Changing Directions?

Happy Monday!

This weekend sort of threw me a curve ball.  Here I am, happily (re)plotting my YA contemporary novel and an idea for a sci-fi-esque YA slams into my brain and won’t let me go.  So now I have a stack of cards and notes all relating to this idea that has gripped me, but I’m looking at my other WIP going, “Oh man, what do I do?  Do I finish what I’ve just barely started or do I run with something that I am SO passionate about it keeps me awake at night?”  (True story.  I got three hours of sleep last night because I couldn’t stop thinking of this new idea.)
So now, I’m at a crossroads.  Truth is, either one would be my first novel, and either story is a great story to be told.  I feel like I’m an idea machine.  I literally have boxes of index cards filled with ideas and “what ifs” and all of those little lovely nuggets that could birth a fantastic novel.  The one thing I struggle with is the focus.  So do I focus and write the contemporary novel that I’ve already begun, or do I strike while the iron is hot and take off with this idea I love, coming back to my contemporary at a later time?
Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this?  If so, what did you do?  
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2 thoughts on “Changing Directions?

  1. My advice: exorcise your demons.

    There's not going to be a lot of movement on your previous WIP as long as your brain is consumed by this other thing that it wants to think about.

    It's not like spending time on a side project is going to be BAD for your writing. You're still going to develop as a writer, and you'll try things that will feed back into your original WIP. It's all productive; just productive in different directions.

    Also, it's nice to see others using the “index card” approach. So many people, particularly on Twitter, seem to be obsessed with word counts and getting words down on paper–which is important, don't get me wrong, but isn't any way to exercise quality control. Planning is so important when you're trying to produce something of quality.

  2. Thanks for the response! I like how you put it: “exorcise my demons.” When I think about it, that's truly what it comes down to for the sanity of my writer's brain.

    And I love using index cards. I actually got that from Roz Morris' “Nail Your Novel” and I've found it to be extremely helpful when plotting or something new pops into my head. I've found that I'm truly not a pantser, but I'm not a hardcore plotter either. I just need some key points to guide me through and get me to where I'm going. Landmarks, if you will, on the map of my book.

    Thanks again for your insight. It's much appreciated.

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