Before I start this week's entry, I'd like to remind y'all that last week's was my query letter for STARWIND. If you have a moment to take a look, I could always use a few extra eyes on it before I start sending it out and playing the "PLEASE LOVE ME!" game again. Thanks.
So, I've been thinking. (This is a process that never stops as long as I'm aware that I'm awake.) I've been working on quite a few different things recently, as I'm in that wonderful stage of plot preparation where I try to figure out what works and what doesn't. There are a lot of ups and downs in this part of the process, and a lot of sound and fury, if by 'sound' you mean the rapid-fire rattling of my keyboard as I try to type out ideas as fast as I can before I lose them and if by 'fury' you mean my rapid-onset dismay when things fall apart for one reason or another.
Through all of this, I've started to notice a pattern: the ideas that hit me the hardest, the ones that beg to be written, are rarely the ones that pan out.
I've gone through a few different iterations of something I thought was going to be deep and dark and amazing, one of the most personal stories I've ever told. After so many strong emotions invested in the creation of the characters and setting, I have no idea what to do with it and have set it aside several times already. Hell, I even spun something else off of it, thinking it was going to be new iteration and realizing it was a completely separate project, and that one's in a state of "I have notes and a plot outline, and no longer want to work on it." Something about this strikes me as off - if it's a story I'm so passionate about, shouldn't I be driven as all hell to tell it?
And then there's the flipside, a little book I've mentioned here a time or two: STARWIND. This was not a passion project. I wanted to tell a "crew on a ship" sort of story, I liked the idea of traveling between all kinds of worlds, so I put together a bunch of things I thought would be cool and figured out how to make a story out of them. Not only has that turned out to be one of the best things I've written in a long time, I have a full draft of the plot for the sequel, and it worked out better than I thought it would.
This is the part where I stare at my monitor with my hands clenched in writerly fury, and shout/whine "Whyyyyyyy. . . .", and never get an answer. -_- I know some people say not to question the process, but no, I'm going to question the hell out of this.
It's possible that I'm having trouble with passion projects because I get too emotionally invested in them. Thinking about how amazing something's going to be when it's a scattered collection of images in my head seems like a really good way to make myself choke when it's time to turn those images into a story. Whereas the other stories come to me as more of a "what if" or "how would that work" sort of thing - more wondering than realization. The emotional investment comes from working on the story and figuring it out, rather than from getting smacked upside the head with a supposedly brilliant idea.
I don't know if this is something I can change, but it is something I can watch out for. I can try to develop the sudden ideas more slowly, and not put so much mental weight on them. With this, I can try to understand that if there really is a good story there, I'll figure it out as I work on it. And I can try to hold onto the stories I want to tell the most, rather than just the ones I could work out.
Does anyone else have this problem? If not, have you seen any pattern in what you can make work for you and what you can't? Either way, how do you deal with it?