I recently finished the first draft of what I hope is the first of many more books in a series.
I want to start writing the outline for the second novel, but it isn’t coming as easily as I thought/hoped. I’m stuck on the big ideas and not on what knew things/new stories/new worlds I could be creating. Instead, the blank screen with a cursor stares at me with the occasional blink to let me know that nothing new has been written.
You see, my brain doesn’t work the way it should in this writing game. The rule is that the best way to succeed is to create a series of books to write about. That way, when someone finishes up your first book you lead them on to your next one. You set it in the same world/universe and that way you can show your readers that if they want the latest Urban Fantasy series or Sci-fi series or whatever, you’ve got them covered.
This isn’t nefarious. It’s called giving the readers what they want. My first novel, The Dark That Follows, is about a Fortune Teller who sees no future for one of the people who come in to get their future read. In the process of trying to help this person, he finds himself involved in dark magics, other mystical places, and dealing with beings from beyond his understanding. It is strictly set in modern times and would fall cleanly into the Urban Fantasy genre.
There has been more than one person who read the book and asked when book two might come out.
Yeah, about that…
See this is my problem. I like various things. I’m not just a Fantasy reader. I’m not just a Sci-Fi reader. I like a bunch of different types of stuff. I love Superheroes, but I also love things that are more down to earth.
I’m a genre hopper. I can’t help it. And I write things that I’d like to read. This means that on those days when I want to watch or read something that is Horror, it’s great. Or when that Steampunk movie comes out, I’m interested.
And I don’t think I’m alone in that.
Now I know that there are plenty of people who may like one genre and they stick to it and only it. Anything else might just be a distraction for the briefest moments. My Step-Father-in-Law doesn’t like fantasy or sci-fi stuff. He is more of a historical fiction type guy. And that’s great!
But it also means that he’s not checking out that Urban Fantasy series. He’s not in it for a 5 book series about the colonists traveling the stars.
What do you do when your brain wants to write one thing but you know you should be writing something else? I think that’s where Writer’s Block begins and ends. Because your brain knows what you should be doing, because you know what you should be doing (whatever that is) and you are preventing yourself from doing those things in the hopes of… what, exactly? Someone on the internet told you different than what you wanted to do?
Maybe it is time to trust yourself?
Maybe if you do that then the writer’s block will begin to lift. Maybe it will show you the path you should be on?
Or perhaps you should start brainstorming, taking every idea that could be related to this and everything else that pops into your head and put it down on paper. Writers are excavators, after al. It doesn’t take much to find the shimmer of gold buried under all that dirt and rock.
Or maybe I just need to embrace it, stop fighting myself, and see where the roads take me.
John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!
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He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com