I won NaNoWriMo yesterday! I have to dedicate this win to Written? Kitten!, #Ch1ConRUN, and most especially @NaNoWordSprints. It's been a tough run for me, probably the hardest since the first time I did NaNoWriMo, and I think working on this novel in the future will also be hard. It's strange and different and difficult to get through, but once I get it all together, it'll be a good one.
When you're an artist, you have to pick and choose what ideas to run with and which to hold off on. Some you even throw away completely. The way people make these decisions, I think, tends to reflect what their purpose is in writing. Some of it is done by instinct (some ideas light in your mind so strongly you can't let them go), but there's also a qualifier underneath that. For example, you may be writing primarily to give others an escape, or to sort out your own brain, or to expose the truth.
A lot of this hinges on your moral code, the things you prioritize in your life. Morality and art tend to be the two things at the core of an artist, I think, so it's impossible to separate them oftentimes.
For me, writing is a mix of addressing the issues I'm facing in my life and wanting to make a positive difference in others' lives. The things I believe in, religiously, morally, and otherwise, are the center of my novels. For example, I am a terrible romantic and this shows in all my books, with the triumph of courage and love and friendship. I also, as a conservative religious person, have drawn lines as to what kind of content I'll include in my novels in terms of language, sex, drugs, etc. (This one can be difficult, as you need to reflect real life and stay in the head of someone who isn't you while staying true to those standards in your writing. It's a tough balance. For SAMMI, there have been more cuss words than I have ever used in my life, thanks to the POV.)
These things all affect my process when it comes to deciding which which ideas to use. In the past, I've abandoned a number of ideas and even trunked completed novels for moral, quality, and artistic reasons. So I figured today, I'd talk a bit about why, exactly, I abandoned these books. (Note that I might change my mind about any of these at any point--I do tend to do that.)
AN EXPLORATION OF MY NOT-FOR-USE FOLDER
THE GHOST CATCHERS: MG epic fantasy, abandoned a few years after completion because it was too short, it was just slightly too close to real life in some character aspects, and the plot was very basic and ill-formed. Some key points from the story have been revamped and included in the Merciful Trilogy.
THE PROPHECY KEEPER: YA epic fantasy, very recently written and abandoned, which was hard on me. I abandoned it because it had been done as in exercise in the standard hero's journey using religious typography, and in the end, naturally, it was too cliche. I will adapt some key ideas into later books, though.
THE PSYCHIC STORY: YA fantasy romance, one of my more famous novels among my beta readers and a crucial part of my development as a writer, abandoned recently because the structure of the war occurring in the book wasn't very realistic and my lack of real-life knowledge made it impossible for me to fix it. I may rewrite this novel someday.
TWIST: YA epic fantasy, abandoned somewhat recently because it was written more out of wish fulfillment than as honest art. It was darker in feel than I want my works to come out as and also had some (unintentionally) un-feminist parts to it. Many of the ideas from this book have been revamped into different novels and more are set to be revamped into upcoming works.
THE FOUR ELEMENTS: YA fantasy, abandoned a couple of years after completion because it was too similar to real life in character basis especially and because the plot was awkwardly written with no real structure. This book was the first, however, to truly develop the aspects and themes that tend to be echoed throughout my works.
THE WALLS OF DREAMLAND: MG fantasy, abandoned soon after completion because it was aimless in plot and had too dark of a feeling to it, similar to TWIST. Concepts in this novel will be revamped into a new book, tentatively for NaNoWriMo 2015.
FITNESS DAY AND THE END OF THE WORLD: MG contemporary, abandoned immediately after completion because it was disastrously close to real life and also didn't really come to any conclusion. Up until recently, I had given up on contemporary writing completely because of this novel.
ISLAND OF THE HUMANHUNTERS: MG fantasy adventure, abandoned just before hitting the climax because it was too close to real life and was written out of wish fulfillment with no real point to it. It also wasn't very much my style, in the end.
DREAMLAND IN DESPAIR: MG fantasy, abandoned just before hitting the climax because it was clumsily written and too close to real life. Some of the ideas were revamped into THE WALLS OF DREAMLAND, which, as noted above, will be revamped into a new novel soon.
CATWAR: MG fantasy coauthored with another young writer, abandoned after a couple of chapters because we had a fight. Also not really my style.
VICTORIA: YA murder mystery with fantasy elements, abandoned after a couple of chapters because the plot idea was too complicated and because I wasn't sure what point I personally was trying to make with it. Not my genre or style.
WELCOME TO REALITY: YA thriller, abandoned after a couple of chapters because I didn't trust myself with anything too realistic after FITNESS DAY and because the concept seemed too convoluted for me to pull off.
SUPERCHICK AND SUPERGUY: MG superhero novel coauthored with my brother, abandoned after a couple of chapters because he lost interest and I wasn't sure where to go with it. Some ideas from this were revamped into the Chosen Four series.
THE LEGACY CONTINUES: MG superhero novel, abandoned after a couple of chapters because of copyrights and an uncertain plot direction.
THE PERFECTION GUILD: YA speculative fiction, abandoned after eight chapters because I felt I personally could not write the story without it becoming a moral and personal problem, with some of the connotations and the direction it could take. A few very basic things from the story were revamped into the MERCIFUL TRILOGY.
OCEAN OF TIME: YA sci-fi, abandoned after multiple restarts and eleven chapters because much of the idea was too convoluted and the worldbuilding was awful. Some ideas from this will be revamped in future novels, particularly the potential NaNoWriMo 2015 one.
Many of these ideas and more are available on my Adopt a Novel Idea post for you to adapt in your own way. Them being wrong for me does not make them wrong for you! You can also add your own abandoned ideas to that post if you'd like.
Thanks for checking in and I'll see you next time for our December humor post!
Image via sicklesmarket.com.
Why I Hate James Pat...
Hitler and Mother Ter...
The Lesser Evil: Femi...
Guest Post: 5 Fandom...
PTSD and the Hunger...
Successful People W...