Wednesday, June 4, 2014
IWSG: Tales I Once Wanted to Tell
Some of them are ideas I had years ago, going back to reworkings of things I wrote in high school and/or college. Some of them are just ideas with nothing more than a few sentences detailing what a story about them could be. Some of them are multi-page entries, summaries of plots and characters, waiting to be moved into a separate file for fleshing out. A few are nothing but titles. And for the most part, they all share one thing:
They're stories I once wanted to write, things I look at now and say "Meh."
This probably bothers me more than it should. I think most writers, if not all, have more ideas than they could ever turn into stories, not even if they had several more lifetimes. More lifetimes only means more ideas, after all. But what bothers me is not having these half-formed stories, but looking at ideas that once excited me and now seem dull.
For example, earlier this year, I was plotting a dark fantasy novel. It had a bunch of things I really wanted to put into a story - ancient evils from beyond the stars, long-lost mind-warping magic, disturbing signs of the way the world once was, horrible secrets unleashed by the unwary and unwitting, so on and so forth. I went through two different plots with it, as per usual, then started working on a third when I realized I wanted to tell the origin of the story's status quo, not what happens when that status quo breaks.
Somewhere along the way, after I'd put together a basic plot, I lost interest, and I haven't touched that plotting document since March. And this isn't the first time. I have a full set of world notes in search of a story, and I had an awesome idea for how the way magic works there affects another race . . . back in 2012. I added that to my notes, and haven't done any significant work on it since.
I've written down so many ideas that I might never get to use, that I might never want to use. And that gets to me. Whenever I pull those older documents up, they just seem boring or ridiculous or convoluted to me, and I have no desire to work on them again. I wonder if I ever will. It makes me a little sad to think about this, because it feels like a waste. And yet, I know nothing good comes of forcing myself to work on something I don't want to do.
The one positive note I can bring to this is that I created Abraxas, the world THE ACCIDENTAL WARLOCK takes place in, back in 2003-04. And I set those dozen documents aside for many years before writing the book that brought me back to that world, which led to TAW's predecessor SKYBORNE, which led to TAW. So there's always hope. Ideas are never wasted, I suppose; they're just waiting.