After working on my vampire series for a little more than three years now, I am still only about 60% done with the first book in the series. The story is done, but it still needs a good amount of editing before it is anywhere near ready for publishing. The second book is only half written and I have about a quarter of the third book written. But after all this time, I’m starting to feel like I might have missed the window of opportunity where this series was relevant.
With the frenzy generated by the Twilight saga now over, are readers over the latest
vampire fad? The thing with fads, you need to catch the wave at just the right time or you’re sunk. Did I miss my wave? Or is it possible that if I work hard to get these books written, edited and published, that I will be just in time to hop on at the start of the next wave? Or even be the catalyst that creates the next wave? Which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, because I don’t want my series being viewed through the Twilight microscope.
I also have to consider the fact that this is not a classic series. It is not something that will stand the test of time. So when the time comes that I am ready to finally publish, I have to make sure that references to technology are up to date so that it doesn’t feel old when it is hot off the press. I need to make sure that the story is still relevant.
Then there is my other series. A coming of age series that compares growing up with one of nature’s transformation processes; think along the lines of the ugly ducky becomes
swan, only I’m not writing about a “swan”. The idea for this was conceived long before the vampire series but for some reason I had difficulty getting started. This series is much more classic, focusing more on experiences and feelings that readers of any generation should be able to relate to in some form or fashion. A month or two ago, ideas for the series were beginning to become something of a whisper in the wind. Now, they are practically screaming at me, thundering in my head so loud that I can’t ignore them. Whether I like it or not, my focus has now shifted to this series.
I’m following the advice I have heard time and again and just getting the writing done, whatever it may be. Instead of fighting to stay focused on the vampire series, I am doing the work for which inspiration has struck. So many times, we look to our muses for inspiration, so how can I ignore it when it comes just because it wasn’t quite the inspiration I was looking for?
My fear with all of this jumping around is that I will never complete a project. How many novels will I start but never finish? How many will I write that are left unpublished due to lack of editing and polishing?
Last Friday, was my deadline; time for me to submit my novel for a peer review so that I can get some feedback on what I’m doing right and what I need to work on. It is the first time I have done something like this and it is both frightening and a relief. The plan was to stop writing for a bit, read a novel written by a fellow author to provide my own critique and to catch up on my reading list so that I don’t fall behind on my reading goal for 2013. But as anyone who has been paying attention knows, plans and I don’t mix well.
A series that I had attempted to write several years ago, even before my first foray into NaNoWriMo, has been gnawing at me lately. It first started just before this year’s NaNoWriMo but I put the thought aside to focus on my NaNo project. These last few weeks though, it has been difficult to ignore. “You’ve ignored me long enough,” it says. “I’ve waited quietly and patiently while you began your new series, but it is my time now,” it insists. “Write me before you forget!” it pleads. Refusing to be ignored any longer, it has been increasingly persistent, getting louder and louder each time and so, I can no longer push it aside. I must give in to the story before it consumes me and I can think of absolutely nothing else.
Yes, I know how that sounds. And no, I’m not certifiably crazy; no need to call for the padded wagons, I don’t actually hear voices in my head. But, if there is one thing I have learned over the last several months, it is that there are plenty of people out there who understand exactly what I am talking about. Any author that has tried to ignore a story knows that you can only do so for so long before you are compelled to write it.
Thus, began my latest project, book one of The Butterfly Stages, a four to five book series that is a coming of age story for young adults. It will follow one girl’s journey from her last days of eighth grade to high school and finally until she reaches adulthood. It is completely different from The Eye of the Vampire series that I have been working on for the last three or four years and it is for this reason, that I have been thinking about the use of pen names (See last week’s blog). I’m still not sure where I stand on that, but my projects take me from one genre to the next pretty frequently so either I need to use a pen name to distinguish the different genres or I will need to do one hell of a job of marketing my novels to the right audiences. This is where an agent and a publicist would come in handy, but I have neither of those at the moment.
For now, it looks like the new plan is to keep reading (always keep reading) and work on this new series until I get some feedback on Lila’s Choice. I’m pretty sure that even after I get feedback, I won’t immediately begin editing. Knowing myself, I will beat myself up for any shortcomings that are pointed out and not want to touch it for a while. Eventually, I will pull up my big girl panties and get back to work, keeping the feedback in mind, but in the meantime, it’s time to set the stage.