With my most recent book published back in November 2022 (WE FIT), I started 2023 with no WIP — work in progress. To be sure, I have quite a number of ideas partially started. Some are years old. Some have thousands of words, and some stalled for lack of research. Others stalled because I lost the energy for them, and going back to them previously hadn’t generated new progress.
Most have a plotline summarized somewhere. Character sheets or summaries, too. So, starting an absolutely blank sheet new project isn’t really necessary.
But sometimes I have to approach an old, abandoned project and reimagine it, or spend some time restructuring it in light of new things I find of more interest, or the themes I want to address today as opposed to when the idea first occurred to me. Writers, if we’re lucky and pay attention, change and grow, both in the type of stories we want to share, and our abilities to write them.
Figuring out that new angle, and finding the project to build on it, can take time. It can take many short writing stints, research, reading someone else’s book(s). It can take the spark of just the right prompt. It can take shifting from writing on the computer to writing with pen and paper, or vice versa. It can take simply the task of putting handwritten pages that are months old into the computer and editing them. It also sometimes means reading something and then going off to do a household chore while my subconscious stews over it for a while.
Knowing this, my time between projects is spent exploring as many different things as possible. I reread my story ideas folder, read other authors’ books, play with new characters, write the “generic” version of some television, movie, or book plot to see if there’s something new I want to explore within a genre, or trope. This year, I also was able to completely separate from fiction writing for a time and finish a self-editing guide that I put out under my business label, LZ Edits. Finishing that book reminded me of the bones of a story in a new way, giving me another “template” to shape my story ideas onto and see where the holes are.
I’m also doing reading for a couple different book contests and the genres are giving me new insight into books I don’t usually write.
But a few of my ideas would fit those genres in new and interesting ways, so I’m sorting through my idea folder again, seeing what catches my attention. I’ll probably write a few experimental scenes this week – thanks to the writing prompt I gave my workshop members.
So at the start of the second week of January, that’s where I am at the moment. Where are you in your latest story writing? Or, if you prefer, give me some more food for thought and tell me what you’re reading.
If you’d like to follow my journey into writing new stories and learn about sales and special releases coming in 2023, subscribe to my newsletter.