Remember the Police song Too Much Information?
“Too much information running through my brain
Too much information driving me insane”
That, in a nutshell (pun intended) is the inside of my head.
But it’s not information. It’s stories, plots, characters, dialogue, action scenes, plot twists…ideas for stories I want to write.
All of you who are writers are nodding your heads in sympathy. All of you who don’t write are thinking, “Well, why don’t you just write them? Problem solved!”
For anyone who hasn’t talked to me for longer than five minutes in the past two years, my current WIP (work in progress) is a vampire novel.
Save me the heavy sighs. My vampire doesn’t sparkle in the sunlight like a piece of fool’s gold. My vampire has humanity problems–has he got too much or not enough?–and his best friend is a werewolf. They’re both attracted to a woman who doesn’t want to be a vampire OR a werewolf, but might end up being both. Or being dead.
Did I mention it’s funny? Twice now I’ve tried to write serious stories, one mystery and one postapocalyptic SF, with no humor. With the mystery it spiraled into misery until I was ready to drive off a cliff, and the SF got so bad that I had to lock myself in the bathroom to cry. I take that as a sign I shouldn’t try to repress my humor. In this psyche, laughter equals sanity.
But my head is still going to explode.
The vampire novel is about to undergo it’s final (ish) revision. I hope. Which will make it sellable in the vampire-sodden market. I hope.
But I still want to write the mystery. I’ve got the who, the why, the how. I’ve got red herrings. I’ve got some biting social commentary. I’ve got clues, and amateur and unwilling sleuth, charming children to complicate matters and a love interest.
The post-apocalyptic novel? Giving in to popular demand (and perhaps a bit of common sense), it won’t be a black comedy about a troop of girls caught camping when the Big One happens, from the point of view of their troop leader. No, it’s morphing into a YA novel, written from the girls’ point of view. But please don’t call it Girl Scouts of the Apocalypse, because I’m a Girl Scout leader and I would prefer it if the national organization didn’t have reason to sue my mom jeans off for using the phrase “Girl Scouts.”
Then there’s a fantasy novel that I’m not talking about, except to compare it to The Time Travelers Wife, which it is nothing like. Would that make it soft fantasy? Literary fantasy? I don’t know what to call it, but at odd moments during the day (sitting at stoplights, folding laundry) great huge scenes of it unspool in my head. So I have to write it or give up any pretensions at sanity.
The vampire novel? Intended to be the first in a series. I already know how the next book starts.
Then there’s the magical realism novel (think Angela Carter or Alice Hoffman) story about a woman whose past is getting ready to ambush her. This one has the vaguest plotline, in my mind, but I still have random scenes popping into my head that I think would be perfect.
And buried in the recesses of my backbrain (and a corner under my desk) is a fantasy novel, my first novel, that just might be worth hauling out and revising one of these days. Like when I clone myself three or four times and run out of other ideas to write and laundry to do.
The problem is this: I’m a linear writer. I generally work on one project at a time, and I write from start to finish. I can’t write scenes if I don’t have any idea where they’ll go. My brain just doesn’t bend that way. I have to change this and find a way to work on more than one project at a time. Or my brain will explode.
As an experiment with this blog, I have two questions to ask my readers. You can answer either, neither or both.
How do you work on two brain-sucking (in a good way) projects at the same time?
If you need to call an organization of girls something besides Girl Scouts, what would you call them?
If I get more than 25 responses, total, I will award a prize for the best one. “Best” being totally subjective, of course. I don’t always value practicality over humor.