Another week has past and with it, time. For this weeks post, I wanted to talk about something that I think is relevant and possibly helpful to those writing. As writers, we are filled with ideas and it is our job to sort them out and put them to paper in a way that people will want to read them and hopefully have some sort of emotional reaction that ends with them liking the work. The problem a lot of writers that I know, myself included, is that the ideas can get jumbled up or out of order. What I mean by that is right now I am writing my fourth novel in The Dragon Riders of Arvain series while also editing book three in the same series. My mind is engrossed in the land of Arvain right now but yesterday a random thought came to my mind. An idea for a new book, if you will. With most ideas, I tend to follow them to see where they lead and if there is anything worth working on. Most of the ideas are cast to the side for later thought or to be ignored completely but this one stuck. I think it is a rather good idea and will be fun to write. Within about thirty minutes I had a plot, a setting, a theme, and characters. I had the most basic of storyboards in my head for how the book would go. All this is great and I could really get into the story, I already have to some extent, but the problem is I am in the middle of another project right now. What do I do?
This is something that I have seen happen to a lot of my friends and fellow writers. They will bring me chapters of their work to read and go over and then about a month or two later they will bring me more but it will be an entirely different story. I will ask what happened to the last story I was reading and they will shrug it off and say something to the effect of they had a new idea and wanted to follow it.
I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer that can be said to every situation. As I stated above most of my ideas are garbage in my mind so I don’t follow through with them but the ones I like I do. Now, I am working on The Dragon Riders of Arvain and that is where my focus will stay until the series is finished. Mainly because I love the world but also because I hate it when I have been waiting years for a new book to come out and the author is messing around writing random stand-alone novels. Not cool authors, not cool. So what do I do with all these ideas? I do what any writer does and I write them down. I have dozens of notebooks in my office filled with ideas. The idea for the story I got yesterday I wrote down and I wrote a few pages of ideas for it. While the iron is hot you strike. Once I was finished I moved back to Arvain and continued on. Sometimes the ideas stay on a page or two while others have twenty or thirty pages of ideas for one story. Once TDRA is finished I will go through the notebooks and see what I want to write next.
Don’t push aside great ideas for your current work but you need to listen to your heart and to your readers. I love Arvain and so do my readers. So I will continue working on it until it is done. But I am not locking my self away from good ideas for future novels. Good luck out there, keep your pencils shard and notebooks handy.