If I’ve learned anything over the last week, it’s that the downside to coming up with a secondary project to play around with while working on Meet the Lidwells is the temptation to fall prey to the “ooh shiny!” of the newer project, leaving the original one undone. I love the apartment complex idea at the moment, and I’m quite sure it’s because I’m still in the world-building phase of that one. Two daily-words entries and I’ve already come up with some neat ideas that I’d like to play with.
BUT! I really need to focus on my other story! The one that’s been on my mind over the last few years. The one I can FINALLY devote my time to. The last thing I need right now is another distraction!
So how to handle this sort of thing? All writers fall prey to it sooner or later…the rogue new idea that tempts you and won’t leave you alone, and you know damn well that if you don’t write it down RIGHT NOW it’ll be lost forever. Often to the detriment of any other deadlines you might be working on at that moment.
Well…I’ve learned that there’s got to be a bit of balance. From past experience, the worst thing I can do with a completely new idea is to try to create an entire novel out of it. I definitely don’t have the whole story and its universe in my head at that point. The end result will be a lot of making stuff up as I go along, thus needing a hell of a lot of revision on the back end. It’s one of the reasons the trilogy project took so damn long.
I wrote outtakes of Meet the Lidwells via my daily practice words, and I knew that wasn’t going to be the final version. And I wrote it while I was rewriting and revising the trilogy, so I put just enough into it to keep it alive until it came time for it to be my main project.
I’m doing the same with this new story idea. Right now I’m looking at it from a workshop level, throwing stuff at it to see what works. Coming up with characters, names, settings, and other background details that I can reference a little later. And I’m sure sometime within the next few months I might even draw a layout of the main setting, maybe even some of the characters. Bits will change along the way. It’s all up in the air right now, malleable.
And that’s just for fun, at the moment.
The heavy work is on Lidwells, and that’s where it’ll remain until it’s done. That’s my evening writing work, the stuff I’ll treat more seriously. Attending to details, focusing on the feel of the story in my head, contemplating what needs work and what needs excision. And besides…this one has a deadline that I don’t want to break. If I have to put New Shiny Idea aside to devote more time to Lidwells to get it done on time, so be it.
Finding that balance is a bit of crazy work, but I believe I can get it done.