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.
Dear Sue, It’s a brave new world out there. Sounds as though you’ve set yourself an interesting challenge and if by chance it doesn’t work out, you’ve gathered lots of new information. That you can use elsewhere.
Sometimes using your facts in a short story helps you to get new focus. Happy Writing.
Thanks, Jocelyn. I have set myself an interesting challenge – but they’re the best kind, aren’t they? You make a good point about nothing ever being wasted. It’s good to remember that. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Thanks Sue. Sounds like an action-packed adventure (both your new book and the process). It’s also good for me to know that the self-doubt and the organic growth of the novel is normal.
The process is certainly an adventure. But despite those search topics, I’m not intending on the story being that adventurous. But then, who knows what it might end up being – with all the self doubt and organic-ness, it could end up being anything! That’s what makes it so exciting. (And you are certainly not alone with the self doubt – it is all part of the territory!)
Thanks Sue! I’m in the middle of the same process at the moment for a picture book. It’s encouraging to read how you go about your work. So much happens before the story gets on the page! ?
It certainly does. All the best with your picture book! Picture books require so much brain power – and energy.
OMG. The only research-type Googling I’ve done today concerns whether you can fish for yellowbelly near Charleville. And what sort of farming is done in the south in the USA. Yours sounds like much more fun.
They sound intriguing too, Pamela! Maybe we should do a survey on everyone’s googling one day and see if we can predict their stories? That could be fun! Thanks for reading and commenting.
Hi Sue, are you sure this post isn’t an attempt to cover your tracks with ASIO hehehe ;P.
I’m sure you can pull it off.
I think the terrifying aspect of a new idea is what makes writing stories so much fun – well maybe fun isn’t the right word, perhaps interesting. It has always been my favourite part of the writing process. I look forward to hearing more about the project as it progresses.
Hi Jeff. Can’t put much past you, can I? Don’t tell anyone else! (Hehe.)
I think you are right about the terrifying aspect creating the “fun”. Let’s face it, we’re just adrenaline junkies. Hope your writing and illustrating are going well.