I have finished a lot of novel manuscripts, and I’ve been pretty steady with my progress on them over the years. After college when I wasn’t working I probably finished about 1 a year (including edits) and since moving and getting a full-time job I’ve probably regressed to 1 and 1/2 to 2 years per book. The whole time I’ve honestly never had a problem coming up with an idea for my next project. Basically, I don’t worry about what my next book will be before the time comes. I try to focus on my current project and let everything else float around in my head as it pleases.
Then, often sometime during the editing process, I’ll get that spark–like for my last one: “I’d like to write something about a mother-child relationship” and that sparks another idea: “The child came unexpectedly and became the mother’s whole life–in the process the mother had to give up her old life and dreams,” which sparks: “the mother had secrets she had to hide from her child” At some point I decided the story had to be told from the child’s point of view, which led me to writing and reading in the young adult area, which was the best career choice I could have made because that was the style I’d been unknowingly writing in anyway with all my unsuccessful adult books.
And so, when the editing process for the previous book had started wrapping up and it was time to start working on something new I had all these ideas to begin to shape into the book I’m currently submitting (which is called Flooded).
And while I was editing that one, I had new ideas for my next book. Except this time I didn’t have one idea–I had 3. There’s the sequel to Flooded, a time travel adventure, and a space sci-fi. If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know which one I went with. The other two ideas have not paled, though. I still add ideas to them here and there, but neither were as “ready” as my current one. I think those two need to sit a while.
And then came the new idea.
I was driving home from doing some shopping last weekend and it came to me. It was shiny and beautiful. Just popped right into my head and said, “Hello, I’m going to be your next book.” And I love it still, and I haven’t dared write any of it down because it’s too new and I still love my current story and need to work on that. So this new shiny idea gets to dance and play and sprout and grow in my head for however long it takes to write this other book, and some time as I start to edit–or more likely, once the 1st draft is done and I need a break from it–then I will put this idea to paper, and it will have its turn in the spotlight.
(And that’s why I never get any short stories written anymore) 🙂