Monday, December 03, 2012

Letting Your Brain Babies Go

I started writing my first "real novel" when I was in third grade. My mother had put one of my birthday presents in her closet and forgotten about it. It was a journal. Upon discovering it two months later, she gave it to me.

Thus, it began.

This must have been around the time I was into ERAGON because I determined to write about a dragon. Her name was Diamond and she was black, hence the title BLACK DIAMOND. I dove into it without any real thought, being eight years old. I worked on it periodically now and then and slowly a bit of a plot and other dragon characters started to appear.

Years went by and I started it over about four or five times, never finishing a full draft. The "novel" evolved. Eventually, my story gained human characters.

In seventh grade, I started writing poetry and spending time on the Neopets writer forum. There I learned about NaNoWriMo.

Thus, other things began.

I finished my first draft of THE LULLABY, reveled in this first time accomplishment, then went back to my old story, now entitled RUBIES AND SILVER. I had begun to put at least some thought into my stories by then and the idea occurred to me that I could somehow connect the two novels. Later I, luckily, vetoed this idea.

More time passed and I started rewriting THE LULLABY and contemplating THINKING OF YOU. My friend of old had fallen to the wayside and this worried me. I went to great lengths to revive it, reworking major parts of the story, though keeping the same characters and main conflict. It became ROYALLY BURNED. You may remember me mentioning it.

You may also remember that I've never really, really done anything with it. Sure, I planned out a whole continent and attempted to start drafting, but that's not much, not enough. ROYALLY BURNED doesn't grasp me like my newer stories, doesn't hold the same appeal. I'm essentially beating a dead horse.

But... I'm scared to let go of my very first characters. In a way, I still love them, still smile when I occasionally think about those long-ago-written scenes.

However, it's time to let it go.

And not just ROYALLY BURNED. There are two other ideas I'm shelving, at least for the near future: FOREVER, FROG and AFTER AUSTIN.

You may remember when I started the first draft for FOREVER, FROG and failed miserably. I don't know if I've ever mentioned AFTER AUSTIN in a post, but it's been up on my Projects page. They're intended to be verse companion novels.

There are a few reasons I'm dropping them.

First, as with ROYALLY BURNED, they're just not speaking to me. They haven't in a long time. I never fleshed them out, especially AUSTIN, and that might be the source of it. However, I have too many other stories to focus on at the moment to try.

Second, I don't know if I can write a verse novel. I can write poetry, and I can write novels so I don't see why I couldn't write a combination of them. Something just feels off about it. I normally wouldn't let the challenge stop me, it's always an adventure to step out of your comfort zone, but that's a project I would need to focus all of my attention on, and I just can't do that right now.

Most importantly, I'm not ready to write about these subject matters, mainly child kidnapping/molestation and rape. I don't know why I ever thought I could tackle them. They're too big for me, especially at this stage in my life. I've been thinking perhaps I could work these stories in a different angle, away from these topics, but again, that would take time I don't have right now. Maybe in a year or two.

To make a clean break with these stories, I'm going to go through all of my writing files and find the bits and pieces that relate to them. Then I'm going to buy some grey binders, just as these novels are now displayed in grey on my Projects page, and fill them with those odds and ends. Then I'll put them away, up in my closet, though I may never completely forget about them.

Have you ever had to shelve a project, temporarily or otherwise?


  1. I have a few novels on the go at any time, my quick, fun middle grade books (about zombie dogs and invisible stealth monkeys - those babies pretty much write themselves) and my real love projects. I have a mystery set just after the depression and a pirate story. Both those are very hard work and take a lot of research. They also take a lot out of me. So, I write on one for a while, put it aside and work on another. I prefer to feel fresh about my work and this works for me.

    1. I also like to work on multiple projects at once. Probably because I'm impatient. ;)

      I love the diversity of stories you write. I can tell you go along with your ideas, no matter what genre they are. That's something I appreciate.

  2. I shelved my novel I wrote in August. And, then pulled it out again this week and found a way to incorporate something to make it more interesting. I still don' t think I will attempt to publish it, but I'm not giving up all hope, never know what I can add when I look at again in 6 months.

    1. Ah, hope. It can be an amazing thing, but it can also be a bad thing from time to time. Such as with the story I mentioned.

      Good luck with your story! I hope you do come up with something wonderful.

  3. Isn't it funny how time works? I'm almost 40, but I still have some "story starts" as I call them, from my teen years. Those stories will never be finished but I still love the characters.

    I can also relate to the "I'm not ready to tackle that topic yet. That's probably the main reason I waited so long to start writing again.

    Good luck with your new projects!

    1. "Story starts." Alliteration. I like it.

      I don't know if topics versus my age would keep me from writing nothing. Our writing changes over time so if I wait, I will never be able to write the stories I could have.

  4. Oh yeah. My past is littered with projects I've shelved. I have two manuscripts at 140,000 words that have gone nowhere for years. That's a lot of words to just get somewhere and decide...all of this is utter crap. And move on.

    1. Oh my gosh, Michael! That must have been gut-wrenching to have to do that.

      I'm not putting mine away because I think they're utter crap (because all my writing is utter crap right now, really need to learn how to revise), but because I just can't do anything with them anymore.