Leatherbound rough draft is at 94K words and counting. I’ve successfully swatted some monsters but tracking down the bad guys is proving elusive. Going to be chewing on that. I know how the story should end; it’s getting the characters from where they are now to that final fight that is being twisty as a worm trying not to get hooked.
One of the problems of getting most of the way done on a draft, is wandering plotbunnies.
Plotbunnies are addicted to Shiny. No two ways about it. They love Shiny. Whether it’s the most recent new species/weird science fact/meteorite spotted in outer space, an odd historical detail you run across researching something else (oyster farms off Britain in the first century BC? Ooo….) or something as simple (yet satisfying!) as Big Booms.
(You will never hear me say that Big Booms have no place in Serious Storytelling. Nope.)
Bunnies will go out of their way for Shiny. Waaaaay out of their way. And part of the problem with having most of your story worked out – as you must to have gotten most of the way through a draft – is the bunnies are not uncovering gobs of new Shiny. Oh, there are twists, and fine details, but most of the world should be set.
…Cue yawning plotbunnies.
Sometimes they just go to sleep, meaning struggling your way through the rest of the draft becomes a slogging-through-mud-in-lead-chains slugfest to the end of the book. Other times… they start looking for new Shiny. Anywhere. Everywhere.
Anywhere that’s not what you’re currently working on, that is.
So far I’ve been hit with no less than four separate Ideas that could themselves be workable stories. Currently I’ve typed up and stored notes for all of them, in the hopes that I can pick at least one of them up later and run with it like a cackling tiefling. Or something like that….
First one’s a post-apocalyptic setting, where the apocalypse was an invasion of magical blood-drinkers, the two sides are currently staring at each other across a river, and the heroes may be mercenaries trying to get by in the middle of the chaos.
Second, an “In Another World” Sword-and-Planet science fantasy, complete with lost princess and sarcastic demon-blooded sorceress who need our Earth-born hero’s help and sword against an evil out to destroy other kingdoms. (Because Witch World is still one of the most awesome books ever, and smiteable bad guys yay!)
Third is a different In Another World, with a reincarnated as fantasy race slant, which is going to have fairies, dwarves, demons, and flying islands. (Physics? What physics?)
Fourth and most recent were the bunnies poking that trope of, “In our hour of need, the kingdom can summon a mighty hero!” Bunnies: “You know, if I were an Evil Overlord, and had studied the history of the places I was attacking, I’d know about this last-ditch thing. And I’d steal how they do it. On top of that, then I would summon the Chosen Hero – where I can immediately try to get him on my side/toss him in the dungeon or execute him if that doesn’t work out.”
Of course, a real heroic type would escape… and does….
As you can see, the problem isn’t not having ideas. It’s having ideas that are completely separate from what you’re working on, that will take you off on a romp of a tangent but leave the current work just… not done.
I’ve learned from painful experience that not finishing a work in one go makes it really hard to pick up again. So the way I write books is to cling onto the rough draft like iron tongs and keep going. No matter how tempting all the other ideas are. Once I get the rough finished – then I can start something else while I edit.
Hear that, bunnies? I will get to you. And I’ll get to you faster if you turn loose of the rest of Leatherbound…. 😉