Monday, August 30, 2010

With this outline, I thee wed

As I stated in my previous post, I'm in between projects right now. I'm also having a hard time committing to any one idea. I've outlined a few here and there, but something keeps stopping me. So I was discussing this with my husband, and he asked me a very interesting question. "If publishing as we know it ended, and you could only write ONE LAST story, what kind of story would that be?"

Needless to say, it got me pondering. It reminded me of the thoughts I had while I was single. "If I have to spend the rest of my life with one guy, what kind of guy do I want him to be?" So, I did what any dreamy eyed fourteen-year-old girl would do. I made a list. The following is a direct quote from my Moleskine:

1.Unique, high concept world

2. Epic in scope
-factions, cultures

3. Strong, intelligent MC

4. Good love story
-at least a star-crossed kinda thing

5. Mountains, oceans/seaside

6. People gotta die

Here's the thing. I know I can't sit around and wait for the ULTIMATE, BEST-EVER, ENCOMPASSING-EVERYTHING-INSIDE-MY-SOUL idea. And I probably shouldn't demand that every novel I pursue have every single element I love. But I think I've reached a point where I'm willing to wait for The One.

"The One doesn't exist!" you say. "Ideas are a dime a dozen!" you say.

Perhaps. But I'm waiting anyway. Because let's face it, writing/editing a novel takes a long time. Six months, a year, a couple years. That's a huge commitment, peeps. And it's HARD! Writing a novel is hard! So I don't want to put all that time and toil into something unless I truly love it. And I don't just mean love. I've loved all my stories. (We writers tend to love pretty much anything our brilliant, precious brains dream up.)

No, I mean LOVE love. I want to write a book that I'd be okay with accepting as the last book I ever write. (Though in truth, that notion makes me really sad.) I want to write a book that I would be willing to walk down the aisle with. And so I'm not going to write another outline, until I've found it. I'm saving myself for book-writing-marriage. I'll know him/it when I see him/it. ;)

How about you? What would be on your list of The One?


Natalie Whipple said...

This is really interesting. Of course you know I don't believe in The One, so I haven't really thought about it.

I think, more than anything, I want my books to stay true to my voice, whatever they may be and whenever they get published.

Jessie Oliveros said...

Maybe I'd feel the same way in between ideas after I'd already written one (two?) books. I'd still write in the meantime "just for fun," and who knows...maybe one of those "for fun" ideas will be The One.

(Have you tried one of those online dating services?)

I liked your husband's response. Husbands are very smart about our writing. They sit and watch us pound our brains out on the computer, and they don't say much...and maybe they wouldn't if we didn't ask. But when we DO ask...Bam!

Dominique said...

Interesting point. I don't know if any of the books has ever been The One of my life, so I can't tell you that there is a One, but I do know that with the books I've written, there's always been some character in my head going, "Pick me!" I think you're right, that one's worth waiting for.

storyqueen said...

I had an idea for the longest time and I was afraid I wasn't good enough to write it....but then I finally did it. (It is the middle grade I just sold)

I think since you know what you want to write, you are going to have to go out and find it. You might be waiting a long time for it to come to you.

I say go hunting for the ONE.

That's what Indy would do:)

Renee Collins said...

Natalie-See, and for those of us less sure of what exactly our "voice" is, this could be a way to find it.

Jessie-I'm definitely not saying that everyone should wait for The One. Just me. At this particular point in my writing career (or rather, non-career.)

Dominique-Well, the truth is, I don't think there's only One. But I do think it's worthwhile to sift through our many ideas, and only commit to the gems. :)

Shelly-haha, very true. :) And to some extent, I have been looking for that idea. The other day I forced myself to let go of my editor and just list ten story ideas, bad or good. It was a pretty cool exercise. :)

Patti said...

I totally agree with you. It's almost like a marriage you're with those words, and that story for a long time, you better like them for better and for worse.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Renee, I felt like this awhile ago and Cinders came out of it all. I must say, if it was the last book I were to ever write, I'd die happy. It's everything I ever wanted, and it is truly a piece of art I'm proud of. That said, I now want to top it all and write something even better. I have all these grand plans for more books, of course.

I don't believe there's The One great book, but like Natalie, I do want whatever I write to stay true to my voice. I think Cinders does that, and that's why I love it so much.

Good luck with yours! I hope you find your foothold soon.

Miriam S. Forster said...

I don't so much wait for "the One" as I wait for an idea to be ready. If I haven't dreamed it enough or added enough ingredients, it won't work. And every idea is different. Some are frying pan ideas, some are crockpots. Very few are microwaves. :)

Renee Collins said...

Patti-For better or worse, lol. Isn't that the truth? :)

Michelle-Cinders is definitely something to be proud of. :)

Miriam-Very, very, very good point. Sometimes an idea just needs developement. Sometimes an idea that I thought was brilliant falls apart as I probe deeper. Either way, waiting is a very good idea.

lora96 said...

I like the list. And may I say I'm just really glad it wasn't the list fourteen year old you made about a soul mate. We all made those lists but they are better consigned to ignominious wastebaskets.

Number 5, People gotta die. I like that one best.