New, Shiny What Now?

I have to admit, I like it more when we have a given blog topic. Knowing what I should focus on makes it so much easier to put the words down on paper for me…Coming Soon 3

…unlike my writing lately. I’m supposed to be working on book three of my Pleasure Code series but I’m having a hard time with this one for some reason. I know who the hero is (he showed up in book two) and I’ve fleshed out who the heroine is (I’m one of those weird plotter types) but when I sit down at the keyboard…yeah, not so much. I just can’t see the scene.

I’ve never run into this problem.

Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. Back in the day when I first started writing, this problem would sometimes hit and I’d just shove the story aside and work on whatever was new and shiny and waiting in the wings. Nine times outta ten I would never go back and finish whatever story I initially got stuck on. I have a folder in my Dropbox full of started but not finished stories.

The problem is that this time, I can’t do that. This is the third in what will be at least a four book series. I have to finish it. Heck, I have to start it!

I think part of the problem is that I unintentionally started a new and different series with my last submission. Right now all I can think about is that other series when what I need to be doing is writing on my Pleasure Code story.


Anyone out there have some advice (and maybe some alcohol) for a frustrated author? Meanwhile, I’ll be over here…staring at a blank page…


New, Shiny What Now? — 15 Comments

  1. Sorry things aren’t going swimmingly right now. I also have a bad case of obsession with what’s shiny and new. I woke up this morning with scenes and characters dancing in my head for a new story…despite the three I’m already in the midst of, the two completed novels I want to revise, and the two partials from four years ago that I’d like to get back to.

    Ugh! I also used to set a work aside when I got stuck and never got back to it. Now, it’s more limited time and my ever-jumpin’ monkey mind that keeps me hopping from on project to the next. However, my surefire method for finishing a project has been to map out the next scene. I learned that back when I thought I was a pure pantser. Now, whenever I’m stuck I just outline the scene I want to write. Sometimes, I also need to do a detailed character profile, or two, to feel like I have a deeper understanding of the characters.

    I’m looking forward to hear what works for everyone. And good luck to you, Gillian!

  2. This totally happened to me with Ruby. I knew the setting was New Orleans and who my heroine was, in general. I kind of knew what my hero would be like, but much less so. I also had my editor standing on my tail to send her the opening chapters and a synopsis. I am SO not a plotter and figuring out what the story is before I write it is like asking me which football team will win the Superbowl this year – keeping in mind that I don’t follow football.

    What did I do? I turned to my CPs. I told them what I had and they told me it had to be about food. I balked at the idea, but they started riffing (we have these conversations in a chat room), coming up with New Orleans food & sex fantasies.

    I wrote the opening scene and just didn’t feel it, but I kept going. I think that’s where being a professional writer comes in – you keep writing whether you feel it or not. I bet I retooled that opening five or six times, but the story came together.

    Nose to the grindstone, chica!

  3. Being tempted by something shiny and new is an occupational hazard for a writer. Reese’s idea has worked for me too. This past summer I was able to move forward on a project by outlining the scenes that would come next. I have to have an idea of what I’m going to write when I sit down at the keyboard, so having a ‘map’ helps me tremendously. Going back to a character sketch is also helpful to give me insight into a character’s motivations.

    I had a heck of a time with the third book in a series I just completed. I couldn’t figure out which direction this story should take. I wrote, and tossed away, and rewrote, and wrote some more before I finally began to see the light, so I can totally understand what you’re going through. The good news is that this book has turned out to be one of my favorites!

    • That’s one of my favorite tools too. I think one of my problems is that I haven’t answered a major character question. I guess maybe I need some more quality time with my cps. Thanks, Jana!

  4. Sometimes turning away from something and working on something different will provide the stimulation needed to get the job at hand completed. I used to make deals with myself. I’d give myself permission to work on the new, shiny thing until an appointed time I’d have to go back to the problematic one. The deal would include a promise of a small milestone (outline, plan for certain segments of the outline, etc.), something that moved it forward and freed me creatively to work on what was in my head. It always worked for me because it was like cleansing my palate, providing a fresh perspective for the deadline project. I just needed to release the guilt about doing what my spirit and brain were screaming for me to do.

    Now, often this method had me working into the wee hours but it was so liberating I didn’t mind. The satisfaction I got from this is hard to describe.

    Just sharing what worked for a serious multi-tasker:)

  5. Ugh, I know exactly what you mean. I get a case of the new shiny all the time, and it’s been a real struggle to keep on task with the story I need to be working on. My current compromise solution has been taking a day and getting as many ideas out about the new shiny idea as I can, writing them out long-hand on paper. Then putting that piece of paper out of sight and — to the best of my ability — out of mind. Knowing I’m not going to forget any of the exciting parts of the new shiny helps me focus on the old less-shiny.

    Good luck!

  6. Must be something in the water. I’m having this problem with the end of my WIP. I’m down to the last 10,000 words and having to push my way through it because I have a–gasp–deadline! I’m just sitting down every day and writing, whether it’s crap or not.

    • Yeah, I’m thinking maybe that’s what I have to do too. It’s so easy to be all avoidy and wait until you feel like you have it just right, ya know? Thanks for the support, Samantha!

  7. Oh, girl, I feel you. It’s so hard to write what we *have* to versus what we *want* to. I’m a plotter like you…have you tried detailing scenes more? Or doing an in-depth character interview? Or maybe write-or-die? I didn’t think I could work under the pressure of something like NaNo, but I did JuNo and after cranking out 72k in a month, figured out it’s an amazing tool for me to force myself to just write. That’s what you have to do…just write. Even if it’s not right, not perfect, not what you think it should be. Get words down, and eventually it’ll morph into what you need.

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