The Next One

In a matter of weeks, I will finally conclude the first draft of my novel. I feel excited, nervous and sad. The novel defined 2013. Here’s hoping the second draft will mould the year ahead. And when I write that final word of the first draft, I will put it away, out of thought, for a month. Then what? A space will open. How should I shape it. What will be its fill? Of course, there will be blog posts and reading, and, perhaps a vacuum, a soft receptivity, for new ideas…

Ideas. Ideas. Another story. Another eighty thousand words. A new adventure. This is how I will use my empty time, to feed the embryos in my notebook; my pen, the umbilical stretch between head and paper. There are two seeds, and I like both equally.

Firstly,  a tale about a psychotherapist who suffers from ME, and has lost her husband.

Secondly, a dystopian fantasy derived from a highly lucid dream a week ago, one of those dreams that interrupted break fast and the morning chores, wouldn’t shake itself away; the more I excavated its channels, raking out the clay, the more I discovered the kernels of a narrative, and a strong female lead. Because this idea is new born, so fresh, so fragile, I’m keeping my cards close to my chest. What I will share is the dream, its exclamation mark, the part that stuck…

I’m in an elevator descending into the earth’s depths. Deep, deep and deeper. The door opens, and I walk into a room with guards. Is this a prison? There are other people, mainly women. They are here because it is over populated above, because they all suffer mental health problems…

I keep a dream diary. Maybe I should reread its pages for inspiration.

And here’s a conundrum, how will I know which story to write first?

Have you written a story from a dream?
Do you have several ideas on the go?
How do you chose which one to write first?

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14 responses

  1. To answer your conundrum just sit and play with both. Spend a day on each, writing, exploring, gazing out the window (but really looking deep within and following those threads). I keep a folder of all the ideas that occur to me. Some are potential first lines of an unknown novel, some are titles, some are concepts, and some are a whole page of treatment of a concept. They come from all kinds of sources (even dreams!) and sometimes I don’t have time to play with them but other times I dedicate an hour or two to just seeing what I can do with it.

    And by the way, how exciting to be almost finished!! xx

    • That sounds like a very good plan to me. I find my ideas come in crazy spurts. I like that you keep a folder for new ideas, I think I should do the same. And it is exciting that I have nearly finished, and then I can really get to work on the story. X

  2. Congratulations on getting to the end of your first draft. I’m so impressed, I think it takes real discipline and dedication. So glad to hear that you have new ideas in the pipeline too. Can’t wait to hear more.

    I have a couple of ideas on the go ( not currently being written but being mulled over.) I much prefer the bones of my second idea, but friends I have told about both all say they’d rather read the first. It’s a conundrum, but I think when I get the time I’ll still write the one I favour most.

    • Thank you very much… it’s been a long stretch, could have had it written a lot sooner though. Because I was less disciplined to begin with, it took much longer to write in the end, and it wasn’t until I was a third of the way through and I began goal setting, that I started to get the job done. I agree with you, write the story you feel the greatest pull towards.

  3. How wonderful, both that you are close to finishing the first draft and already thinking about your next book!
    I would have a go at both stories, see which one grabs you more and how the words flow.
    I have decided to re-write half of my book… As you know, there are two separate stories and one is just not working for my anymore – which is why I think I never managed to complete the editing!
    Let’s see… xx

    • Thank you, yes exciting, but I don’t want to run ahead of myself… I need to get the first draft finished first. And that is a good idea, try writing both, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I am going to end up writing the one I am drawn to in the planning phase. And your decision to rewrite half your book is probably a very good one… you’ll end up with something far more spectacular. X

  4. Wow, go you! I can’t imagine what it must be like to finish a book. Like finishing a marathon I suppose. What an achievement, well done. Weirdly I was reading a blog post on when to take breaks and the author said the one time not to take a break was at the end of a project.

    http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2014/02/taking-breaks/

    Your story about the women at the centre of the earth sounds really exciting. Couldn’t the psychotherapist be there too? Combine them? I am sure what you need to work on will emerge as you begin to play around with your ideas.

    Thanks for linking up x

    • The link was interesting, but I must admit it didn’t resonate with me. I agree with Stephen King, and other writers, that after the completion of a first draft, it’s a good idea to sit on it for several weeks (Stephen King actually says six weeks) so that it creates a healthy detachment, and when you return, you return in a much more insightful, editors mode; you’ll be able to see the story more clearly, know the irrelevant stuff, kill your darlings etc.

      My first idea is actually a lot more complex than it sounds, especially what happens to her, I just didn’t want to give too much of my ideas away, and the second idea, I can already assure you, has psychotherapits aplenty…. so great suggestion on your part. X

  5. Well done on finishing the first draft! I would love to be at that point but am miles off! Your two next ideas both sound interesting so I’d just follow your gut instinct on that.

    I currently have two book ideas and have chosen to go with one because it is my first attempt at a novel and it feels like an easier one to cut my teeth on. I sort of prefer the other idea so figure i will gets lots of experience writing this one before I attempt the one I prefer. Not sure how much sense that makes!

    I like your idea of keeping a dream diary – maybe I should do the same as I have some very vivid dreams. I’d never thought of using one in a book though… interesting…
    #writingwarriors

    • Well I am nearly there, but thank you very much anyway! I am pretty excited about both my two new ideas, and looking forward to digging my fingers in. And you are right, gut instinct is the right one to follow. I also like your approach, cutting your teeth on one you feel is ‘easier’ to write in some way. Keeping a dream diary, and a general writing note book is a good idea I find, as you then have a source of inspiration.

  6. It’s so good to see you progressing, the book, the draft, the sites all getting a face lift. All wheels in motion that will carry you on. Your dreams can be the petrol!
    Ok, so that last bit sounded weird…. but hopefully you know what I mean x

    • Thank you very much…. I’ve been a bit busy these last few weeks or so with all my blogs, and feel very chuffed with all the new designs.

      No, not weird, know exactly what you mean… dreams are defo the petrol. X

  7. That dystopian story sounds very intriguing….just start it and see where it takes you. Then you can start to structure it. I have written quite a few books but its all a bit anti-climactic when you finish an MS isn’t it? Right now I am concentrating on my art….as soon as I finish one piece I can go onto the next one I don’t have to sit down and flesh out plot, character etc etc.

    • The dystopian story is the one with the greatest pull at the moment, so I may well begin writing that one… Anticlimactic; yes! I guess there is a lot more fluidity when creating art, as you say, you don’t need to sit down and flesh out plot etc. Thank you for commenting!

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