Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dueling Ideas

Somebody, I don't remember who (booknapper's hazard), once said, "I never run out of ideas, just time to write."

Currently, I'm knee-deep in writing a YA novel. Yesterday morning, a random image got me thinking about something that happened when I was 13. It doesn't matter what it was. What matters is that I started thinking, "I wonder if kids still do that these days?" Then I started thinking...yadda, yadda, yadda...MG fiction idea--the kind that won't quit flicking little ideas across the brain. You know the kind of ideas: This could happen. Then this could happen. The whole story would show young readers that...

The details don't matter. What matters is that I am knee-deep in a YA novel. And when you're knee-deep, that's when it's hardest to keep going. I am not waist-deep, which would imply half-way. I am further from the end than from the beginning, and when I glance back at the shore where I started, what do I see?

This shiny, new idea that requires half the word count of a YA novel. Possibilities reflecting off of it in every direction. But is it a mirage (aka, procrastination)?

Bloggees, I can't be the only novelist with a short attention span. What do you do when your ideas duel? Do you take time off of your current project and give the other a chance? Or is the only way to finish to ignore those shiny, new ideas and stay faithful to one project at a time? Help a blogger out.


  1. I have a tiny attention span. And a side MG project in the closet :)

    I think when you're knee deep in one novel it starts to become frustrating and almost more of a chore than a fun activity. It's lost its initial shine and glow. Then the new project starts flirting with you, reminding you of how you felt when you get excited about writing. Current project looks boring and tame compared to the new shiny idea.

    You've got two choice: take a break from current project to give attention to shiny new idea (which either makes you fall in with new idea or remember the amazing reasons why you in fell in love with current project) or you ignore shiny idea and throw all your passion into current project.

  2. I gave ya my input. I say let the MG play out on paper (or on your computer) if the ideas are flowing. You can always go back to the YA when you're ready.

    Sometimes starting a new idea gives a well-needed jolt of creative inspiration. :)

    I still want to know what the new idea is though.

  3. I agree--I mean, one project at a time? Do people actually do this?

    I think that seemingly random ideas that pop up at moments when you're not exactly looking for them sometimes end up being the most valuable ones of all, the ones that teach you most about yourself, or about who you want to be as a writer. I say, explore away. :)