So, I had this strategy when I decided I wanted to become a writer. I would write manuscripts, lots of manuscripts, lots of different manuscripts. Different genres, different settings, with different characters, and I’d continually pitch them to agents, to publishers, to whomever I had too until one finally sold. The goal was (and still kinda is, but I’ll get to that) that once a book sold, odds were a publisher would ask me to write more, turn it into a series. (Comes with the territory of writing speculative fiction. Not always, but more often than not.)
As many of you know I have finished and started pitching my first manuscript which is currently making it’s rounds (and being rejected) while I am in the middle of gathering the necessaries for my second and most recent finished manuscript “The Stars Were Right” so I can send it out the door and into the land of rejection.
So as according to plan, I should be starting my third book. New world. New characters. New series. I should have started it in earnest a few weeks ago. Though I have come to find out plans in writing — at least with me — are anything but solid.
I have been doing research off an on for a while now, a few different concepts. Some of which might eventually be manuscripts of their own. Yet, when I’d sit down to write any of them…. nothing. Nothing was coming out. My fingers were DOA. I got distracted. I became complacent. I found myself trying to find anything else to do rather than just sit down and start my new manuscript.
There was something getting in the way.
This all takes me back to a discussion that happened over the Thanksgiving holiday in regarding writing, characters development, and the craft itself. I made a comment that my “characters sometimes write themselves” and received nothing but blank looks from a few people. What followed were statements regarding the fact that as the writer, I was in charge, I could just tear a character out of the page if I wanted too, I could force a character to do what I wanted them too. After all it was my story. I should be able to control it.
The fact is sometimes with fiction, you can’t.
Character’s themselves may have traits that become so powerful it changes the direction of a story. The same goes for a story itself, sometimes an idea is so strong it overpowers everything else. It becomes a dam, blocking anything else from happening unless it’s been written down. My dam was Old Broken Road. Old Broken Road happens to be a sequel to The Stars Were Right. That’s the problem! It’s book two! TWO! I am starting book two in a series that isn’t sold! This is the opposite of my plan! (and might be an awful idea/waste of time.)
It’s too powerful though. I can’t get past it. Old Broken Road is overwhelming anything else I ever had a mind to write. It’s a story that is begging to be told, and I guess I’m the guy who has to tell it. When I came to this realization, and put aside all my other manuscripts, everything changed. The writers block I was experiencing seemed to fade away. Ideas, plots, characters, locations and conversations started flowing. The dam is beginning to crack.
So, yeah… so much for strategies. I’m now waist deep in Book 2 of the Bell Caravan Series: Old Broken Road.