(Our theme week got sliced up a bit because I didn’t post last week. Mea culpa.)
What would I write, if I had no other considerations? Turns out, that’s a complicated question. Like Diana, I love everything I’ve worked on, so it’s not like I’m not working on dream projects every single day. It’s always been my dream to work as a full-time writer, and here I am, doing it. But projects do get pushed back. I have ideas that just haven’t cooked up yet and don’t really fit with I’m doing right now. I’ve been extremely fortunate that since selling my first book, I’ve never really had to stop and figure out what to work on next. Opportunities have presented themselves, and I’ve had projects to fill those opportunities.
There’s something of a flipside to this, which is that when an astonishing, fringe, crazy idea comes along, I don’t always have the time to work on it. I can write two books a year. This is great, because I can be productive, prolific, maintain a one book a year schedule on my series and then do other things, like YA, on the side. The problem is that while I’m writing two books a year, I get ideas for probably 3-4 books a year. And my contract obligations make it really easy to pick which ideas to work on: the ones that have actually sold. Which means I always have a couple of dream projects sitting on the sidelines because they’re not sold, and they’re not sold because they don’t really fit any category that I’m currently writing in. I have an epic fantasy I want to write, and a space opera I want to write. They’re going to be challenging to write (never mind marketing them), so I’ve put them to the side to let them cook a little longer. And then, sometimes, an idea strikes that’s so immediate, so energizing, that I make room in the schedule, and worry about the rest. This just happened to me, and I’m now working up a pitch for a YA novel that I didn’t know I’d be writing a year ago.
Someday, the other parts of my writing career will slow down, or a break will come for some other reason. Then I expect a stretch of time will open up, and I’ll pull out my file folders on those ideas and go to town.
But there’s more: I also want to write a screenplay someday, and I’d love to write comic books someday. The reason I haven’t yet is that they’re both entirely different formats of writing. I’d have to learn a whole new set of techniques, a whole new kind of writing, to do either one of those things. And that takes time, which I don’t have right now. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about both. I’ve already picked out which story of mine I want to translate to screenplay form — my WASP mystery, “The Girls from Avenger.” And my comic book idea kicks ass. I’d also love to write a tie-in for one of my beloved fangirl properties. I’ve actually gotten close on that one a couple of times. I expect it’ll happen someday, if I’m patient and prepared.
I may not have time to write every single idea I have, but that’s okay. I collect and nurture them anyway. Because if an opportunity ever comes along to go in any of these directions, you can bet I’ll be able to say “Yes,” because I’ve got the ideas tucked away. Oh yes, I do.