• My brain hurts!!!

    04 August 2009
    Thinking hard all day -- ouch!!! This is simultaneously the most exciting and frustrating part about being an author -- the excitement of venturing into the unknown and discovering an entire new world of ideas, and the frustration of being at the mercy of those ideas until they reveal themselves. You don't have any control over an idea until you have it clear in your head. Once it's in place, you can play around with it, extend it, add to it, cut it -- whatever the hell you like. You are its master and it does what you tell it!!! But when you're not entirely certain of where you want to go with an idea, or how to link it in with other ideas, then it's almost like it's teasing you, mocking you -- "I'm over here, just behind you, but you can't find me!!!!"

    To be honest, it was a very successful day on the thought front. I plotted out most of the major parts of the next two books in the new series. Most authors would be thrilled to plot out two books in a single day, and rightly so -- it's an incredible achievement!!! But I always like to ask more of myself, to challenge myself and push myself hard. I was hoping to unlock the secrets of the later books today too, to outline exactly where I wanted to go with the story, so that by close of business today I would know precisely what I wanted to do, and how many books it was going to be. I plotted out books 4 and 5 in the morning, so when I returned after lunch I was feeling extraordinarily confident -- this was going to be a doddle!!! But the afternoon turned out to be a vague mishmash of conflicting ideas. I kept getting whiffs of the series outline, but couldn't quite pin it down, and in the end I had to admit temporary defeat and leave it where it was for the time being. My brain obviously isn't quite ready to take the whole series forward at the moment.

    But what it IS ready to do is tackle books 4 and 5, so that's what I'm going to do, starting tomorrow. I always think it's important to forge ahead whenever possible where writing is concerned -- if, for instance, you have a very clear idea of what you want to do with the first book of a trilogy, but you're not sure where you'll go with the second and third books, don't sit around trying to figure out the later books -- crack on and write book one. In my experience, you pick up ideas as you go along, as characters develop and the story throws surprises at you. If you sit thinking for too long, it can start to seem like an impossibility, like spitting and hitting the moon. But if you start to chip away at it and do what you can, you'll find the next step much easier to take when you get there. The stubborn part of me would love to sit down tomorrow and keep stabbing away at the later books, to try and bend them to my will. The practical part of me knows that they'll sort themselves out further down the line, and that my time will be much better utilised by starting work on book 4 ASAP. So that's what I'm going to do!!

    I don't know if this is an old proverb, or something I just made up, but this just popped into my head -- if you try to swallow an apple whole, you'll choke -- you need to devour it one small bite and swallow at a time.

    Happy chomping!!!!
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