Not too long ago, I remember worrying that at one point I’m going to run out of ideas and I’ll run around like a chicken with its head cut off in an attempt to figure out something to write. At that time I was working on just two novels (one that was on hiatus until I could figure out what to do with the main characters, and the other I was struggling to hold it at the seams), and I thought, “Oh god, is this it? After I finish writing these two stories, will I have nothing to write?”
Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about that for long. In fact, I started worrying about having too many ideas.
Lately, my brain has been throwing a lot of ideas at me at the most random of moments. Dreams, conversations, pictures… I’ve been drawing inspiration from everything, even my procrastination gave me ideas! One day I was moving at my own leisure between two novels, and the next I was trying to juggle no less than 8 plots. Every character wants to have its say, each one of them wants a turn in the spotlight. They no longer want to remain ideas; they want to be translated into words. My head is crowded with people who are trying to poke their way out… Ash, Petra, Luke, Penelope, Faye, Dexter and many others; they all have stories to tell, and they’re getting impatient. But between juggling my work and my life, I find that I don’t have a lot of time to actually sit and write.
I try to tell them to wait, but their voices drown out my words. Some of you may think I’m being melodramatic, but others who’ve been in the same situation will know what I’m talking about… the constant desire to write, the itch to start something new, the plotting and twisting around in your head…
But I’m holding my ground and sating the characters by allowing them to play around in my head, and occasionally trying to flesh out their stories. At one point in my life I used to start new stories every other day, regardless of how many WIPs I still had, and the result? Many, many unfinished stories that are sitting in a box somewhere and will probably never find their endings.
But now I know I have to finish at least one of my WIPs before I can even consider starting a new novel. One novel, titled The Muse Bunny, currently stands at 77 thousand words, and the only thing that’s stopping me from writing the final two or three chapters is the fact that I love both my antagonist and protagonist too much to decide who should “win” at the end.
But I’m working on that now. I recently resumed writing TMB, and even though I still have no clear idea about the direction I’m taking, I know the characters will take me there eventually. Truly at times they seem to be writing this story, as I started it out with just a mere idea and no prior planning. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to finish it within the next month. Now that I’ve published one book, I’m eager to publish another.
My questions for you are: do you finish one story before starting another, or do your characters always manage to overpower you? How frequently do you get ideas for new books?