“Why?” I muttered to myself, sinking my head down on a metaphorical pair of dejected arms. “I already have so many… why another?”
Yep. Bill and I are planning a series of five (for those of you who don’t understand the reference, see: Early Stages of a Novel – A Love Story), The Queen’s Assassin demands both a prequel and a sequel and STILL… AFTER ALL THAT… I HAVE A NEW IDEA.
I would like to address three things in this post: When new ideas are bad, when new ideas are precious, and from whence they come.
First: New ideas are a pain in the neck when you already have a shiny pile of new ideas. It’s a little like being given a new book to read when your to-be-read stack is threatening to take over your room. *cough* me *cough*. They are beautiful and enticing and you want to drop everything to go play with them, but then you remember just how much you love your other darlings and you are filled with conflict.
Second: New ideas can be few and far in between, and I am not always as flush with them as I find myself today. I actually remember a time about thirty thousand words into The Queen’s Assassin when I had a very concerned conversation with my mother. “What if this is the last story idea I ever have? What if this is the pinnacle of my writing career and there will be nothing left in the well when I’m finished? Usually, at this stage, I have three other story ideas vying for attention, but this story… nothing.” “Don’t worry, honey,” she said with a confidence I didn’t understand. “I’m sure you’ll think of something before you finish.” She was right, of course, but I think The Queen’s Assassin was so big, and long, and beautiful that it really just took up all of the real-estate in my brain. It was only after I had the end in sight, really understood what the story was, that subconscious threw a rave and invited a bunch of new ideas over to party like it was the end of the world. They’ve been waking up over the last six months, stumbling into the light of my consciousness and peering up at me with a confused, “How did I get here?”
Third: Where ideas come from. Well, when a mommy idea and a daddy idea love each other very much… *ahem* I was surprised when attending a Brandon Sanderson book signing at The Tattered Cover in Denver, Colorado to hear his answer to the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” I was surprised because it so closely resembled my own writing process. Here was a BonaFide Author (C) saying that he took an idea, played with it, said ‘what if,’ and asked how he could take it and make it better.
So, maybe I was watching Mission Impossible III after having finished reading Les Parisiennes, by Anne Sebba and I started thinking Hey, maybe someone should write a story from the perspective of the damsel in distress. Maybe she shouldn’t be a secret spy or have martial-arts training. Maybe she really is just terrified. Maybe she’ll be like the brave women who joined the Resistance because there was no other choice but to resist evil when it threatened them in their home. What if the damsel in distress has to save the day when the hero shows up to rescue her?
Two pages of a word document later (with inventive names for my protagonist and her husband like Protagonist and Husband), I had a solid bit of structuring for a novel. Sure, the drawings need things like plumbing and electricity, but it could be a livable little building with a little more labor.
But I like to think in lines. I have five books of Bill, three books in my Assassin world, and then… well… maybe I can cross that line and go back to my roots and write an old-fashioned action/adventure/espionage novel. I may or may not title it Protocol 208.