Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What's Next? How an Author Chooses Her Next Project

My second book, Keeping Her Secret, came out in August and since then I haven't written a single word on a new book. Not because I don't have any new ideas, but because I have too many.

My first book (Dragons are People, Too) was a fast-paced, high-stakes urban fantasy and the latest was a light-hearted summer f/f romance, so I'm not really hemmed in by genre expectations. My current ideas include a fun contemporary, an other-world fantasy, a heavy contemporary, and even an epistolary historical. I love reading in all genres and want to write most of them.

My love and passion for writing hasn't diminished; I feel the pull as strongly as ever. I just can't decide what to start. We're talking about beginnings this month on YAtopia and it's got me thinking a lot about the next book.

A conversation with my agent helped me rule out one of the books, as editors aren't interested in that certain sub-genre, so I'm starting to make progress. But when you have several potential projects that excite you for different reasons, how do you choose?

One of the projects requires significantly less research than the others, so I could go the easy route and write that one. But I'm not the kind of person who takes the easy way and I actually really enjoy research. Then again, just because it doesn't require as much research doesn't make it easy.

One of the projects resolves around an issue near and dear to my heart, but it is not an easy one to discuss and every bit of it would require careful consideration. I could do my absolute best and still mess up and that is terrifying for many reasons.

I've never been so torn between projects before, so here's my plan: I'm going to take the three most promising projects and write a scene or two from each and see if anything catches. For an ENTJ and an engineer, this loosey-goosey plan makes me anxious. I wish I could develop an equation, assign values, do some excel analysis, and come out with a clear answer, but writing just doesn't work that way. But it's been too long since I put pen to page and my analytical mind is paralyzed, so I have to push it back and let the creative brain take over, if only for a little while.

Unless anyone else has a better method? I'm all ears over here.

Sarah Nicolas is a recovering mechanical engineer, library event planner, and the author of Dragons are People, Too and Keeping Her Secret. She is a contributor for Book Riot and also writes romance as Aria Kane. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing volleyball or drinking wine. Find her on Twitter @sarah_nicolas.

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