Books by Melissa Bowersock

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How Do You Choose the Next Project?

So I just finished my latest book, a ghost story (woo hoo!), and aside from waiting on beta-readers and fiddling with the cover and blurb, I’m ready to start my next project. But which one?

I’m guessing most of us writers have a backlog of ideas tucked away in their brains. I've got a good half dozen interesting ideas for books. There’s the novel I’m about half-way done with that concerns a past life as a Holocaust victim, the fictionalized version of the January 8th mass shooting here in Tucson, a western romance about a British girl who lands in tiny Bisbee, Arizona, and falls for the local sheriff, a biography of my father-in-law, and a time-travel story about a western actor who slips through a vortex in Sedona and ends up in the old west.

Did I ever mention the fact that I never write the same story twice?

Now you might think that the logical process would be for the No. 1 item, once it’s completed, to come off the list and then No. 2 rises up to take its place.
But, no, it’s not that easy. I've found that the next project chooses me more than I choose it.

Rather than a rational to-do list like above, I find that my ideas are more like a simmering cauldron that bubbles and boils. I’m never quite sure which one will rise to the top and catch my attention like a delectable slice of carrot or a savory baby red potato. Whatever rises to the surface will entice me with a mouth-watering aroma, leading me gently to the keyboard.

Or it’ll grab me in a headlock and drag me to my computer, handcuffing me to the chair until I pour out its story onto paper.

And, to make it worse, the bubbling and boiling doesn’t stop there. I might be knee-deep in a story (as I was in the Holocaust book) when another idea (the ghost story) rises up and refuses to go away. Roiling merrily away, the new idea keeps drawing my interest away from the story at hand until I end up staring at the now abandoned story and typing nothing because I’m imagining the new story instead.

A writer’s progress is never smooth.

Which project sounds like the best one to you?

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