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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | What Now? (and a Winner)

What Now? (and a Winner)

Last week I turned in my CAGED GRAVES revisions to my editor. After five weeks of intensive work, I was very excited by the results and proud of the new version of the manuscript.  Very quickly, however, the thrill of completion turned into the uncertainty of … what do I work on now?
There’s a “high” to being deeply involved in a manuscript, and I’ve always experienced a bit of depression after completing a draft.  “Coming down” is hard! This feeling can usually be remedied by jumping into some other project as soon as possible.  
New ideas have so much potential.  They can go anywhere, be anything.  Once I start to work on the idea, however, possibilities begin to narrow.  Whether I’m pantstering or plotting, every time I make a decision, I close off doors to other pathways, other books I might have written.  And lately, I’ve been looking at my WIPs and new ideas and wondering: Have I taken the wrong path on these?
There’s the story that reached 55k words and was fast approaching the climax.  I put it aside to work on CAGED GRAVES, and now I am reluctant to return to it.  It has major problems, and I’m not sure exactly where I took a wrong turn.  First drafts are allowed to be a mess, but this one seems more shaky than most.
There’s the new idea I’m outlining.  I really like the premise, but the more I work on the outline, the more I wonder if I’m taking it in the right direction. It seems to be heading well outside my comfort zone, and since I haven’t started a draft, I don’t know my characters well enough to know if I’m picking the right paths for them.  That’s the thing about being a pantster: I’m used to my characters showing me the way.  And they don’t do that until I put them on the page.
And then there’s an even newer idea that came to me this weekend.  Actually, it’s a re-working of a previous idea that came to nothing.  But I suddenly see a new way to approach it.
I’m not sure what to work on next!  But I know what I want. I want to fall in love with a new story.  I wish one of the ones I have in mind would make a move on me!

Moving on to other matters, I need to announce the winner in the drawing for a signed copy of Elisa Ludwig’s debut novel PRETTY CROOKED.  I put all the names in a jar and let Gina pick one.  

Gina says: “Huzzah! The winner is JOHANNA GARTH!”

(Really, she said that. Gina is weird.)

Congratulations, Johanna! Contact me by email with your mailing address — or I’ll contact you when I get home from a bazillion hours of parent conferences today. (Okay, 4 hours.)

21 Responses to What Now? (and a Winner)

  1. Sarah says:

    I love saying “Huzzah!” and do it at least once a day, sometimes at random intervals. Congrats on finishing your revisions!! Switching back and forth between half-completed projects and revisions on a different project is quite difficult. I’m about to do that myself, and can only hope I’ve still got momentum on the wip when I return to it. Good luck with your conferences today!

  2. Jaime Loren says:

    I know exactly what you mean, Dianne! I have plenty of new ideas, but I’m not feeling that pull I felt with my previous manuscript.

    It’s a strange feeling, because I know these other ideas are really good ones.

    I guess it’s like coming out of a serious relationship. You’ve remained really good friends with your previous manuscript, and you’re open to seeing new manuscripts, but you’re not entirely ready for anything serious. 😉 Maybe that’s the point. Aren’t you supposed to go out and have fun? Perhaps a little socialising on the pages and getting to know your new characters will lead to something special. 🙂

  3. I’m at the same point. I finished a porject and I feel empty. I don’t know what to work on next. Funny, my post today is about this too.

  4. Congrats Johanna! I get where you’re at Dianne. I’m going to revise FOSSEGRIM as soon as I get it back from one more beta. But I also started the opening chapter to the cooking story, and I’m outlining the sequel to FOSSEGRIM in my head, and I have the old circus story that has been bopping around in my head lately a lot too. I’m not sure what I should work on when! I think I’m going to concentrate on the cooking story for now but it’s slow going.

  5. I’m in a tough spot where I’m working on revisions and drafting new stuff because I usually end up editing too much while I write.

  6. Oh, I have been thinking this exact thing all week, what next?

    I am waiting to get GODSPEED back (very busy copy editor) and debating what to do now. I have actually thought about revisiting my first novel MS ever (it’s totally different, contemporary romance) and I want to but now that there is this move on the horizon in a couple months and a bunch of other stuff going on, I know I have to be patient, wait out finishing this project (anxious to get going!) and work on short things in the mean time.

    Unless shiny new idea makes itself known…

    Another great post. Thanks for giving voice to something so hard to describe!


  7. T. Drecker says:

    Congratulations on finishing the revisions! I know what you mean about the inbetween phase. This last time, I couldn’t get really excited to start any ideas, so I tried a short story in a totally, extremely new genre. It was horribly fun (even if I’m not switching genres in general 😉 )and helped me to gain a couple new prespectives.

  8. Linda G. says:

    Congrats to Johanna! 🙂

    Hope your between-WIPs limbo is filled with a new love soon.

    Could it be you just need to take a little break and recharge your batteries? Sometimes, if I’m feeling at loose ends, I tell myself I may not write–that I have to do other things–until I just can’t stand not writing any more. Denying myself seems to appeal to my contrary muse.

  9. I’m so happy you finished your revisions. And so many possibilities for your next manuscript. That’s exciting! Keep us updated on what you choose. Good luck 🙂

  10. Mina Burrows says:

    Idea overload! I know, I suffer from it daily! Little by little right? Congrats on the revisions! 🙂

  11. KrysteyBelle says:

    Can’t wait to see what you come up with. (I hope it’s Freeze.)

  12. Congrats! Maybe you should force yourself to take a little break before jumping into a new project. Recharge the old batteries and let you thoughts simmer freely until THE right project for you becomes obvious. (Hey! What happened to the book on Tesla?)

  13. Congrats to Johanna.

    I love that–putting a move on you.

    I realized Monday that I need to separate the three POVs of my NaNo project and do a little outline for each, keeping them separate. I think it will make this edit move along better because, right now, it’s kicking my butt.

  14. DL Hammons says:

    I’ve already told you about my newest toy…and I’m still playing with it before getting serious. I’m hoping to write the first chapter this weekend (if I get my desk moved).


  15. mshatch says:

    but…but… what about Ardeth? What’s the truth behind the caves? And how did Cafe’s first wife really die? C’mon! You can’t leave me stranded…unless you have something new and shiny…

  16. CONGRATS to the winner!

  17. Man. I sure feel you on that post revision depression. I went through a hard two weeks of it recently. I knew I needed to start something new, but I was CONVINCED I had no ideas.

    Of course I was wrong, I just needed a kick in the pants to realize it.

  18. Lenny Lee* says:

    hi miss dianne! hooray for miss johanna! its fun winning a cool book. im thinking you should just stop trying to think and go have some fun. then when your not thinking…WHAMO! youll know just what your gonna do. thatll be a huzzah moment for sure! ha ha.
    …hugs from lenny

  19. Congratulations to Johanna.

    Well done to you too, on finishing your revisions. I wish you luck in whatever you end up doing next 🙂

  20. Mama J says:

    Congratulations on finishing your revisions.

    I always find t difficult starting a new book because I remember how involved I was with my last set of characters and I’m not there with my new ones. I should know that’s because I spent months with the old characters but I don’t seem to see it that way at the time!

    I’ve started giving myself to 10,000 words whereby if I’m not “into” the book by then, I have “permission” to stop and move onto something else without investing too much into it.

  21. Interesting reading your revision journey. I’m about to start on that five week intensive! Way to go for finishing and making a better book. Give yourself a break before you dive back into your wip! You deserve it.