The Curse of Too Many Ideas
I think I am rather jealous of poets and those who write ridiculously short stories. They have the luxury of finishing one idea quickly before throwing themselves mercilessly on the sword of the next moment of creative inspiration. The writer of the Haiku can dance in mischievous 5/7/5 time from summer to war in a beat.
How nice for them all.
You see, I think I might have made a little mistake. A year and a half ago, I wrote just a few lines on a notepad that embodied a little idea that I had had for some time. It went something like:
A young man wakes up to find his sister has vanished, probably kidnapped. He asks help from a dragon who refuses to carry humans and also from a magician who really can’t do any magic. They fly across half the world and rescue the sister and another girl…
Well, I won’t go any further as I do not want to spoil the story, but what started as a little fantasy idea has grown into an epic saga that is rapidly heading towards a couple of million words in length.
Dirt tells the tale of Johnson Farthing as he not only tries to rescue his sister but is thrown into a war as the people of his world face an empire building, oppressive threat. As the first book grew, the adventure taking the principle players across an ocean and a continent, so my notes grew. Although I wanted my characters to be fun as well as dramatic, I also wanted them to be believable, and that included the dragons.
I had this little theory that an intelligent, thoughtful creature would probably not want to live in damp caves, but would have a culture, friends, community; all the things we have. That meant I needed to create a dragon culture if this was to be believable.
My opening character, the above mentioned Johnson Farthing, was also a little different from the norm. He is not a brave knight or a prince or some experienced mercenary, but a poor man of nineteen years of age who lives just one step above the gutter. He owns a handcart that he made himself and earns coin by digging holes for people and shifting dirt for others.
His situation would no doubt have an effect on the story and his reaction to suddenly going from dirt digger to hero would be informed by his background. Again, to make this believable, I had to create a proper society for him to be poor within, as it were.
Suddenly, the story was getting very complicated indeed. Now, this is not a bad thing. I am writing the seventh book at the moment, four have been published starting with the first book Dirt, and the I have yet to work out the third series which will be another four books, probably. The notes are now a novel in their own right and possibly a hundred thousand words long.
Again, none of this is bad and I am really proud of my high fantasy saga so far.
But, it has taken over my life. This is an enormous endeavor and I spend hours and hours on it every week.
Which brings me back to my opening problem. You see, just because I am all but living in the world of Dirt does not mean that my brain thinks of nothing else. I am constantly dreaming up ideas for other books, or working on short stories in my head, and even thinking up poems. And as much as that is fun, it is also intrusive.
Here I am on a world where travel is either by horse, on foot or, if you are very luck, by dragon, and my brain is thinking about bus routes for a story I want to write about London.
One of my characters is sitting on a mountain top with a friend looking at the moon, and my brain leaps off the mountain and starts thinking about the young girl who lives on a moonbase in another of my story ideas.
Before I completed my first novel, my challenge was to actually complete a novel in the first place. Now I have done that, have been well and truly bitten and enslaved, the blinkers have come off and my stupid brain is trying to run in twenty different races all at the same time. I cannot stop the ideas from flowing and it is interrupting my thought process.
Of course, I am not the first writer to suffer from this and nor will I be the last. It is the curse of writing and of wishing to be creative; if you could stop yourself from going off on a tangent, then your creativity would be very mundane indeed.
So, I will have to tolerate these moments of madness and continue to be jealous of the poet who at least has a chance of finishing their story within the day. I, on the other hand, will be buried in Dirt for the next year, and in the meantime, the pile of ideas will continue to grow.
Dirt, the high fantasy saga, is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and other places. Book one is free in digital form, so get reading!