Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why Now?

It's been months since our paths last crossed. She hasn't so much as acknowledged me, nor I her. Time has passed, life has been lived. I've been busy. Somewhere, somehow, she's been existing just fine on her own. And so I wasn't expecting this contact, so sudden.

I'm not sure what she wants from me.

No, that's a lie. I know exactly what she wants from me. Time. My undivided attention, all my guts and emotion. But I can't give it to her. I don't withhold it to be mean, because I do care. It's just that I have so much going on. Life won't slow down for me, let alone for her. And what, does she want me to drop my family? Forget about my commitments? My kids and their schooling, our home, social and church lives, and I'm trying to write a book, for goodness' sake. Now is not the right time.

You're going to think me so heartless when I tell you her story. She's recently divorced after a long, broken marriage. Ohh, and she feels so much guilt. So little worth. She has nothing, but can't see everything is within her grasp. She needs guidance, support, I admit, and she's chosen me, Lord knows why, to help her through.

Well.

She's going to have to be patient. It's all I ask. Because I already have a novel-in-progress, and she'll just have to wait until that story's finished.

Then I'll write hers.



Why is it new fiction ideas dig in and plant roots when you're in no need of raw material?

37 comments:

Rebecca Nazar said...

Humble, humble advice: Outline her at least. Better vague details than nothing at all. Won't take more than a few minutes a day . . . or write a flash piece about her.

Kristen Painter said...

I think our brains come up with new material when we don't need it, because there's no pressure to create. Without that pressure, the creative process is freer and able to think of things we wouldn't otherwise.

Katie Ganshert said...

What a clever post! I agree with Rebecca. Jot down some notes, a basic outline, then stick her in a drawer and make her wait her turn!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I get both thrilled and irritated when that happens. Great way to write about it.
~ Wendy

Terri Tiffany said...

I love how you presented this:) I have found that same thing to be true. An new idea pops up when I am in the middle of another. I agree with Rebecca--jot down some notes to remember.

Jenny Greenleaf said...

Create a "stop invading my ideas" idea notebook dedicated to writing journal entries about these instances. ;-) Then, they won't be neglected or forgotten.

Jody Hedlund said...

Because you're so good at what you do and you love her! :)

Janna Qualman said...

Becca - Thanks for the advice. From what I can tell, this one's gonna deserve novel-length. ;)

Kristen - And don't you think sometimes it's easier to start new, with that freedom, than it is to use the time and energy to finish something else? (Which, of course, we can't do, or nothing would ever be done.)

Katie - Absolutely! Done. :)

Wendy - Yes, both! I was feeling just that way yesterday.

Terri - That's the only thing to do, I suppose.

Jenn - I have a hardbound journal just for this! It holds snippets of novel ideas, and I've gotten a little more detailed with this particular premise and its notes. Thanks!

Jody - Well I guess that's a great reason! ;) Thanks.

Melanie Avila said...

*rubs hands together*

Interesting...

I'm really glad this post is about a story idea and not a migraine. I was worried you'd be stricken down again.

I haven't had a legitimate idea like that in over a year. I want one!

Tamika: said...

I wonder the same thing Janna. I agree with Rebecca write down some tidbits at least.

She sounds like a broken soul, I can't wait to read her story.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I rarely have that problem, but good for you!

Susan R. Mills said...

I know what you mean. And then when you need an idea, you can't come up with one. Go figure!

Natalie said...

I have the same problem. Just when I get working on a project I believe in I get an idea that's even better. I am not as strong as you and I often switch projects before I've finished the first one. SO FRUSTRATING! Finishing is good!

Lynnette Labelle said...

LOL Yep. Happens to me, too. Hey, isn't that better than not having any new ideas? Just write it down and take it out once you're ready to start a new story. That's what I do most of the time. The story I'm rewriting now is an exception. I was supposed to edit another story, but this one popped into my head. I was only going to plot it out, but I liked the story better, so I put the other on the shelf and went with this one. I don't regret it.

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

Janna Qualman said...

Melanie - You've got too much other stuff to do! But one'll come, when you least expect it, I bet. :)

Tamika - I wonder what's in store!

Kristen - I suppose it is a good problem.

Susan - Crazy frustrating, ain't?

Natalie - I admit, it's tempting to switch, even if just for the basic rundown of story. But I must be strong! I want more to finish this current WIP.

Lynnette - It definitely comes down to which has more draw, doesn't it? At some point, I think we have to follow that.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Love this post! And I could scream with frustration when I'm right in the middle of a story and moving as fast as I can type with excitement and the muse of a new story comes badgering me. What to do? There have been times when I stop what I'm working on and submit to the new one and type away until it's time to take a breather from it so I can get back to the one I'd been working on. I look at my stories as children, each needing attention and each needing to take a nap! LOL!

Jessica said...

LOL! I love it!

Maybe just write a few pages of her backstory? Sometimes a woman just needs attention... LOL

Melissa Marsh said...

I agree with Rebecca - outline her, get down the details so you don't forget. That's what I've had to do in those situations. Often times, though, I feel like I'm cheating the story because I'm not diving into it right then - and when I return to it later, after having finished writing my other novel, the idea is not as shiny and glossy as it once was.

Janna Qualman said...

Donna - But what an apt way to look at it! They always seem to pull us in separate directions.

Jessica - ROFL! So true. ;)

Melissa - That is a real fear. *sigh*

Amy said...

Why? Because there's this guy named Murphy and his law rules (my life, anyway!).

Karen said...

I think it's a crazy conspiracy, 'cause right now in the middle of nano--I'm stumped! Argh! Very clever way to write that, "show, don't tell."

thedomesticfringe said...

I bet you wish you could clone yourself, so you could two WIP! At least you have ideas.
-FringeGirl

rubberbandgirl said...

Fascinating post. I figured I knew where it was leading and was relieved to know.

ajgallion said...

Hey -- how engaging! I actually believed at first that this was a friend of yours who you wanted to help but couldn't yet however was inspired to perhaps honor her pain by writing an amazing novel. Now that I see what this is really about, I'd say to write it down in a notebook with all of the folks that show up in your head when you're knee-deep in a novel-in-progress.

Stephanie Faris said...

I've had people in my life like that. Always draining from you. You feel guilty for not helping them but your family has to come first. And some people will never help themselves as long as they always have someone to rescue them.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

LOL! One of my characters from Book #3 is saying, "Hey, you're on a roll. How about writing my story?"

Again, I know the beginning and the end, but nothing in between. I haven't even selected her occupation. But she's there, looking over my shoulder and whispering in my ear.

Your turn will come. I need you to finish this series.

Blessings,
Susan :)

~Ellie Kings~ said...

Aww... don't totally ignore her. At least let her know you're thinking of her. :)

Heather Sunseri said...

Great post! Definitely keep making notes about her, so that when it's her turn, you're ready to dig in!

septembermom said...

She sounds feisty!! She'll hang around until you're ready for her debut. It's wonderful to hear that your mind is moving in all sorts of creative directions. Keep writing dear friend!! Thanks for your support on my blog yesterday :)

Stina Rose said...

What a wonderful problem to have. Make sure that you do something so that she stays with you and doesn't go to someone else to write her story.

Janna Qualman said...

Amy - LOL!

Karen - Thank you. It's good to know I can tackle it some places, because it's really hard in my longer stuff. *sigh*

FringeGirl - That would be handy around the house, too!

rubberbandgirl - Very intuitive!

Thanks, ajgallion. I've got a few notes, and plan to write any blurbs that come to me over the next months.

Stephanie - I've had real people like that in my life, too. Thank goodness this one's fiction! ;)

Susan - That's a great idea, to continue on into a new story with a supporting character from the last.

Ellie - Good idea! ;)

Thanks, Heather!

septembermom - I hope you've figured things out since then. Thinking of you!

Stina - Bah! Scary thought!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Oh! I have things on the "backburner" that I'd love to get my hands into again - sometimes they call to me so strongly - but, *sigh* - got to wait...wahhhhh!

Janna Qualman said...

Kat - Someday!

Barbara said...

I love it when they whisper to you. Hungrily.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Isn't that always the way? If you had a looming deadline and HAD to produce some magnificent character sketch, of course ya would be constipated! :)

Maybe steeping your brain in creativity is having a muliplying effect.

Deb Shucka said...

If she's this pushy she must have an amazing story. Hope I get to read it someday.

Nadine said...

Unfortunately no new idea is tugging at me at the moment. And I'm having a hard time getting to my current wip, but I'm hoping that will change. I'm started to get more focused.