Back in October, I planned on using this idea for a haunted house/portal fantasy that I’d had rolling around in my head for a few months. I smashed two ideas together and I ran with it. I took a week of vacation (because I had to use it before Jan or I’d lose it) and I hammered out 62,000 words of a rough draft in the first week of NaNoWrioMo. (Please, other writers, don’t hate me)
And I nano’ed too hard and fell out of love with the hot-mess of a dumpster fire that was my rough draft.
I was more concerned with word count than with the story, and the story that I wrote was watery and winding and at times felt like a contemporary rom com, other times a gaslamp fantasy, and then like it was trying really hard to be a horror story.
And I didn’t have an angle to draft it into a first draft. I didn’t have that “szooz” about revising it. I fell out of love with the contemporary setting, the characters who felt like watery version of other characters, the side characters with no purpose/personality. My brain shut down a quarter of the way into the revision process, and I ended up staring at the document one Saturday, unable to move forward with it.
I wasn’t feeling it.
I had fallen out of love with the project.
And that is okay. It’s a part of being an author.
I had, weeks before, attempted to revise that old Aladdin retelling that didn’t end up being retelling into a project for Kindle Vella, but I couldn’t get through the first chapter. I wasn’t feeling it. The project wasn’t calling to me. So I didn’t move forward with it.
And then, after giving up on the portal fantasy/haunted house on Saturday, I woke up on Sunday and started in on that Aladdin retelling that’s not really a retelling. I measured out the chapters into Vella chunks. I revised my way through seven chapters. Seven. Not too shabby.
Strangely enough, the Aladdin retelling was now calling to me. “Revise me,” it whispered. “Revise me.”
It’s strange how certain projects call to me. I have to feel that connection to a project before I can dive whole-heartedly into its plot and characters. It’s like my favorite piece of writing advice, that in order to write, you have to be a little bit obsessed with whatever you’re writing.
And I totally think what we are reading influences how we write. For example, when I plotted the haunted house/portal fantasy, I was watching a Fatal Frame playthrough on YouTube, and I was reading Book Lovers by Emily Henry. The two of them combined into my WIP. When I was drafting that Aladdin retelling that’s not really a retelling, I was reading Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, so there are elements of that duology in it.
And when I fell out of love with my contemporary haunted house/portal fantasy, I’d started reading Forging Silver into Stars, a high fantasy. And I started revising a high fantasy.
But the cool thing about WIPs is that you can have as many as you want, as many as your imagination can create. You can come back to an idea whenever you want, as often as you want, and wait until you feel it calling to you.
Because there is magic in that connection. There is magic in the feeling that pulls you to a story idea. That magic is what sends us into that writing frenzy where we write into the night, typing so wildly that it sounds like hail. That is magic. No argument will convince be otherwise.
Go find your magic!