Endings and beginnings

Sometime by the end of the month I’ll send my editor my draft of My Lady Defiant, my next full-length historical romance and a sequel to A Dream Defiant.

The first thing I intend to do after I hit the send button is take a week or two off from writing. I mean to read a lot, finally bake cupcakes with my daughter (I bought her a cake decorating kit and some cupcake books for her birthday in early April, but my weekends have been all about the writing of late), and get back onto Weight Watchers. I know, I know, Weight Watchers AND cupcakes. But I can manage both. Everything in moderation. Except reading. I mean to be very immoderate in that.

Cupcakes
Image from Dixie Belle Cupcake Cafe, used under a Creative Commons license

But then comes the momentous decision of what to write next. Oh, part of the answer has to be My Lady Defiant’s sequel. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger or anything, this being a romance. Yet it does have its share of unanswered questions begging to be addressed, and I mean to answer them in the hero’s younger sister’s story.

However, before I start that sequel, I want to spend my summer trying something different. Very different. My husband recently wrote a blog post about the importance of crop rotation for creative types, and reading it made me realize I need to plant some alfalfa in the form of a fantasy novel, or maybe a contemporary romance. Maybe even that time travel baseball story I came up with while sitting at the ballpark several years back waiting for a Mariners game to start. Or I’ve got that vampire-slaying, garlic-wielding French chef in a Regency-set paranormal, because the fictional world needs more badass chefs. I have lots of ideas–more than I know what to do with, really. Maybe I’ll make a list and let random.org do the picking.

If you’re a writer or other creative type, what do you do for crop rotation?

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7 Responses to Endings and beginnings

  1. HJ says:

    I use this technique whenever I hit a brick wall in what I’m studying, or thinking about generally. I let it lie fallow while I focus on something else, and I often find when I come back to it I can see a clear way forward. So I can see how it would extend to a whole project, such as a book; much as it’s useful and possibly inspiring to be completely immersed in a particular set of characters, or historical period, sometimes a bit of relief and absence could let possibilities percolate in peace while your active mind is elsewhere.

    • susanna says:

      I’m amazed how often this works in small ways. My day job involves a lot of troubleshooting and high-level customer service, and it amazes me how often I’ll look at a new issue late in the afternoon, draw a complete blank, think, “So-and-So who’s an expert on this has already left for the day, but I’ll consult with her in the morning.” But then, the next morning, I don’t have to talk to So-and-So after all because the answer is that obvious. It’s as if I grow a new brain overnight.

  2. Elena Greene says:

    I’m delighted to hear there will be a sequel to A DREAM DEFIANT!

    I’m not comfortable switching genres (I feel I’d have to be more prolific to make that work from a business sense) but I find that doing other creative activities helps to keep me fresh: crochet, playing piano, jewelry making.

    • susanna says:

      I don’t think I’m really prolific enough that switching genres makes sense from a business perspective, but right now I feel driven to do it regardless just to stay fresh, and because I have all these ideas poking insistently away at my brain! I liked that article in RWR a month or two back about “Sunday books” where you give yourself permission to try something completely different.

      • Elena Greene says:

        I didn’t mention that my other genre ideas aren’t tugging at me very strongly at this point. If they were, I’d think about how to work them in, because IMHO keeping the muse happy is ultimately good business.

  3. Like Elena I am not comfortable switching genres, however, I have ideas for a couple of Regency set paranormal series I might dabble at from time to time.

    I also quilt and cross stitch when I get stuck on my writing.

    • susanna says:

      My main non-writing creative outlets are singing and cooking, and one thing I love about them that you don’t get from writing is the immediate feedback. If that new recipe doesn’t work or I missed the altos’ entrance in that one tricky section of the Hallelujah Chorus, I know it right away!

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