June 22, 2013 by Kira Lyn Blue
It started so innocently. A single flash of inspiration just as I was drifting off to sleep, yet so powerful was that mind-searing image, I sat bolt upright, heart hammering, knowing, knowing that THIS was it. This was the idea that needed to be written.
And then there’s no going back to sleep until you’ve scribbled down as much of the jumbled images as possible.
This has happened to me five times.
I wrote well over 100k of the first idea before realizing it was too big and would have to be broken down into more than one book. So, I re-plotted, started rewriting, and then several chapters in… all the magic was just gone. I couldn’t do it. It was too big, too overwhelming, too massive in scope. My epic fantasy story was apparently too epic for a rookie like me. My beloved first character, Alexis, has since sat gathering dust in the archives of a digital cloud.
A few months later: the flash, the jolt, the stumbling out of bed to find a notebook, and the furiously scribbling until the wee hours of the morning when my hands were too cramped and my brain too mushy too continue. And Jac was born along with the original basis for Murphy’s First Law.
I finished the first draft in 3 months, I think. Much faster than the year the first twenty some chapters of Alexis’s story took. And hey, I actually wrote an ending! That’s progress!
Then I started working on revisions and started hating the whole story. No, that’s not true, I still love much of it. I just can’t seem to fix what feels wrong with it and all attempts just make me feel worse and worse about the writing process in general.
I have now written approximately twenty different versions of the opening chapters and none of them work like I really want. Not one seems to address the concerns of my beta readers and critique partners as a whole, and none of them make me happy.
On the plus side, I’ve had all new kinds of ideas about possible systems of magic, fantasy cosmologies, the psychology and behavioral traits of various supernatural races, interesting character interactions and motivations. I even came up with an entirely different approach to writing the first book in Jac’s series and wrote several different opening versions of that story.
In the meantime, I’ve also had three other midnight story flashes and can’t seem to focus on any one of them.
There’s just too many possibilities, all so sparkly and tempting in their own right that I can’t pick just one to work with. Yeah, I’m that girl. The one who thinks everything on the menu at a restaurant looks awesome and will waffle back and forth trying to decide until her party finally gets annoyed and just calls the waitress to take their orders. I still insist on ordering last to have just a few moments longer to choose, then regret whatever I do tell the waitress the minutes she walks off.
It occurs to me that I should probably only go to restaurants with buffets…
With my writing, though, there’s no exasperated waitress glaring at me to make up my mind, no one pressuring me to make a decision, no one hurrying me along. And buffet-style isn’t really an option.
So, what’s a girl to do? Especially when the sixth flash occurred just a few nights ago. And not just any flash, this flash told me how to fix Alexis’s story. The premier, the original, my firstborn could potentially have new life!
But, that would mean backburnering Jac for months, maybe years. And I can’t drop the feeling that Jac is much closer to completion. There’s just something missing. One missing puzzle piece that if I could just locate it hiding under the table, stuffed under a couch cushion, or lurking in the dog’s toy bin I could finish the whole thing and make it work.
If I could just find that piece, I could polish off the story. Make it ready for publishing.
But, then again…
God! It’s like trying to choose between a hot fudge sundae and creme brulee. If you were making both yourself and in choosing one you couldn’t have the other again for a long time. And if there was no guarantee that you could even get hot fudge for your sundae. Ok, maybe the analogy doesn’t work so well.
So, yeah, I think I’m going insane with indecision and it’s not helping that I think one of the ninja squirrels possessed my Muse, and is making her drink several pots of coffee a day to keep her in a hyperactive, highly distractable state, where every thought that passes through her mind is the Most Absolute Awesome Thing Ever, for exactly five minutes until she thinks of something else.
I’m fairly certain the next time someone tells me they’re thinking of writing a book that I’m going to send them a gift wrapped straight-jacket, custom embroidered with their initials.
Would that be tacky?