Over at la maison de Ellen and Megan (my roommate) we lost our internet connection, which caused me to lose the blog I’d been working on. UGH. Let me try to sum up here again:
First, backing up writing is paramount. Yes. I usually back up my work religiously to two external hard drives and even a thumb drive or two but mostly that’s for easy transport.
So the question I was talking about was, how do you know when it’s time to chose an idea that you will commit to writing about for months, possibly years? When I wrote my first two books I didn’t think about this too much. The stories just chose me. But now, I have a lot more on my mind. Who’s going to enjoy this story? What will a publisher think of it? Who will they think they can sell it to? Will they think it’s marketable? Now, I probably would end up writing the same story with or without these thoughts, but they are valid concerns and a writer should at least think about what their goals are for their story and where they hope it will end up. For me, I’d like my story to live not just on my external hard drives but in book form on bookstore racks and possibly, on other people’s bookshelves.
I actually resisted writing this story as a novel for some time. When the first spark of an idea came to me I tried to write it as a screenplay. Then when I came up with my main character I tried to write a one-act play. After that, I tried to work with my brother on a script with similarities to this story but with all adult characters (my story features a twelve-year-old). But with my brother across the country from me and enrolled in school, we just couldn’t be the writing pair that we may one day become. Also, my one-act play went nowhere. Shortly thereafter, I sat down and began to write the first chapter of what I knew then would be my next novel project.
So I guess it’s unavoidable, writing books. When they come to you, you can try to circumvent them, get the stories out in other ways, but if it’s meant to be a book, then that’s what it’s going to be. I did, however, spend time thinking about the purpose of this story and I became comfortable with the notion that I was writing a slightly futuristic, sci-fi story about suburban life and the “real world” that exists in its shadows. I also realized that I could see a younger audience enjoying this story but I’m planning on writing it as adult as I feel like. What I didn’t realize then is just how important the setting would become. What I did know was what would happen in the first chapter, even if I ended up rewriting it eight or so times- the main action never changed- and also I knew that my main character was going to be a female lead this time, but my kind of female lead, and I guess that was all I needed to get started.