Sometimes I feel as though I am writing and taking notes for two books at once.
First I have the middle grade fantasy book with a youthful voice and whimsical prose. It’s inspired by all the writing that makes me smile. Books like Harry Potter, The Peculiar and The Last Dragonslayer.
Then I have the young adult fantasy book that’s dark and realistic. It’s inspired by things like the movie Chronicle and Jim Butcher novels. It brings everything down to earth and makes it real and tactile.
Unfortunately these are the same book. It doesn’t help that I get deeply inspired by anything I read or watch. I see some little tidbit and I get all excited and say to myself, “I want to write that.” It influences my stories in ways that change my plot and blossom new ideas, twists and turns. I get overly excited about something so much so that before I ask whether or not I should change the theme of my book I’ve already created three notecards full of dialogue in Scrivner.
I have a serious problem.
What is wrong with me.
Why can’t I just stick to writing it the way I started it.
Just the other day I had put my foot down and decided that the novel I’m currently working on was going to be middle grade fantasy. I was set. I was thrilled. I had accepted my audience and genre. The voice worked for it and it felt right. Then last night I watch a movie and I get all sorts of ideas.
Then I get back to my computer and I realize that doing these ideas will change everything.
Then I tell Cathy about the changes I feel like making that are completely different from what I’ve been talking about for the past month.
Then I get defensive.
I think this is when it’s important to point out that at some moment while writing your novel you need to decide what you want it to be. Horrible I know, but you really have to put your foot down and say, “I want my book to be this!” And be okay with it. And be proud of it. And stop screwing with it.
And stop making excuses for screwing with it.
This is where a notebook comes in handy. If you see something you love and if you get an idea for something new you can always put it into a book later on down the road. If you keep making changes to your current book you’ll never finish the thing and you’ll never be happy with it. If you get to the end and decide it needs to be something different at least you’ll have finished something.
Or at least you’ll be able to have a book shaped thing to work with.