The Novel Carousel


(Alternately titled: inspiration is fickle.)

Some writers have their one novel, their magnum opus, the one they've been working on since they could hold a pen. Some writers finish a novel, then move on to another one.

And then there's me.


I used to have only one novel at a time (which I would quickly abandon, but that's another story; pun intended). Then, for whatever reason, I got buried in all of the story ideas. (See above picture for reference.)

I wrote my 2011 fantasy novel, Silver Tears. Then it got a loosely-connected prequel novel. Then a loosely-connected prequel-prequel. Then a sequel to the prequel. Then it got about 5,000 other connected novels. And this was only the beginning.

I soon branched out from fantasy to sci-fi and contemporary. At the same time, my random short-story-turned-trilogy, the Because I'm Irish series, was flourishing and turning into three books. I had ideas for stand-alones. I had ideas for several series. I had ideas for flat-out SAGAS. 

This trend has continued. I have 96 boards on Pinterest, and approximately 45 of them are some sort of novel idea. (Yes, I just counted.) Some of them are finished, one of them has been rewritten, and some of them fizzled out almost as quickly as they began. 

The problem with having so many novels is that my brain is constantly at a toss-up as to which one it's going to focus on. I go through phases of inspiration where one novel is constantly on my mind. Can I predict it? Nope. Can I stop it? Nope. Can I write another novel when my mind is on another? Also a pretty big nope. 

This is a phenomenon... a phenomenon that I'm going to dub THE NOVEL CAROUSEL.


Instead of horses, my novel carousel contains ... my novels. It moves at its own will and in its own time. It's probably accompanied by that creepily-cheery music. (Actually, I desperately hope not.) And the most important thing is, it's almost always moving, taking my novels with it on a joyride (and me along with them). The novel carousel can be triggered by anything--a picture, a movie, a song--anything that reminds me of one of my novels. If the novel carousel lands on a novel, I get ridiculously inspired for it, and I almost have to write it.

In other words, inspiration is fickle. Example #1 of many: For my post on the blog this week, I was going to write about my current WIP, Evanescent Fireworks. But then I remembered that last week, my WIP was Here Comes the Sun. And before that, it was Spaceboy.

So, I'm not going to even try to pretend that I know what I'm doing. Here's the thing... YES, motivation and sticking to one project is so, so important. I definitely have stuck to one project, and I definitely will again. But currently, I'm stressed out and trying to give myself a little break. As per my New Year's goals, I'm trying to let myself write what I want when I want to write it. So, I'm just going to, um, sit back, and... enjoy the ride? Let the carousel spin as it may.


Do you have a novel carousel?

Comments

  1. Oh, poor you! *hands you tea*

    I don't have a novel carousel too particularly much. I actually like working on 2-5 story ideas at the same time, so if I get stuck on one I can always just switch my focus to another and come back to it later. I actually have 4 right now. But more than 5.....eek! That sounds too overwhelming.

    I don't think I've checked out your Pinterest before; I'll have to give it a look! I absolutely love looking at other writers' storyboards; it's super interesting.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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  2. Oh goodness, my novel carousel is going full-speed ahead. I'm trying to edit my novel right now, but with that comes a million other book ideas and characters that I'm quite inspired to write. It's insane.

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  3. Wow. First I love the carousel metaphor. Second, I simultaneously feel a little bad for you and jealous! In a way I'm similar, I have what feels like a million novel ideas bouncing around my head constantly and one will get stuck forefront and demand my attention, I've just gotten good at beating it back to focus on one thing. I've always been that way, having to just super focus on one thing and ignore everything else.
    But I LOVE the sound of just bouncing around from one thing to the next, which ever one causes you inspiration. I mean, I can definitely see how it could get annoying also and maybe not overly productive, but I love the sound of it. I've seen your Pinterest before but I didn't realize you had so many novel boards, I must go stalk you now as I'm horrible at using Pinterest for anything but recipes but I love seeing others novel inspired ones! Good luck with your carousal, I'm happy for you for being so inspired by everything even if it's maybe giving you whiplash. =)

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  4. I LOVE THIS. I completely understand, and at times, I do this too. Novel Carousel. I just hits me: this desire to write one of the 'other' ideas in my head. Then I feel guilty for my supposed current WIP, & then I don't write anything.

    But yes, I love this concept. Maybe I just need to hop on and enjoy the ride too. (Minus the creepy music. No thank you.)

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  5. I love the idea of a novel carousel my writing could be summed up like that as well.

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  6. The novel carousel! That's a perfect way of putting it!! I struggle with this, too. I TRY to finish a project before going to the next, but sometimes it's reeeally hard. I also never revise anything. I have a ton of first drafts but no polished novels because I just can't wait any longer to go write the next story. Most of my books also are starts of humongous series, I basically never write stand-alones. Except I never get around to writing anything past the first book of a series. The struggle is real!

    I think it's great you're giving yourself some time to just write what you want when you want to for a while. Sometimes I forget I write because I WANT to not because I HAVE to. I turn it into a chore, which is ridiculous. I started writing because I love it! I think it's important to have a breather and remember why we enjoy writing. To just let the creative juices flow where they will.

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  7. I feel this post on a spiritual level, oh my goodness! Thank you so much for putting my writing process into a coherent wording, and I wish you the best of luck with your carousel!

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  8. I've never heard it puts into terms like this, but this describes exactly how I do with writing. Oh my. Seriously, I'm so frustrated at my carousel right now. Needs to just stop. I've got WAY too many things I need to get done to be jumping all over the place so much :(

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  9. This is a neat analogy. If I had a novel carousel it's the one the moment leaves the kid on at the grocery store aka small. I have several book ideas but I try to keep myself under control from thinking up too many. XD

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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  10. This is me. This is why I take so long finishing books - I always have another one I ALSO want to be writing. This is why my entry for February's Beautiful People is going to focus on characters for a book that's still several novels away in my (current) writing queue.

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