Deep down, every author wants to write that epic book or series, the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings that moves a generation, becomes a major motion picture, and makes you so successful that you never need to work a day job again. It may not be an all-consuming thought, and that certainly doesn't mean you're not going to write and even publish other things, but I firmly believe somewhere in the back of every writer's mind is that desire to write an epic story.
For me, Defenders is that story. It's a five-book series, and by the end of book five, I truly expect it to change lives. It's got romance, action, philosophy and politics all rolled into one, like The Giver meets The Hunger Games but with werewolves (and a host of other supernatural creatures). I have big dreams for this series.
So why am I writing Angels instead?
Unless you follow me on Twitter, I know I haven't talked much about Angels. It sort of came out of nowhere. I wrote half the first chapter during NaNoWriMo last year, then stuffed it in a metaphorical drawer in lieu of finishing Rosetta, starting Defenders and writing some short stories. It was really just a silly little writing exercise when I had writer's block one day.
Which is what happened again a few weeks ago. I had writer's block on Defenders, so I looked through some old projects to get my mind off it for a little while. Angels popped up, and I wrote a little more. Then a little more the next day. And again, and again, until I'm now 3,000 words into it, and it's starting to develop a plot.
Perhaps the scariest thing about it is that it's middle grade fiction. I've written MG fiction before, mostly when I was in the middle grades. The only MG thing I've written since graduating middle school, however, is The-Novel-We-Speak-Not-Of.
For those of you who haven't been following my blog since last November (so... everyone), I consider my third novel (and 2009 NaNo submission) to be the lowest point of my writing career so far, made all the worse by the fact that I had been sitting on the plot for several years before getting up the nerve to write it. Badly.
(Kim says it isn't as bad as I think it is. I agree. It can't possibly be. The Hindenburg wasn't as bad as I think this novel is.)
Needless to say, I have some concerns. I don't speak like a normal person to begin with. I like vocabulary, and I like using words to their fullest extent. I like grammar, and I like using it properly. 13-year-old girls do not do this, or at least not often. Not the ones in my story. And the 13-year-old girls I used to talk to are now in high school (I have a lot of younger neighbors). So what makes me think I can write this character and her friends convincingly?
I'm also afraid that the minute I put any pressure on this (i.e. call it an actual WIP), it'll crack. It feels so very fragile right now. I guess all books do when I first start out, but I think my insecurities are making this one worse.
The flip side of this is that 1) the words seem to be really flowing with this one, and 2) I'm having a ton of fun writing it. Which is a really nice change, considering how difficult Defenders is being. I guess I'm just confused because I've seen myself as an adult author, and I've seen myself as a YA author, but I'd never even considered the possibility I might also be a MG author.
Of course, I'm only 3,000 words in. Maybe I'm just getting ahead of myself.
Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? Every gotten really into writing a book you never expected? Or ever written something you didn't think you knew how to write? Or should I just shut up and be glad the words are coming?