SALVAGED is sitting for a few days, ready to be gnawed on by the shark. It's one of those rare times when I don't have writing or revising or editing or re-reading (of my own work) to do. Writers will understand when I say it's an odd, uneasy feeling to be between books, even for a week or two.
So what do I do with myself? Well, work and shuttling Child and going for walks with hubby (when it's not snowing *looks out window, growls*), like always. But what about creatively? I can't just SIT. It's against my nature. There are two things I'm doing, that I always do:
1) Fill the well.
For me, this isn't just relaxing and going mindless with the ANTM. (There's a touch of that, but not mostly.) I'm reading*, watching movies, listening to news stories, paying attention. Collecting dribs and drabs that will be used somewhere else. Many of them go straight into:
2) Simmering the next book.
I don't often jump RIGHT into the next book. I have ideas of what I want to do, but the plot isn't quite there, I don't have a handle on the characters, I'm not sure of the setting. All that stuff has to work itself out in my brain before I start typing. So I *actively* simmer ideas. For a day or two I think of a possibility, twist it around, stretch it, and see how it would go. Usually at this stage it falls flat somewhere, so I add in something else or mix it up. I see which parts intrigue me most, which parts are unique (or at least not-done-a-zillion-times), which parts make me go "OOH that would be fun to play with." I make notes, look at locations, pick out character names. It's all prep work, and directly tied to #1 above. This weekend I was watching a movie and half-analyzing the character relationships, and halfway through I went AHA and went to jot some notes. My plot idea wasn't anything that was in the movie--it just followed on from what I saw. But I wouldn't have thought of it if I hadn't filled the well.
So far I have a main character, a setting, and some intriguing complications. Next week I might be ready to start exploring on the page. (If I'm not doing revisions of SALVAGED by then!)
I don't think a writer ever stops writing, even if it's only in her head.
*on reading: I'm not flush with money at the moment, so this weekend I poked around at the library for some new stuff to read. They didn't have ONE of the 10 books on my list (mostly recent YA), but I did find 5 books to check out. Interestingly, 4 of the 5 were written by men, with male POVs. Huh. This is unusual for me. Wonder if my subconscious is trying to tell me something...