Difficulties, Digressions and Distractions (Oh my!)

There actually is such a thing as having too many ideas when planning to write a novel series/saga, especially when those multitude of ideas get in the way of the actual writing process. I probably (well, most definitely) spend far too much time plotting and far less time actually writing my novel(s), which is a good thing and a not-so-good thing. Plotting does give me the opportunity to  figure out the overall structure of the novel (and of the series/saga) will unfold, with all the twists and turns that any good mystery/fantasy/science fiction series should have, but with all that pondering, planning and plotting, a tsunami of random ideas pop into my head like plot bunnies, leading me to think, rethink and re-rethink plot narratives, character development and character relationships. Sometimes the (quasi) random idea is one that I had had (and had written down, either in long hand or typed in a Word document/notepad) weeks, months, or even years ago, other times they’re combinations of older ideas with a new twist. Either way, sometimes I feel that these quasi-random ideas (in the guise of plot bunnies and Muses) have clandestine meetings and plot to distract and divert the writing process, leading to difficulties in actually starting to write the narrative for the MASC Chronicles.

[Actually, I’m kinda contemplating writing a quasi-meta series of stories with personifications of the plot bunnies, Muses and other digressing and diversionary beings doing exactly what I think they’re doing. Of course, the very idea of plotting this series in and of itself is a distraction and digression from my working on the MASC Chronicles.]

But I digress – which is at the heart of the matter.

As stated in previous blogs, I’ve thought about and plotted this saga for many, many, many years, albeit not exactly in the layout as it stands now (three series, with multiple books within each series, with one central location as the focal point in each series containing multiple generations of a handful of families). Oh so long ago (and it does feel like a lifetime as passed since the initial idea), I was planning to write a simple (sorta) trilogy of books, set over a block of time, still with one central location as its focal point and with generational families. As the years went on, and I became interested in different things (books, movies, television programs, etc.) and as current events played out in real-time, and as aspects relating to historical events were revealed,  more and more random and not-so-random ideas surfaced, which left indelible impressions on the Epic Saga. These digressions, while distracting, have been helpful in changing and clarifying the overall plot line, yet at the same time, have introduced (seemingly) infinite possibilities for which the saga can take shape.

Despite this though, I do have a multitude of expository narrative scenes (albeit most without much dialogue), most of which have been relegated as “false starts” (I have a multitude of Word document folders/files, all duly time and date stamped);  moreover, my very first attempt at novel-writing all those years ago (more years than I care to mention, though perhaps I had in an earlier blog post) was a nearly completed novel (and as a sign of my foresight, I had plotted out the ending and an epilogue). That initial novel may or may not be revived (though most definitely will be revised) and elements of that first attempt at novel-writing might find its way in this Epic Saga – there are several character names (thought not the same personalities) from that initial novel still exist, and have endured this long  journey, and it is my hope that  they make it into at least one of the series within the MASC Chronicles.

I just need to sort through all the random, weird, and totally outrageous ideas to finally figure out the exact narrative flow for the novels, series and saga. It’s already been a long journey, and I don’t even think I’ve even gotten to the midway point yet (wherever and whenever that is); needless to say the journey will go on, and I intend to make it to the  finish line.

If I can definitively figure things out – too many tangents, too many possible digressions, and too many perspectives to take into account – such is the life of a novelist.

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4 thoughts on “Difficulties, Digressions and Distractions (Oh my!)

  1. Plot bunnies. I giggled a little on the inside about that.

    I get what you’re saying about all the ideas. I can see SO many benefits to being able to plot things out in the way that you can. Structure. Allowing you to be in control of the entire thing.
    But man . . . I can’t do it.
    People (characters) just do what they want.
    I wouldn’t ever be able to put a collar around their neck and whistle at them, “Come along now, little friend. Come along. This way.”
    They do what they want.
    So I’ve gotta give you props for that.

    Those plot bunnies can be beautiful things, can’t they?
    They can completely change an entire story.

    • Indeed – ideas beget ideas and so forth… I suppose it’s a good thing that my Epic Saga has grown immensely since that first kernel of an idea lo those many years ago – I can use all (or at least most) of the ideas that spring forth randomly (and not so randomly) somewhere in my stories, or at least use elements of those ideas.

      Plot bunnies not only change the entire story (and story arc), they can change characters’ motives and personalities as well. They are hard to wrangle and contain, but every now and then an idea comes along and makes you rethink what you thought was to be true.

      [Also, as a fairly newbie Whovian, I will admit I read your lines “Come along, now little friend. Come along, This way” with Matt Smith’s voice in my head. It’s going to be a LONG wait until November…]

      • Yes, ideas certainly beget ideas.
        Honestly, I love series/saga writing. I feel like (and this is just my opinion) a story can’t actually be told (at least not to its potential) in one book. You can’t get as attached to the characters when reading it, or as emotionally invested in their lives (story).

        I’ve had a great many plot bunnies. Easy to get a little angry with them sometimes (especially when you think you’ve got everything ALL figured out, and HERE THEY COME, screwing up everything), but generally? They make everything so much better, and so much more elaborate and whatnot.

        I feel like people consider you a newbie Whovian if you haven’t been watching it for years, which I haven’t. I started watching it . . . about a year or so ago, actually. But oh my god, do I love it. I despise the word ‘noob’ in any of its varying forms. What does being new at something matter if you love it? I say it doesn’t. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-watched episodes.
        So you and I are not newbie Whovians; we are just WHOVIANS.

        And seriously? I would not complain – not EVER – about hearing Matt Smith’s voice in my head. Just saying . . .

        Also, I am dreading November.

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