ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES: TANTALISING OR TERRIFYING?
It occurred to me the other day that if ASIO decided to check my recent internet search history, I might be brought in for “questioning” to “please explain”. I might even be a “person of interest”.
In the past couple of weeks my search topics have ranged from how to obtain counterfeit documentation, to persecution of refugees, to teenagers discovering they are adopted, to car crash explosions, to house fire investigations, to grizzly forensics, to details about several well-known court cases – and everything in between! (One would be forgiven for thinking that I am writing a crime thriller, but I’m actually researching a contemporary middle grade novel about family love – really.)
So, yes, I am starting a new book: the shiny new idea that has been so-very-tantalising and oh-so-alluring and TOTALLY AMAZING while I was finishing my last book.
But now that I am actually WORKING on it, the shine is already tarnishing and I’m thinking – what was I thinking? Can I pull this off? Can I do this idea justice? Are my ideas good enough? Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera. (You know the drill.)
You see, the possibilities are endless. Anything could happen. And that’s the problem. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I find this daunting. Plain old terrifying at times.
So far this is what I have:
- a premise – which I think is pretty strong and possibly unique and certainly worth exploring
- a working title
- the name of my protagonist
- some ideas about the back story
- one possible key event
- enthusiasm mixed with terror.
And that’s about it.
So for me, the next weeks will all be about getting rid of the terror and embracing the tantalising new idea. (Hold on a tick while I google “how to put a tight impenetrable gag on self doubt”.)
This will mean weeks of research, brainstorming and thinking, then more brainstorming, more research, more thinking, plus some testing out of ideas, then yet more brainstorming, more research, more thinking, and some exploring of possible settings and dreaming up characters and then probably more brainstorming and more research and more thinking and so on.
It’s a messy process. Reminiscent of my kids’ bedrooms when they were teenagers. (Shudders at the memory!)
But experience has shown me that eventually some ideas will resonate and stick – the mess will become less messy. I will start to make connections and gradually the shape of my story will emerge. And if I give it enough time, enough energy, enough trust that good ole story magic will kick in and the tiny new idea will bloom and grow and transform into an actual story, with characters and setting, plot and theme. (That’s the plan, anyhow! Fingers crossed.)
Thanks for listening.
I feel better now.