What do you call it when you should be writing a specific thing – like the second installment in your novel series…ahem! – but an idea – a prompt, if you will – for a completely different story pops into your head and you abandon everything else to get something on paper? Is there an official authors term for that?
Tuesday’s are very slow days for me at my day job. They’re so slow that I often take my laptop with me and I write between my official duties and the appearance of any customers. I wrote quite a bit of my first book on Tuesday’s at work after everything there was done that I could possibly do. Yesterday was no exception. I went in to work with about 20% of Book 2 – Busy Bees written. I spent part of the weekend that wasn’t devoted to family pursuits shoring up my outline and researching some of the science and technical stuff behind a couple of my plot ideas. I had a road map and I was primed to write when the dust settled at the completion of my normal duties.
Did I actually work on my novel? Yes…eventually. While I was performing my official duties though, I was thinking about an ongoing discussion I’ve had in several venues with readers and other authors about the pros and cons of writing sex scenes into my mystery series. The general consensus has been that sex that doesn’t add to the story should be left out – that I shouldn’t write in gratuitous sex scenes for the sake of selling a few more books. I agree with that advice. I’ve never actually written any sort of erotica anyway so it was no big deal to me that the great majority of opinions expressed were against the idea. I didn’t think I could have plausibly pulled it off.
As I worked and thought, out of the blue a strange story idea came to me. It’s off the wall different than my Morelville Mystery Series…not even remotely the same. It involves an erotic tale in quite the unique venue. Though I’m a complete beginner at the idea of writing anything erotic, the idea was so intriguing and it wouldn’t go away that I had to write something down about it. Half an hour after I sat down, I had a fully fleshed out outline with a title, main character names…the works! I’d dashed off over 600 words to create the framework of a short story or even a novella and I’d even surface researched a few things in the span of that short amount of time. I had to force myself to hit save and close the file rather than begin trying to write the story right that second.
I was good and moved over to my novel. I did a bit of editing and then added another thousand words to it before business picked up and I had to take care of customers. But, the whole time I was working on my novel and doing the work of my employer, the other story called to me and begged for attention.
I know I’m going to have to try and write the new story. It will bother me – nag at me – until I do. Since I’ve never written anything like that before, I don’t know how good it will be but I’ll give it a shot. My dilemma is; do I put the novel aside and write the story now, or do I wait and write it later? I just don’t know!
What DO you call it when entire story ideas come to you out of the clear blue?!