The just finished novel manuscript has been printed (largely on scrap paper, using a half dead ink cartridge… I’m saving up for a new house and environmentally conscious) and stuffed in a bigger box than my last ‘novel box’ on account of not fitting in the last one. It is still sitting on my desk at the moment, ready to be stuffed in a cupboard for a few months before I come back to it completely fresh.
Which leaves me with the same adrift feeling I got last time I finished something. And that pesky question buzzing around in my head, asking ‘What next?’
It’s an important question, and one that needs answering soon, because I would like to get back to writing something. So why is it that all the wonderful ideas I had when I was supposed to be finishing the last one seem somehow less tantalising than before? Like the idea of being allowed to explore them now has made them less interesting and shiny.
I know what project I’m doing next, because I had decided as much before I finished. I’m going to stick to that plan. I mentioned the project briefly in this post: it’s a mystery thriller (sort of – I have trouble defining genre) and set in a little town that Mr Taylor, Taylor and I had much fun designing.
And that’s thing I’m trying to remember – this is the fun stage. Not that writing isn’t fun, it is, but it’s also difficult and tiring and generally hard hard work. Designing characters, playing with plot ideas, designing settings and deciding on the rules – that’s the creative part, the part where anything and everything goes, before the lines in the sand are drawn and the plot resolves into whatever shape the characters and events dictate.
I haven’t finished the drawing of the town yet. The main town centre is done, and rather than try to draw the rest of the town behind it, I have filled the empty space with little boxes in which to draw other important places. I don’t know what the important places are yet, but so far I’ve added a picnic spot by the river that I didn’t know about until the thought popped into my head, and a couple of houses for main characters. There are plenty of boxes waiting to be filled with places that may or may not become integral to the story.
That’s what’s so exciting about it. You just don’t know what will happen next. The fun is in finding out.