This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
When I complete my latest manuscript, I will have finished all three books in the agreed deal with my publishers. I’ve come to the end of my series and I’ll be starting fresh with new characters next time. This new book (or the synopsis for it) is what my agent will have to negotiate my next dea with. It’s scary to think that those two or three pages of text are what my writing life for the next year or two will be based on. When I got my last deal, not only had I written the first book in the series, but my agent had liked it enough to sign me based on it, giving me confidence in what I had written.
I’ve been putting off thinking about my new book, as I’m still working on my current one. For a new book idea, I like to have space to develop my characters and I can’t do that when I’m working on something else. I’ve had an initial idea, which I told my agent about recently and she responded positively to it. I haven’t let myself think too deeply about it though – once I do, I know I’ll get sucked into planning and researching. I haven’t let myself daydream about the characters yet, as I fear that they’ll start talking to me.I’ve said before in this column that it can be difficult for a writer to turn their writing brain off, and often I have voices in my head. I was on a long bus ride recently and after earwigging some teenagers’ conversation, I was hit for a nice idea for a novel. Only, because I let myself think about it, I invited the characters into my mind. The plot keeps developing and every so often I imagine the key moments of the book and the dialogue playing out. It’s driving me slightly mad as not only is it not the book I’m writing now, but it’s not the one I want to write next either.
The book that’s currently intruding into my thoughts has all the hallmarks of a nice, solid romantic read – a proper tale of girl meets boy. I tried to pitch it to my husband and he pulled a face. It’s one of those books that doesn’t have a unique hook and the imaginary book blurb sounds a bit dull. It’s definitely not one I could pitch to publishers and get a deal based on. I keep telling myself this, yet the voices keep coming to me.
I’ve got a month or two of writing my latest book before I officially send it over to my publishers, and then I can really start planning what comes next. I’m hoping that once I start to brainstorm the new series idea, perhaps the characters from the ‘bus idea’ book will be replaced.
Am I a normal author? Do other writers have characters from books they don’t want to write popping into their mind?