Saturday, September 10, 2016

How Do I Decide What To Write Next?

There are times I feel like I must be the free floating electron of this group because it seems with a lot of our craft questions, I have no system or structure and I point to my Muse as my fundamental explanation for all my choices. Hint: there is no spreadsheet in the Veronica Scott reality.

OK, here we go again. I write whatever story I feel most drawn to at the moment. Purely up to the Muse. Yes, I am aware there's no vaguely Grecian or even Olivia Newton-Johnish female figure lurking in my brain, telling me what to do. (Referencing the movie "Xanadu." ) I know it's all me but hey, I LIKE the idea of my Muse. She's convenient shorthand and avoids any need for distracting and deflecting psychobabble on my part regarding motivations and influences. Or attempts to dig deeper into my process and maybe upset the entire applecart of How I Do What I Do. And this is just me, talking about myself - I know for some people a more analytical Method is their truth and foundation. We're all different and there's no one right way (or wrong way either) to "author". Thank goodness!

I'm constantly on the quest for new story ideas. I read all kinds of magazines from GQ to Star to Business Week voraciously, and keep notes and clippings in case I need an inspiration. I'm always following research rabbit holes on the internet and saying under my breath, "Wow, that would make a cool story!" With a science fiction twist of course or it wouldn't be me.

Since I'm currently self published, I have no one else's deadlines to take into consideration, unless I'm involved in a group project, like the upcoming PETS IN SPACE anthology, with eight other authors. For something of that nature I do have to work writing the story into my life on a schedule. So since I knew I'd be writing a story with a pet, I made sure to include not one but two animals in Star Cruise: Outbreak, so I'd have something to work with. I enjoy developing short stories and novellas set in my Star Cruise series. I also realized the Cargo Master, Owen Embersson, who has a minor role in Outbreak, would be the hero for the PETS novella. Outbreak was published April 8th this year and the PETS story was due by September 15th. I finished the novella in July, while also getting two other books out in May and June, and it went through its edits in August. Turned it in last week. So I'm right on the schedule.

During that time, I was strongly drawn to tell the story of Johnny, the secondary character from Mission to Mahjundar, and got his book out in June, entitled Hostage to the Stars. Currently I'm finally ready to write the sequel for Khevan and Twilka, who survived the Wreck of the Nebula Dream, and I'm 28K into that. I go with whatever story I'm craving to tell, the one where words are clamoring to be put on the page. The one I wake up in the morning thinking about...