Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back Again...Again

Posted by Jennifer B. at The Writing Cocoon

We arrived home Sunday night, back from a trip abroad. However, it’s taken me longer to get back to my blog than it has to get back to my house. The blogging was going so well, so consistent. 

I hate breaking a routine because the reestablishment of the routine is such a bitch. I was finally settled into a plan and then Life couldn't help but meddle. It put a little crack in my view of my world as a chess board where I control all the pieces, my carefully constructed schedule being the board. Maybe that’s my inner control-freak rearing her red-faced and scowling head. Maybe she’s not so “inner.” I’ve always struggled with…flexibility. Not sure if that is such a good trait in a writer, or anyone.

Thankfully, the delay in returning to blogging does not mirror a delay in returning to writing. I allowed myself Monday “off,” so that I could sleep in and unpack the bags. I intended to do a little housecleaning, but the cat-fur bunnies and spider webs will have to wait. They often have to wait. But, I digress.

Still riding high on the completion of my first novel, the energy kept my fingers twitching and yearning for a return to the keyboard. But, I wasn't quite ready to dive into the next story. I spent some time reviewing the notes I took on plotting and story structure and notes on this AW forum thread here. I also finished reading the novel for June’s Women of Fantasy book club, and yes, I realize it is halfway through July. As I said, Life has been interrupting my schedule, and there is just no arguing with Life. It wasn’t exactly writing, but I did accomplish some writing-related activity that satisfied my urge to get on with it.

Tuesday, well, it was glorious. I decided to go forward with my new idea for an urban fantasy novel as my next project. Several ideas jockey for prominence right now, but this one I simply felt drawn to. I thought that was as good a reason as any to make the choice, and once I did, I knew it was the right one. My excitement at getting started lit a fire. 

I started with the character sketch for my main character. I even selected a name right away, which I’m taking as a good omen. Using some of the ideas and methods I’ve been reading about, I sketched out a plot diagram and started a list of the themes from my story ideas.

For world building, I got going with a simple background sketch. Not really a scene, but a run-down of the backstory up to where this story begins. I think I will work out a general plan for the magic and complete a little research for the main magical creatures I’ve envisioned thus far. This is where I’m sort of stuck. Do I dive headlong into the world building? I just don’t know. There is a lot of research to be done, but I have this funny feeling in the pit of my stomach and a tingling-crawling sensation in my limbs. I am impatient to write the story, but does that override my need to build up my new world? I think it should, that’s my instinct. The only reason I question it right now is that I found myself flailing about in my last novel’s first draft because of some pretty serious holes in my world building. It has become an internal chicken-or-egg kind of argument. I’ll start with more world building than last novel, but less than a full work-up. Perhaps I will do more world building as I go, being careful not to let the world building overtake but-in-chair-writing time. “Research” sounds an awful lot like “procrastination” when coming from a writer’s lips.

The one thing that eludes me still in my preparation for the next novel: the title. Titles are a weakness for me. The last novel still doesn’t have a satisfactory, permanent title; the new one, well, I can’t even come up with a decent working title. "WIP #2" just doesn't do it for me.


  1. Welcome back! I hope the trip was good.

    "I am impatient to write the story, but does that override my need to build up my new world? I think it should, that’s my instinct. "

    I would follow your gut, but maybe I say that because I am also a 'dive right into the story and worry about that other stuff later' kind of guy. But it seems to me, if you've got enough in your head that it's practically busting out, then you want to get it out and start writing.

  2. Thanks JeffO!

    I appreciate your chiming in here. It seems a lot of scifi/fantasy writers love to glory in the world building, so I almost feel disloyal-to-my-genre when I just want to get to the story.