Thursday, December 10, 2009

Projects and Pictures

Yesterday during my writing time, my mind wandered. It didn't want to work on the jinni book. It wasn't being lazy (I did ask myself if that's what was wrong). The problem was that I had a new idea. A wonderful, exciting story that popped up during a nap last week and hasn't left me alone. I decided I would outline it for a short story and then get back to my novel, but that didn't happen. Before I knew it, I had a two-and-a-half page synopsis and a character description---for a short story. Clearly, this was developing into something more. A novella? I did a quick google search for YA short stories and novellas. Nada. I mean, there have been some published, but the chanced of me getting something of that length published is even less than me getting a novel published (and we know how hard that is).

Just as I opened up another document to start writing prose, though, Henry woke up from his nap an hour early. So it had to wait until after the kids were in bed and the house was picked up. My husband comes home late most night nowadays because he has finals next week (last night, he crawled into bed after 3 a.m.!), so I was all alone and ready to write. But first, I called my dad.

Why? I have no idea. Well, besides the fact that he had called earlier when the kids were in the bath and I can barely manage keeping them from drowning each other with two hands, so I ignored the ring. Also, I had just watched Glee for the first time ever (OMG I loved it) and my mind was still buzzing and not ready to sit down and focus.

So. My dad. I nonchalantly told him my new story idea and for the first time ever he offered up ideas and asked me questions and was interested. While we were brainstorming plot, story arc, theme, and the final resonance the book should have (it suddenly became a novel), I remembered, all of a sudden, that my dad was a fabulous story teller. He used to put us to bed while mom cleaned up and he would tell us the most wonderful, imaginative stories ever. The stories would continue on for months, some even years, until he moved on to another theme/idea. He's not a writer, but he is a story teller. I've always been jealous of his ability to tell a story verbally. He used the right phrasing, tone, and withholds certain elements until just the right time. When I tell a story, my mind hops around too much and I confuse everyone.

He is also that annoying guy in the movie theater who calls out what's going to happen next, before it happens. He's rarely pleased with the plot of a story...he likes the ones he cannot predict.

And I think there's a relationship here. If you are the kind of person who can come up with plots that are intriguing, fresh, and well, work, then you are probably the person who can see through other plots that aren't as well-done or are predictable and stale.

Plotting is my biggest problem. Which is probably why I'm nearly always fine with a book when I read it, and I rarely critique the plot. Although...I'm starting to "get it." Maybe it's all the practice I've been doing. Maybe it's the plotting books I've been studying. Maybe it's the sheer volume of books I've read, accumulating knowledge.

Now the conundrum: do I continue on with this mess of a novel (the jinni one) or start planning and writing this new idea, the one that is Super Interesting Right Now??

Tell me what you think.

And, finally, a picture:


JenE said...

Wow, that picture makes me really cold.

I don't know what to tell you except to go with your gut instinct. If you really are lost in your WIP, and still have a while to go before finishing it, I don't see why you couldn't shelve it and start something new you're excited about.

Be sure to let us know what you decide to do!

(BTW, I like Glee too.)

V. S said...

I agree with Jene. Write whatever is motivating you. Do not force yourself to write about something that lacks motivation.

Kaylie said...

I have plot problems, too. That's the hardest part of writing for me. I think you should go ahead with your new idea unless you're close to finishing the other.

Christina Farley said...

Write what's pulling at you I say. Unless you have a deadline that you need to write toward. Enjoy the feeling of excitment of a new novel and when you need a break from it, go to the other one! It's hard to write with kids isn't it?

Val said...

You think that a publisher will be interested reading a book which you are not interested to write? Do you?
I really envy that you have a lot of snow there. Living in St-Pete I have to go to Finland for skiing. Can you believe? Global warming? Yes it’s already here.

Martha Flynn said...

Argh, tough call. There is always a Super Interesting Idea around the corner to distract you from your current WIP, but I think working on something that you developed with your dad is priceless. :)