This past weekend I finished my second draft of A DIFFERENT KIND OF UNIVERSE and I don't know how I feel about it. This MS has given me such mixed emotions. From a strange, frenzied brainstorming sesh that one Friday afternoon when the idea came to me, to the weary read-through where I felt myself cringing and wondering what I was even thinking when I wrote this story. There are many things I love about it, and some things I don't.
Deep down I know the MS is not at its full potential and I struggle with figuring out how to get it there or if it's even ready to be fully realized. There's an empty and confused feeling in the place where a sense of accomplishment should be. So it's time for other eyes to be on the MS to help me out of this tangled web I'm in so I sent the MS to three CP's on Saturday. And for the time being, I'll try not to think about it.
And right when I want to be done with it, a new character blows into my life and I get a 'shiny new idea' for my next project. It happened on Saturday, April 2nd, when my sister was in town. She, Michael, and I had finished brunch in Seattle and were headed back to the house. When we were going over the I-90 bridge, she (this character) manifested herself into my mind and told me her predicament. She was snarky, cynical, and not very likeable, but there was a reason why for it, and she told me that too, but not as an excuse but as a pull to draw me in. I turned to Michael, who was in the driver's seat, and told him about this idea. And speaking it out loud to him, I realized was just what the character wanted. I'd already started telling her story without even writing a single word.
Naturally after getting home, I headed to my desk, cracked open my notebook and jotted down the idea. And then I left it at that. I returned to ADKOU (because you always gotta finish, right?), but said character kept weaseling herself into my state of mind--despite never wanting to tell me her name (only her alias--Delilah). So, I ended up giving in. I gave her two pages and wrote her opening to get a feel of her voice and then I put it/her away.
Now that ADKOU is out with CP's, I know little miss Delilah is waiting for me, giving me glimpses of scenes to entice me, but I find myself afraid of a few things:
- I'm afraid I'll have mixed feelings about this story like I did with ADKOU--and this kind of feeling makes my heart ache. Cue doubt: Am I not a good enough writer to pull it off? Are my ideas coming off stale? ARRGGGHHH. Go away doubt!
- I don't know if I can tell Delilah's story the way she wants, because she's so unlike me or any character I've ever written and she kind of, um, scares me.
- This MS would be considered 'Paranormal' and I don't know if the market will be opening up to that anytime soon (but of course, I know I should never write according to the market since it's so unpredictable).
- I don't normally think of characters in the way I do Delilah. She has made herself known quite aggressively when I was thinking of writing a coming-of-age story that's been on the back burner for a while. Which makes me wonder, am I slightly crazy? Because she's so vibrant and pulsing. I've never experienced that with any other character. With TJE, Avere was dragging me into her adventure and opening her heart to me. With ADKOU, Lien wanted me to observe and to watch her get into sticky situations but also grow. Delilah is just. Well. She's basically telling it like it is and I am scrabbling to get down the words, but it's so hard because she's so complicated and it's a lot of work getting to know her. So, yeah. That's a challenge.
I know I'll probably work on Delilah's story next (since it's not like she's gonna let me off the hook), but I don't know where to start. Maybe once Delilah tells me her real name will I start working.
To you writers out there, how do your story ideas occur? I've found that it's different for each story I've written so far, is it the same for you? Comment below!