Choose Your Own Adventure

Writing a story is the ultimate Choose-Your-Own-Adventure. Where readers of this decades-old series of books only pick the paths of major plot lines, writers have the ultimate in options. I get to pick out character names and mull over their appearances. I ponder the protagonist's purpose and agonize over the actions of the antagonist. Every item of clothing that hangs hapharzardly in a bedroom closet. . . Each stone that trips up a character as she saunters down the sidewalk. . . Argh! When I think too hard about choosing, it's a little overwhelming!

I've never been good at choices. (Which is why I shop for groceries alone - the decision making that goes into food options - organic, Non-GMO, local, on sale, brand name - is overwhelming!) I like to make a decision intuitively and be done with it. I don't enjoy spending hours contemplating the positives and negatives of my options. I will never design a new home, where you need to pick everything from the paint on each wall to the backsplash behind the stove; I break out in sweat just thinking about it! One time, I remember as a teenager listing the good and bad points of two boys I was considering dating at the time, both with the same name. That kind of deliberate decision-making didn't end well for me in that instance. Years later, when I was contemplating the benefits and drawbacks of dating a coworker, I decided with a flip of a coin. No joke. That split decision ended up well since we've been married 15 years now!

Lately my choices have expanded into which story do I work on? I have a tendancy to start one, then get an idea for another, thus abandoning the first story when the going gets rough. Starting new stories feels similar to the beginnings of a new relationship (both frienships and romantance): it's all gooey-ness and flippery-stomach feelings; the freshness is exciting and energizing. Later when the novelty wears off, relationships (and stories) are more work but infinitely more rewarding.

I promise that I am still working through Invisibles - my long-term relationship - and have two other big ideas started in the past year, but just last week came up with a REALLY FANTASTIC IDEA!!!!!! This Fantastic Idea sits in the back of my mind whenever I write anything else, niggling at me, calling to me to give it attention. Even when I'm not writing, twisty plots and fascinating characters appear, unbidden.

I feel guilty; it's kind of like literary infidelity.

I might have to use NaNoWriMo this year to get it out of my system.