First, I always liked the use of the term ‘Albatross’ ever since I heard it. I think they’re beautiful birds and the metaphorical (is that right?) term is fun to use.
I saw a lot of posts over the weekend that mentioned writer’s block. This got me thinking about my personal pain in the butt idea. Now, what many people don’t know is that Legends of Windemere is the first series I’m writing, but it isn’t the only one that I have prepared. After spending all of my twenties doing office work and only having time to jot down ideas in notebooks, I actually have multiple series planned out to some extent. I would say between 20-30 series and stand-alone ideas, which I work on during the weekends. It is one of these other ideas that has been driving me nuts for a long time and I’m sure friends/family are tired of hearing about it.
‘Project Phoenix’ began as a super-hero story that revolved around a government-run group of heroes. It started like X-Factor turned into Avengers and then became something that I couldn’t make heads or tails out of. Things have settled slightly since I merged everything into Windemere, but this idea has become the one that plagues my mind and torments my soul. I’m always thinking about it, but I’m always scared to return to it. Part of this is because several times I’ve felt like I’ve come so close to making all of its parts fall into place. Unfortunately, these times are when I can’t write anything down (dark movie theater while ignoring the previews) and then my life hits a few days of chaos. By the end, I’m left with the feeling that I nearly fixed the problem, but I can’t remember the solution.
I’ve managed to focus on the problem, which is scale and structure. I currently have over 20 characters for this series, which is impossible to control. It also led to several characters falling into the background and never getting a chance to complete their storyline. I could never fit them in, but they weren’t strong enough to have a stand-alone book. A few managed to walk away into their own series. Then there was the problem of the ending. I have ended this series with a human/superhuman war caused by one of the heroes going rouge, a hero being corrupted by a demon inside her (again starting a war), a time rewind that a minor character has been doing to avoid the big war, good old-fashioned post-apocalyptic world with a handful of heroes left, and the heroes finishing off the ‘main baddie’ only to learn that it was another ‘main baddie’ who steps in at the end to kill most of them. That last one usually led into another series in a post-apocalyptic world.
The structure issue is that the amount of characters led to more books than I liked for the series. There was very little tying the personal stories of the books to the main plot of the series. I might have found an answer for this by having them take one of the big, abandoned cities from the old world. Each book will be a story with a few characters until the final one that has all of the characters. Similar to how they did a D&D book series called ‘The Harpers’. Most characters had only one or two books with a few cameos when it made sense. That structure might help me finally put this big baby to sleep.
So, this idea has really driven me to the point of frustration. Yet, I cannot bring myself to give it up because I feel like I would lose some amazing characters. I have also point in so much work to this idea that the thought of giving doesn’t sit well. I might end up fighting and fussing with this one until it’s the only thing I remember in my twilight years.
Do any other authors have that one idea that never worked or the idea that they can’t seem to get right no matter what they do?