In January, I foolishly made some writing goals.
Hey! It was a moment of weakness. I wrote a list of 10 projects I would like to start or finish or at least chip an icicle off. I must’ve been feeling inspired and energetic that day. Don’t worry: won’t happen again.
Revisiting that list taught me several interesting things:
a) I’m an overachiever. Okay this was not a surprise.
b) I’m hopeless at making goals and achieving them. It’s like I make goals to purposely break them.
c) I have way too many ideas. Stop, brain, stop.
d) I have writers-ideas-ADD. Which basically means, I see an idea, I write it down, then…OH NEW SHINY IDEA!
We’re halfway through the glorious year of 2014, and I’ve ticked off 3 things from my list.
I’ve done round #1 of edits with my agent on my fantasy book. I wrote 52 Dresses Not For Dancing (it was as pathetic as a soggy waffle). I rewrote Six.
3 out of 10 isn’t horrendous, but it definitely means I will not be finishing off my list this year. Would you like to know why? Oh of course you do. Hold onto your socks, because here comes a shocker:
I have more new ideas.
I’m not talking passing whimsies. I’m talking full-fledged, writable, half-plotted, pinterest-boarded BOOKS. My brain is swarming with them. And every few weeks, a brand new one crops up and what should I do? Hose it back or embrace it?
Adding to the 7 books I already have to write, let’s add:
1. THEM HUNGRY BONES (YA – zombies)
This one gets top of the list because (I think) it’ll be the book I write next. Unless, you know, something else hits me with more passion. So far, Them Hunger Bones is about apocalyptic Australia, where a zombie virus wipes out entire cities in days. A girl and her teenage uncle take a roadtrip to escape, and accidentally pick up a preschooler wearing a tutu and batman mask. Mostly everyone ends up zombies. It’s about family. If your relative became a zombie, what would you do with them? Huh?
2. FURIOSO (YA – musical contemporary; co-written)
Mime and I have a book we want to co-write! Last year, we wrote Canonic, and Furioso is in the same series. Music. Sarcasm. Sibling rivalry. Family drama. A crazy grandfather. And pianist wars. What could be more awesome?
3. HELLO, DEATH (YA – paranormal/apocalypse; possible trilogy)
This is my baby. MY MOST EXCITING BABY. I haven’t thought up a series since I write 6 fantasy books. This, too, is an apocalypse. (I have a teeny obsession with the end of the world, okay?) But it’s a quiet end-of-all-things with a spin off Greek mythology, teenagers creating utopia, and Life and Death being people and retiring. Because that’s insanely logical. In fact, the entire book SCREAMS logic, don’t you think?
4. STAR KILL (YA – sci-fi; Star Rust #2)
Just like I suck at reading series, I suck at writing them too. I always wander away. BUT! This is a companion book to my sci-fi novel, Star Rust. Except Star Kill will involve 3 sisters who rule a planet and have had their brains modified to include war data from hundreds of generations. They will be the smartest people of their universe. And they’re…not even finished school yet.
I like this one because it’s about world domination where the villains win. Mwaha ha ha.
5. THE DEAD BOY AND THE PAPER CUT (YA – paranormal)
I don’t write fluff! What is this! Peoples, in a word: fluff. It’s a paranormal romance about a boy who was killed with a book and therefore is a ghost attached to a book. A girl borrows the book out of the library and…welcome home, Caspar. (I’m joking, his name is not Caspar. It’s Louis.) The girl must solve the murder mystery and lay the ghost/book/boy to rest. Or marry him and have little ghosty children.
6. NEVER, NEVER trilogy (YA? MG? Who knows? magical retelling)
I’ve written book #1, but would you believe I’ve plotted book #2? I DON’T PLOT. What is this. Book #3 is partially plotted, as well. There are titles, characters, plot twists, settings: the works. It’s my Peter Pan retelling which just takes the squishy Disney fairy tale and turns it into bloodsucking faeries who steal children to Neverland to eat them. Delightful, really. Nice happy story.
7. THE BOYS IN THE CORNFIELD WITH THE MAGIC (MG – paranormal)
I’m desperate to write a Middle-Grade book. It’s eluding me, which only makes the challenge more delicious. This is a story about a little girl who finds a cricket in her cornfield, but actually the cricket is a kid and it’s complicated.
8. CRIMINAL INSIDE (YA – sci-fi)
Who’d have thought I’d be so keen on sci-fi? Suddenly: I am. This one is a play of the historical-fiction concept of England dumping their criminals in Australia. But instead, the world is dumping their criminals on another planet.
Plus on top of this NEW marvellous list, I have 8 more book premises.
They’re barely more than 3 sentences each, but they’re still books, and 2 of them have complete plots all there and ready for me to sit down and flesh out a little. Once upon a writers block, I never thought of books with plots. I got characters. I got settings. Plots? Please, let me go fishing. Now, 90% of the time the book comes to me with plot, characters, and setting. I just have to fill in the 50,000-word blanks.
How do I handle this? HOW DO I SURVIVE MY OWN BRAIN?
My survival instincts have kicked in and I basically approach my ideas with a Jack Sparrow attitude:
Sanity? Do I really need it? On a scale of 1 to Moriarty, how important is my sanity?
I’m not bragging about my overflow of ideas. Honestly, I’m not. Writing is hard work. While I have a lot of book plots, I worry that my character sound too much the same. Should I shake my style up? Am I repeating the same themes? Has this book been done before?
Just like I want to read everything, I secretly want to write everything as well. Stories are my life. I love hearing them and making them. I love that words are so powerful. And all I can think of is that quote from The Book Thief:
Of course I have to stop fussing and just write these blasted stories…