I am not a person who gets new ideas very often. Unlike Patricia, who is the Queen of Shiny New Ideas, my ideas come when least expected--and usually after I've complained about not having any. I don't know how many of you get your ideas. But my ideas come to me loudly and they always, always start with a line in a unique voice. Then they haunt me, taunt me and yell at me until I give in. That's how I know it's the story I need to tell. (I apparently like those stubborn characters who harass me. It's telling.) The louder something is the harder it is to ignore.
If you are doing NaNo--or ANY draft--there's a certain point where the Shiny News start attacking.
They find you when you are weak. When you've hit 30-50k and you're halfway between "beginning" and "ending" and lost somewhere in "what was I thinking? I can't do this!" They attack! They try to pull you away with newer, better, shinier characters and plots and fancy words. Here's where the dilemma comes in: To listen or not to listen?
I sadly can't tell you the answer to that. I think it's different for every person, every WIP, every Shiny New. I think some people can manage two drafts at once with equal love and dedication, and some can't. Some stories need a break, so you run away with the Shiny New. There are a hundred scenarios for every single idea. Me, I'm that girl who tries (really hard) to ignore the Shiny New. I write my idea down somewhere. And then, once I've finished my WIP, I look at them again. It's pretty amazing how "The Best Idea EVER" is totally nonsense when you look at it again.
See, without the regale and fanfare of the Shiny New, without the perfectly placed temptation of new satisfaction in your struggle, Shiny New Ideas are no longer shiny or new. They are just ideas. And an idea without some sparkle and promise is a lot more work--and probably (9 times out of 10) not a very good idea.
I'm here right now. Kind of.
I have a SNI that is so shiny and so new and so exciting! The difference is that I haven't had a new idea that I felt I could REALLY write since I started this WIP over a year and half ago. That's a long time. I've had a few other projects, but none of them are finished because I kept coming back to this story. It wasn't done. It wasn't ready. I wanted to tell it. And this is the first time in 15 months that I feel like i've been telling it the way it needs to be told. It's exciting. It also means: SNI ATTACK.
There was a line in my head for two days. A line in a voice that was (is) so strong and snarky. That's when I gave the "I'm not writing this right now. I'm not even thinking about it" speech. And I didn't.
I kept saying to myself. "I am TOTALLY NOT writing this." Even though I want to. I won't even think about it. I'll ignore it. It will be easy because I most definitely do not have the
whole first chapter written out in my head and all the story and
three cutesy-banter scenes. Do not. I'm not even thinking even about
Okay....obviously I have thought about it. I have the whole idea ready! But I will not write it until I've finished my WIP. I will try really hard not to even write a scene, because if I do then I won't want to stop. That would lead into trouble for me, my stories and my CPs. Until that time, I will not listen to my SNI. I will just let it simmer on the backburner. Let it keep developing and write, write, write my WIP so I can get to the SNI.
Not listening to a loud shiny new is hard. It's really hard--especially when you love the idea. It's a constant echo in the back of your mind and it finds ways to slip into your thoughts and I, personally, have to fight it all the time.
But what happens when you don't fight it? What happens when you listen to that Shiny New? You can check out Part Two tomorrow and get the other perspective on listening to it from the queen herself. (Patricia!) Until then, chime in on this.
What's your process? How often do your SNIs attack? Do you think you listen or don't listen? Are there any steps you take to block it out of your mind?