and books, just all mixed up and jumbled together.

     When the idea for New Year's Revolution finally started coming together, I just had to write it. I only spent a few weeks being afraid that I wouldn't finish it. Once I started writing I couldn't stop, and it wasn't long before I realized it was going to be a trilogy. I went from "I'm never going to write a novel" to I'm going to write a trilogy.

     In the beginning I thought: this may be the only thing I ever write. I wasn't entirely sure where the idea came from or what made it different from the other seedlings that had been in my mind my entire life. At first I was okay with the Vampiric Vanguard Trilogy being the only thing I ever wrote, but the more I wrote the more I enjoyed it, and I realized I wanted to keep doing it, I just didn't know how to get more ideas.

     I think it was about a year after I started writing that the idea for Caribou Canyon came to me. I was at The Robin with my boyfriend at the time, talking about how my two best friends and I had lived in a haunted house. (Yes, I'm about 90% certain of this. For the record, I don't believe in vampires. But, ghosts? Definitely a possibility. No, I'm not willing to put money on it, mostly because I don't have any.) All of a sudden, there was Caribou Canyon: haunted town, three completely different teenage girls who become the best of friends, ghosts, corruption, curses. . . . The stuff that makes a great story. Hopefully. (I'm releasing it on a serial site in the next couple of months. I hope you're all as excited as I am. It's going to be epic, depending on your definition of the word.)

     I was still working on New Year's Revolution and at the time I was very strongly against starting a new project before finishing the old one. My thinking was: how will anything ever get finished this way? So I sat on the idea, but I'd think about it from time to time and new ideas for it would come to me. Lucky for me, I have some kind of alien uncanny memory (but only for certain things) and didn't need to write very much of these ideas down.

     As time passed I again began to worry if I was going to have any stories to write after I finished the New Year's Revolution (and the entire Vampire Vanguard Trilogy) and Caribou Canyon (which needs a more exciting title). Worrying is my thing.

     Two years after the lightbulb of Caribou Canyon lit up, the idea for my mystery novel formed during some morning bus rides while drinking coffee and listening to loud music. That idea was based on a really brief but powerful friendship during a really screwed up time in my life and also a separate weird and confusing experience during that same screwed up time in my life. These two experiences merged to make very interesting characters and an interesting (hopefully) story. I was STILL working on NYR, and next in line was CC so I knew it would be a while before I got to this story. But I was excited. I had another idea. There was hope for me after all.

     If you've been following my awesome, fun, and exciting blog then you know that all three of these stories have now been written and are in various stages of revisions or in-waiting. So guess what I've been worrying about while I'm working on revisions? Yep. I've been worried that I'm all out of ideas. Sure, I still have to finish NYR and write the two sequels, serialize CC and revise the mystery novel (still un-named) so it'll be a long time before I should think about starting something new, but still, because I'm me, I worry. What if this is it? What if there are no new ideas ever?

     Well, what I've learned is: you can't force ideas. They just come. They come at the most random times from the most random mix of things. It was through a variety of things, some of which I'm not even entirely sure of, that I've finally had my fourth idea. Yay! This one didn't come suddenly like the others. It percolated for a while and finally came together one night when I couldn't sleep. It will be another series, a paranormal/urban fantasy and it will take place over two separate periods of time that I'm going to weave together. That's all I'm saying. And there will be lots of creatures. So far I've kept my creatures segregated. Vampires in one story. Ghosts in another. This time I think I will be mixing them all up. Fun. Now, it's going to be a very, very long time before any of this gets written, but it's here in my head and its time will come. I started CC about two and a half to three years after I initially had the idea. It took around the same period of time before I started my mystery novel. So maybe two to three years is the magic gestation period for my ideas.

     So now that I've had four ideas for novels I think it's fairly safe to say that these are not flukes. I'm a writer. I'm still not entirely sure how these ideas are forming, but as long as they keep coming, I'm happy. It's time to stop worrying and just focus on the writing.