I've just begun the initial notes for a new novel. My first novel, a YA fiction about faeries, is out on some agent's desk awaiting a rejection (or acceptance, be optimistic!) letter right now. My second, a novel about ghosts in a hotel, is almost a complete first draft. This third novel, though, feels entirely different.
As you can see, I don't focus on one project at a time. I'm way too easily distracted for that, and I switch between projects daily. Eventually, though, they all get completed.
In her book “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert writes that she believes ideas are things of their own, floating through the atmosphere just waiting for the right creator to latch on to, to be their vessel into the physical world. I don't know that I entirely believe in her theory, but if there were ever a moment for me to start to it would be the moment this third book idea came to me.
This is the first time a book idea has come to me with a full story arc. I immediately knew where this story was going. Usually I get a beginning, perhaps an ending, and the rest is like my pen is taking me on a wild carpet ride as I learn what happens along with my characters.
My faery novel has had plot issues and I've struggled with the character building throughout. My hotel ghost story came to me as a series of scenes with no real continuity between them. This story, we'll call it the Story of Grainne, came to me with a full image of the entire story arc. I knew immediately who Grainne was, what she wants, and how she will get what she wants from the world.
I've learned through the beginning stages of this new book project that writing really doesn't happen with any sort of plan or method. Stephen King says don't carry a notebook anywhere, the best ideas will stick in your mind and you won't be able to get rid of them. Every other writer on the planet seems to say carry one. Some writers say you should make an outline. Others say definitely don't.
I say, follow your instincts. Use those writing guides and tips lists to get ideas and try everything once, but if your gut says to do something a certain way, follow your gut. This is art, art is visceral.
Katrina's first book By the River is due out in February 2016. For more info and author updates check out her blog/website: