I don't know whether it's a change in the weather (cool again after a couple of HOT days and nights), the dream I had last night where my life was a musical (which was FUN, not sure what that says about me) or just the compounding effects of two weeks off but I woke up this morning thinking "you know, let's treat this too many ideas, too little time thing sensibly and just work out what the heck is best from a career point of view".
Hardly an earth shattering idea but it helps. And I'm going to write down my thought process here so I can come back to it...so if you don't want to read something potentially long and not that interesting if you're not a writer in my current position, go pick a blog from my links and read that instead : )
Still here? Okay, you were warned.
Anyway. I don't suffer from a lack of ideas. I have plenty of ideas as anyone who reads this blog will know. What I have been suffering from the last few months, apart from just a bone-deep need for a break from all forms of work (which includes writing), is unsettledness (if there is such a thing). A bit of a roller coaster year in terms of lots of cool stuff happening but not the ultimate cool thing (aka a sale that would then give me a need to put most of my focus into one genre intially) and also the realisation that I'm definitely a writer who writes more than one genre and needs to do so to be happy. When everything feels a bit up in the air and the muse is throwing ideas up fairly regularly and your brain is a bit fried, it's hard to see things clearly. Add in a virgo brain that likes plans and settledness plus day job craziness and the result is one broken brain.
But this morning, the fog seems to have lifted. So I sat down and tried to look at my choices the same way I'd look at them if someone else came to me saying "Help".
I write contemporary romance and I write fantasy with, at this point, a strong inclination towards urban fantasy. I've done well with both genres in terms of contests and requests etc so signs are I can do both and I enjoy writing both. In fact, because my fantasy stuff tends to be a bit darker (and that's the other realisation I had to come to this year, that yes, I have a witty, snarky voice but that doesn't mean my stories are light), I need the contemps as balance.
On the contemporary side of things, I have two requested partials with two different lines and I have a current wip that isn't quite gelling yet. The reality is I'm more likely to have to revise something if I get a full request from either line, so the need for the next brand new contemp is less pressing. So I guess the contemp wip becomes a "noodle book" aka to be worked on for fun/when quota on the priority project is reached for the day. As does the ST contemp idea.
On the fantasy side, well, Wolf is out there. It would've been nice if it had sold in record time but it hasn't so we're in the 'the wheels of publishing move slowly' process. Reality is, it may not sell (knock wood, salt thrown over shoulder, chocolate to Letitsuk that this is not the case), which begs the question "what's next". The other reality with Wolf is that, in my head, it's not an open ended series. It has a finishing point. Which means if it sells, there's still the "what's next" to be answered.
And the best answer, career-wise as far as I can tell without psychic powers, for 'what's next' would be another UF, preferably a series again. Which makes the question - what's the next UF idea? (And means the other more straight fantasy books also are moved into noodle status - see we're narrowing down the list already.)
At this stage there are two main contenders. Let's call them the Witch book and the Other book.
Witch book pros - it's definitely longer than one book, I know the gist of the first book - including the ending, I know the hero and heroine quite well. I also know what the crunch is, what the thing that interests me to write about is.
Witch book cons - I wrote the first bits of book one a while ago, so I'm sure it'll be slash and burn time.
Other book pros - killer first scene, interesting mythology.
Other book cons - it feels a bit stand-alone at this point, I'm kind of vague on the big bad and the details of the hero/heroine, no real crunch yet.
Given I have a goal of wanting an UF series, then it would seem that the Witch idea is the winner.
In terms of is this the priority project, there's another consideration (I told you this was long and complicated and if it's making your head hurt then this is what it's been like in my brain for a while but with added indecision and dithering and less sense).
When/if Wolf sells, hopefully they'll want the follow ups. The first draft of Wolf 2 is written and has had a first pass revision but needs further revising. Wolf 3 exists in only a few snippets but I know how it starts, what has to happen and how it ends, which makes me think it's all there buried in my writer brain and the girls (crossed fingers) would fork it up when they need to. There's also the potential for things to change in both 1 & 2 if they sold, which would have consequences and mean rewrites. For now, that means, that I want to put more effort into having a draft of another UF project.
Which gives me the following:
Priority 1 project: Witch 1
Priority 2 projects: Progressing Wolf 3, another pass at Wolf 2
Noodle projects: Everything else
Ladies and gentleman...a plan! * Now I just have to go away and think about how that translates to specific goals. I suspect it will be something like x pages per month on Witch, something done on the Wolf stuff each month and only if I want to and have done the other stuff for everything else but we shall see. Man, my head feels a lot calmer! Yippee!
*Management reserves the right to change said plan to respond to events as they arise : )