Back in April, I blogged about the strange feeling of dread and nerves I was experiencing when I thought about writing, in When Writing is the Cause of and the Solution to Anxiety It took me a while to work out that the reason my stomach kept taking a nose dive was my writing. There was, however, a huge sense of relief when I finished the first draft of what will be The Boy With The Thorn In His Side- Part 3. I discussed this in First Draft Relief as The Voices Fall Silent. After that first draft, everything calmed down. The voices from this particular story shut up and while that did allow the next lot of characters to pipe up, I felt a lot better. My nervous stomach went away and I almost forgot about it.
About a week ago, something very annoying happened. I got an idea for a new book. I really, really didn’t want this to happen. It actually makes me feel physically sick to even think about it!
And this is why;
- at the moment I am trying to decide whether or not to release Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature as it is, probably in September. Although, as I talked about in my last blog post, How Do You Know When It’s Time To Quit?, I am also considering another edit and possible rewrite. I change my mind about this on a daily basis. I am listening to all the advice I’ve received in feedback from publishers and from beta readers and anyone else who has commented, but I do still feel that the story is the way I intended it to be…so as you can tell, this book which has been two years in progress, is still plaguing my thoughts…
- I have A Song For Bill Robinson and Emily’s Baby both written. Both need further edits and both need feedback from beta readers to move forward. But at the moment, both books are just sat there doing nothing, while I feel the constant gnaw of guilt and unease about the fact nothing is happening…
- Currently, I am working on The Boy With The Thorn In His Side series. As explained in older posts, the original book and its sequel This Is The Day have been reworked into a series of four books which will be left open for the option of a fifth. Parts 1 and 2 just needed tweaking, while part 3 is entirely new, and part 4 is a reworked version of This Is The Day to tie in with the events of part 3…Tired yet? I am! Parts 1 and 2 are finished and awaiting frot covers and formatting for ebook and paperback. I have just finished the 4th draft of Part 3 on my Kindle and will soon dive into the 5th draft before I ask my beta readers to read it. I am working on Part 4 right now, and don’t think it will take more than a week or so, as only a few bits need changing. There is some relief with this series, but already a few ideas have crept in for a potential book 5…
- The Day The Earth Turned, a 4 book YA series has been waiting for its turn for a good year or so now. I’ve plotted it, devised characters, and written short stories to keep it at bay. I’ve even dived into writing it and got as far as chapter 7. Once I have finished messing around with The Boy series, this series will be the next new, fresh thing I work on. That could be as soon as a few weeks time!! Exciting!! But those voices are getting louder and louder…
- There are also sequels half written and neglected for The Mess Of Me and The Tree Of Rebels, but these will have to wait even longer now thanks to this bolshy new idea marching into my head last week!
- I’m not going to tell you too much about the book so far, only tease you by admitting it’s been somewhat inspired by watching Breaking bad and Supernatural! Weird, I know, but the writer’s mind works in very strange ways. I didn’t want a new book idea. You can see how much I have going on, plus if you check out my upcoming books page, there are other books in the pipeline I’ve not even mentioned in this blog post. They will just get pushed back too as this new idea is a very insistent one.
So, with the new and unwanted book idea came new voices, names, characters, lives, homes, friends, lovers, backstories and shit loads of dialogue. They just don’t shut up! They are living and breathing and growing and evolving each and every day. Everything I do, everywhere I go, they are there too, demanding to be born, urging to be moulded and shaped into something real and living. I already know far more about these new characters than I wanted to. I’ve tried to ignore them and it’s not worked at all. They are just there!! They are just so alive.
And obviously, the nose diving stomach is back. In a bad way. Like I’ve said before, it’s a lot like the feeling you get before an exam. My stomach lurches and twists and tightens. Sometimes out of the blue, for no reason. Other times, it’s because something to do with one of the books has popped into my head.
So I now know for sure that this anxious feeling is connected to book ideas…
So what to do about it? Other than try not to panic? And try not to die before I get all these books written and out of me?
I’ve done two things that have helped already, and one is something I’ve done before with other novels in waiting. I wrote a short story which I will include in a future newsletter for those of you subscribed to get a very, very early glimpse of this new book idea of mine. That eased things a bit.
And I’ve done something new. I’ve started a diary here on my blog, which will remain unpublished for now. It’s a diary of a novel from the first (in my case, unwanted) seed of an idea, to the finished product available to buy. I thought this would be really interesting to look back on once it’s all done!
So I write an entry when something has moved on with the novel idea. The first few entries contain notes about the original idea and the last few I wrote include possible names for the characters and more details on their lives and conflicts…
I hope this will be an interesting and cathartic process for me, plus I will have all the notes safe and sound in one place for when I start writing it!
Just one more thing to mention! This new idea? It is somewhat connected to The Boy With The Thorn In His Side series, in that some of the characters will appear in the others’ books…!!
5 thoughts on “The Return of the Voices (and the Nervous Stomach)”
I can understand how this can happen. So many ideas swirling about and an accompanying dread.
Unless one is a supreme egotist (and thus a very unpleasant or difficult person) it seems to me every writer will suffer one of two broad types of attack:
1. Can I do ‘it’ this time?
2. What Is The Point Of It All!
These are because normal folk are prone to doubt and uncertainty.
Looking at the matter from the writer’s point of view. Unless a cynical hack, a writer puts their proverbial heart and soul into their work, crafting worlds, bringing characters into life, as it were and then putting a believable and compelling narrative together. It is a great deal of hard work, the writer goes into many varied places and circumstances to bring forth the story onto the page, maybe ones they would rather not go normally, and yet are compelled by their urge and love to write.
Although personally not familiar with your work, I just had to visit the Amazon page, and having read through am very impressed with your output, work ethic and dare I say inventive courage in the way you tackle these themes. Folk are obviously getting a great deal from your works.
Your idea for how to tackle the nerves/the dreads/ and the accompanying other sensations sound a wise and solid approach.
I wish you all the best.
(PS I work on the basis that my fantasy characters are actually real people who have reached me from another world and are telling me their stories; they are very persistent as well, dragging me into places I did not intend to go!)
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Thank you Roger for such kind and helpful comments! Thanks too for taking a look at my Amazon page! I agree with everything you’ve said here. I hadn’t quite thought about it that way either, that getting into the minds of these characters and having to go to places that are not always pleasant, is probably a little hard on the writer’s nerves! I think we feel what they feel. I love how you have described your fantasy characters too, reaching you from another world! I totally understand how they end up dragging you to places you did not intend to go to!
I totally know where you are coming from, not to mention “Will I get all the novels written before I die?” part! I love Supernatural! Watching the latest release on Netflix now! Yay! Have an awesome day! Koko 🙂
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Thanks Koko! I know, it’s so good! I only got into it recently. My daughter had been bugging me for years to watch it. I’ve just started Season 8, so a lot to catch up with!!