Monday, May 24, 2010

Between Books

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...


Linda G. said...

I think you're right--a writer never really stops writing. There are always wheels spinning, roiling the waters of current WIP, or churning up new ideas for the next one.

Can't wait to see what you come up with next! :)

Susan Adrian said...

Linder: I'm so lucky that we can read each other's stuff. :)