Sometimes a night like the previous one happens. A very wakeful night.
I was in bed and my brain did not want to shut down. Sometimes that happens. All I need to do then is to just lie there and wait. Usually in a few hours things in my head will calm down and sleep will come.
It didn’t last night. After two hours I was still wide awake while things about stories kept running around my brain. The more I tried to chase that stuff away, the less success I had. It was way past 11 at night (some people call that early evening, I don’t) when I got up and brought out the Chromebook.
I started writing down all the things that were keeping me awake and added a bunch of other ideas and plot-lines and events and problems and deaths. That took a while. Eventually my mind calmed down and so I put the Chromebook away, switched off the lights, talked to Obsi for a while (he was surprised about all that night-time activity) and finally sleep arrived.
Until 4 in the morning. You guessed it: ideas had come up.
That’s the writer’s brain in a nutshell and a short night.
I’ve been silent during this past month. I had aimed to write a new story, this time in Dutch. A story indeed happened but it was not what I had planned. Because, yes, I had planned this thing. In the first chapter the main character started doing everything wrong and in the second chapter he made a total mess of it. This was a sign things weren’t going according to my plan. I know, I should not plan stories because the characters know better.
Still I persevered and I wrote up to 60,000 words. Plenty to get me over the Nanowrimo finish line of 50,000. It left me with 60,000 words that are basically 3 parts. A story that doesn’t work, an addition that’s solely there to get to 50,000 and a last bit that was bolted on to keep going. At some point in the last week I thought: “Sod it.” The story wasn’t working, made no sense, fell apart by just looking at it. I made a ZIP archive of all the text and decided to bury it.
Stuff like that however refuses to be buried.
The alien race I created kept playing through my mind.
I knew I had to do something with them. Thought kept running around and suddenly I was thinking about wind mills. Here in the Netherlands we have lots of them so they might be a good topic to write about.
Aliens and wind mills? Why not?
It keeps surprising me in what strange ways ideas for stories can come to me. It doesn’t take much, that is obvious to me already. It can be a sound, something I see of smell, or a few words I happen to read somewhere. In the latter case I often don’t even remember where I saw the words but they stick in my mind and refuse to let go until I’ve applied their use to a story, or perhaps a chapter.
It happened again a little while ago. I have just finished the rework for Hilda 17 and sent that off to my editor, Carol. I’ve started writing Hilda 18, and I’m working on a few other bits and pieces. And still this idea-mechanism is running full steam ahead. On Google+ I saw an image. A funny one. And then…
…there I had the idea for Hilda 19. While book 18 isn’t even remotely done. Can you believe that this habit, or trait, or whatever you call it, can actually be draining? Sometimes I don’t want to leave my house as I’m almost scared that more ideas will hit me, more reasons to write stories and books, on top of the incredible pile that’s already there.
Do note that I’m not complaining about all those ideas. On the contrary. I know how many writers are struggling to get something going in their writing. I’m ‘suffering’ from the opposite, which probably is much better. It just requires a lot of discipline from my end to sit down and finish one idea before I throw myself at the next one. That is the curse writers can face: they start a lot and finish hardly anything. I don’t want to fall into that trap.
And in case you hadn’t noticed: the Hilda series isn’t about to stop yet. 🙂
Have a wonderful day, read a book!