Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Like a Maze

The last few days scenes from one of my works in progress that I have set aside for awhile have been invading my thoughts. I don't know what triggered this, but I have had to interupt my existing WIP to write down the new scenes.

This story, Evergreen, which takes place in Victorian England is so different from my current story, a historical of about the same time period with a setting in America's southwest.

As I work through putting my tales together I sometimes find that I have no clear beginning. I have started somewhere in the middle of the maze and need to work my way back to find where I start, and ultimately where I will end. Sometimes the hedgerows are so high I can scarcely see around the bend.

Interestingly, this problem, or puzzle, is very fitting to my story. The tale, which involves a renowned harpist who marries a master landscape gardener, is a labyrinth of mystery. The path to building a trusting relationship and ultimately discovering love will not be an easy one. Yet, I had plopped them right into the story without having worked out the reason for their marriage and how the story begins. The illumination that I just had showed me that the story commences on the day of the marriage they were coerced into. Some beautiful elusive scenes were at last able to find themselves onto paper.

This has been a pleasant, and refreshing break from my current work. I'm hoping it won't be too much of a distraction either.  On a larger scale, I find myself winding my way around the maze of several stories that I have in the works. I cannot seem to control the ideas that are wandering around. They just pop in.  I don't always know where they start and hope that for each of them some day there will be a satisfying end.

Can any of you relate to the intricacies of this writer's imagination?  How do you handle dealing with multiple works?


  1. Carla, I can relate to your dilemma. At times, the main characters from two or more of my stories vie for my attention. What I learned to do is keep an idea book. I've put in tabs, one for each story. I use it to capture the major points so I don't lose them, and then I find I'm better able to focus on my wip.

    Keeping several stories straight and finding time to work on them can be a challenge. On the bright side, though, you know you'll never be at a loss for ideas. :)

  2. Great analogies of the maze and I also liked your wiggle room. Think I might spend a good deal of time in a room like that!
    ~ Wendy

  3. I LOVE the top photo! Well, you are talented to work on more than one story at a time. My brain simply doesn't function that way--too linear, I suppose.

  4. It sounds like you're making progress on each of your stories, which is excellent.

    I've definitely dealt with this before, skipping over to another story that just wouldn't leave me alone. In my opinion, it's a wonderful thing getting new ideas for other stories but sometimes I get distracted if I tried to work on two things at once. I usually write down my ideas in as much detail as I can and then try to get back to my WIP and focus, focus, focus.

  5. Hi Carla -

    Great pics!

    My stories vie for attention all the time. At the moment, I'm editing my second manuscript. The third story - the heroine has her hands on her hips and is tapping her foot. She's not happy with me.

    Susan :)

  6. Carla, that picture is gorgeous! So glad to hear about your breakthrough on that story beginning.

    I've always admired writers who could work on multiple projects without neglecting one or the other. I can't do that, although if a scene or plot idea is insistent enough I'll open my file for that project and rough it in. Then I have to close it firmly again and focus on the novel I'm trying to finish first. I get 100% absorbed in what I'm writing, so I have to be careful to keep future projects way, way on the back burner.

    I began Kindred somewhere in the middle, and didn't know the beginning for a long while into the process. That was very different for me, and a bit unsettling. I'd always worked more linear before that. An author I know calls it "digging where the ground is soft," and she writes her books completely out of order and stitches them together gradually. I seem to be back to writing linear with my current WIP.

  7. I totally relate. I'm usually working on at least 2 stories at once. I like to flip flop between. It helps keep things fresh and exciting and I get bored very easily. If I get bored with one WIP, I just go to the other one :) It can make it hard to commit to one, but it keeps me going.


  8. I must admit I think I would get confused if I had more than one going. Sometimes I feel like as a mom of several preschoolers my mind is all in a jumble at times.

    Keli, your idea book is a great idea. I need to be more conscientious about writing down ideas and phrases as they come when it can be days until I can get back to it.

    I love that you have been featuring old reviews, too. I'm a research buff too.

  9. I love the photos; they generate such wonderful ideas. I always find it interesting to hear how writers find their way in and around their stories.

  10. Such restful pictures, Carla. Feel I'm back in England again:) It is hard for me as an author to juggle 3 books at once which is what I had to do not long ago. You're writing one, revising or doing galleys or page edits on another, and researching and beginning yet another, etc. My crit partner has caught me mixing up the names of my female leads at times! HELP! But it isn't always that crazy. I do think there is nothing sweeter than working on one novel at a time, putting your whole heart and soul into it, and not being distracted. That is, of course, life before deadlines. Great post!


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