Thursday, July 3, 2008

From an Undisclosed Place in My Mind

I had no intention of starting another book until after I got back from my vacation in September, which meant I would spend the next three months working on my book of short stories, my comic Plain Jane, and editing Jak and the Giants.  It meant that I would have three months to start planning and thinking about my next book.  (And by planning I mean, just rolling ideas and characters around in my head).  

Would it be Henry and Ishi battling it out around the dystopic streets of The States in a post-apocalyptic un-love story?  Would it be Mattie Gray trying to keep the world from literally coming apart while trying to uncover the secrets of the Broken Earth?  Would it be Minuet on a journey through a shadow world of cast-off gods and forgotten monsters to find her daughter and learn they hows and whys of who she was?  Or possibly it could have been the story of Cameron Frost who finds a zipper on a shadow and decides to see what's on the other side?  Or finally it could have been Nara Star and the Noble Academy, traveling through time with a displaced Spartan boy and one of the last wizards in the world.

Any one of those ideas could have been a fantastic next book for me.  They all have potential, they're all pretty different from one another and I really love all of them.  But not only am I not going to be writing any of them as my next novel, but I'm not going to be able to wait until the end of September.

I think I wrote an entry about ideas and where they come from (the box under my bed), but so far, my last three ideas have all come to me while I was in bed.  The Last Guardian came from a dream, Jak and the Giants came to me while I tossed and turned in bed, and this newest idea came to me two nights ago while I was asleep.  But these three ideas all share something, an immediacy, a feeling of coming to me so fully formed that it feels like I'm not creating them, they're simply choosing to reveal themselves to me, and my job is just to keep peeling back the covers and learning as much as I can about them.

I'm keeping this idea close to my chest for two reasons:  The first is that I'm WAY excited about it, only sometimes (alot) when the flame dies down, my excitement goes with it and the idea peters out.  The other is that the idea for the book (an honest to goodness YA book with only the tiniest bit of speculative fiction - but it's SO minor it couldn't even be classified SF&F) is so simple and so genius, I was shocked that no one had done it before.  I googled the crap out of it, and ran it past my best friend (who happens to read a lot of YA) and she agreed that it was brilliant and had never heard of an idea like it.  So I kind of want to protect the idea.  Not that this journal gets much traffic, but just in case.

Even though I know this story already, and I could technically write up all the details and file it away until after Sept, I feel like this story is bursting from my chest, demanding to be written right this second.  So my fear is that if I ignore it, it will find another author who will be willing to give it the attention it deserves.  Luckily I'm not imagining another 150k word monster.  Likely the first draft will come in at about 80k words, so it's entirely possible I could finish it before I go to Europe (though it's not likely).

I'm not sure how smart it is to try to edit one book and write the other at the same time, but I'm determined to do it.  I won't let Jak just fall by the wayside.  I shelved Duncan because I didn't think I could do anything to save him.  Jak though is a great story, and I think I've written it well.  He just needs a little TLC to go from good to great.

So there it is.  I guess I'll be chronicling the mystery story for a while.  If it doesn't pan out, then I'll be updating on how the editing and short book of horror stories goes.  And so as to not be totally confusing, the main character's name is Oliver Travers and this book is totally his story.

Word of the day:  insomnia

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