I had planned to take the next couple of months off, or at least easy, writing-wise. Haley was by far the hardest thing I've written in a lot of ways, and I figured I'd be a lot better off with some recovery time before tackling another novel's complexities.
I started Falling From Ground on Wednesday.
Having figured out the name issue, words leapt into my head, and kept insisting on themselves in that "We're not leaving until you write us down" way. It's always a sign when that happens, so I scrambled about and started typing. I've jotted down other snippets and things, but this one went into an official file named CHAPTER.01, so the novel really is begun.
That snippet did bring other snippets with it, but they kept not quite fitting together and side-tracking and.... I've said before that I'm an intuitive writer, and having to stop every couple of sentences to Figure Something Out is not the way I write. Except when it is, which was far too much of the last novel. I don't like it. It's not fun. And one of the reasons I wanted some time off is that I really wanted to get some space between me and that way of working, in hopes that it would go away and not come back and I could return to just transcribing my back-brain's product. So even though I got a respectable chunk (for me) done, I was not entirely happy with it.
In fact, I was funking out a bit about how this might be the new normal. It didn't help that the short-story idea I've been letting percolate hasn't been coming together, and it seemed to need me to sit down and brainstorm, up in the front of the brain and deliberately, something about the MC. Which, I just, NO.
Somewhere in the process of whining about all this to my housemate, it occurred to me that I might be trying to figure things out in advance not because that's what this story needs, but because I was so disconcerted about the surprise additional 15,000 words on the first book, and I so disliked the constant brick-walling on the third one as some new problem reared its head, that I've been over-compensating to try to avoid that. Maybe what I should do is just sit down and see what words happen.
As soon as I said that, the MC promptly named herself. And the snippet of words that had the seed of the story idea came back sounding like an opportunity and not a wall.
And I did sit down, and several hundred words flowed out of my fingers as if somebody's finally turned on the faucet. And when I thought I'd hit a good stopping point, and was on the verge of shutting down for the night, more words appeared. And more words, and more.... I think I did the final save-and-backup four or five times before my brain stopped giving me oh-just-one-bit-more. I've got an MC and a SC and a bunch of world-building and I didn't have to plan out one bit of it in advance.
So it's follow the short story and see where it leads. And for FFG, it's maybe get some sleep so you can keep the X in mind that Y is wending toward, but otherwise, stop stopping and trying to figure things out; you had an idea before, self, just roll with it. Your back-brain doesn't generally steer you wrong, so stop roadblocking it, already.
Sometimes you need to check the road map. But sometimes, you just need to get in the car and drive.