Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Plethora of Ideas

Merry Christmas! I do not celebrate the holiday, but I do love Christmas. I love the decorations (provided they are taken down by New Year's Day), I love the attempt that most people make to be friendly and cordial, and I love the TV specials (particularly Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer). But what I enjoy most about the holiday is that nothing is open (except for movie theaters and Chinese restaurants). That may sound cliche, but for those of us who don't celebrate, it's a great thing. My family is essentially forced to spend the day together. This year is different....

Our daughter and her boyfriend have invited us to DC for Christmas. It may sound like a strange thing for Jews to do, but as I said, it's great family time. What's different this year is that our son doesn't want to go. He hates the drive to DC (which can try one's nerves) and would rather sit at home alone with the cat, play PS3, sleep until 3 PM, and watch testosterone loaded movies with lots of explosion, scantily clad women, and gratuitous violence (he is 18). What's also different is that we'll be meeting the boyfriend's mother for the first time. My daughter speaks highly of this woman, so I'm not worried, but the whole thing does sound like a set up for a YA combination of Home Alone and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - There's a story in there somewhere. Which brings me to the main topic of this post....A Plethora of Ideas.

Where do we get our ideas from? How do we decide what to work on? I currently have too many ideas rumbling around in my head. I have been working on a new historical fiction set in 15th C England (again, but this time late 15th C rather than early), but then started getting ideas to fix the problems I had with an historical YA I abandoned a year ago. Then, after doing research for a magazine proposal, I came across a tid-bit of history not well known and thought it would make a great set up for yet another YA historical - this one following two different MCs in two different periods but with the same problems. I can't decide what to work on.

I know I need to work on something new as opposed to rewriting one of my old pieces - I've done enough of that in the last year and a half, I want something fresh. But I seem to be having a hard time sustaining my interest in my current WIPs. I get all excited at the start, do the research, map out a basic plot, write the first 50 pages or so and then....peter out. Then a new idea pops into my head and it starts all over again.

So I am making a New Year's resolution to FINISH a WIP. I haven't decided which one it will be yet (I still have a week to decide). It will be my own mini-version of NaNo. I'm pledging here in "public" to have a finished novel by June 1st. Six months in a deadline I can live with. Wish me luck!

Oh, and if anyone does by chance read this post on Christmas day, I won't be able to respond to comments right away. I'm in DC!


  1. Meg,

    I'm looking forward to reading the completed novel in June! It will be exceptional as all your historical novels are - with great characters and rich and complicated plots - as complicated as the history of England and all nations in the progress of time.


  2. We are home now, and we did have a great time. Traffic wasn't even horrid - though the weather was a bit slick on the way down.
    Bish, thanks for your good wishes, and Eileen, thanks as always for your confidence.

  3. Meg: It's official. You're in the book. I put you down for a critique slot on Friday, June 19th. In ink.

    Signed, your fearless leader who is supremely confident you will, indeed, complete your WIP by June 5th (in time for dist. to the group)

    You go (write), girl!


  4. Problem....
    I was reading the NYTimes over the weekend and was hit by ANOTHER idea!

  5. I get all excited at the start, do the research, map out a basic plot, write the first 50 pages or so and then....peter out. Then a new idea pops into my head and it starts all over again.

    Oh my, this is me lately. I too have vowed to finish a book in 2009. I'm skittish about saying June, but if you include revisions, maybe Sept?

  6. Marcia - Oh, I'm not planning on having a "finished" novel by June. Probably only a sh*tty first or second draft.

  7. I have thıs same problem: I start off great guns on something, then find something more compelling and put my all into that. It has to stop! I've got three ms that are virtually finished, but still need polishing and fine-tuning; I've got three more that need to be finished. I'll try to be better at this too; so far, I've made a pretty good start.

    Your son's idea of a holiday sounds like my husband's dream Christmas! And while I'm in an honest mood, I have to say that last year our Christmas tree was up until Easter. Everyone was waiting for me to do it; I was determined to wait for their help...

  8. Mary - so when did the tree finally come down?? You could make a resolution that the tree comes down when you finish a project.

  9. Meg, you don't need luck, you're an awesome writer. Gumption and determination go a long way. Six months is a very realistic goal. I look forward to reading your manuscript!!

    On a completely different new favorite holiday special is "Shrek the Halls". Love the line "It ain't Christmas until somebody cries".

    Hope your holidays were merry and bright!!

  10. It came down a few days after Easter; even I was horrified. We had one room in our old house that we almost never used, which enabled us to get away with this sloth. I blush to admit this, but there it is. The kids all promised to help take the tree down, then all got busy when it had to be done -- as in Christmases past. I called their bluff this time...

    This year we threw some tinsel over our peace lily and called that a tree. Perfect.