This weekend, I posted twice about my vampire detective, Andrew. He has such an interesting story, and I’ve been really feeling the vibe to dig into it. I originally wrote his short story two years ago, and it was wonderful. I’ve always, always, always wanted to write about vampires, and this short story was the beginnings of a future novel. I knew that there was so much more in there to explore, so much I could pull apart and play with. When I wrapped on Alex (and finally figured out how to let go), I felt ready to move on. Ready to play with something new.
I spent some time reading, loitering on Tumblr, bingeing on Netflix, but I’m starting to feel the bug again. I want to create something. So, I started letting my brain wander again. I asked the question, what’s next?
I was circling between three stories. The first, and the most obvious, the one I said I was going to work on next, is Mason. I want to write his story, I really do, but the problem is that it’s changed. A lot. The original novel I wrote for Mason isn’t even the starting point anymore. If I’m diving into him again, it’s an entirely new story with new characters, a new plot, and a kind of new setting. I’m just not ready for that. Mason was the result of several months of writing short stories, and then several weeks of research, planning, and writing. I don’t even know the purpose of his story anymore. Eventually, I’ll get back to the novel I originally wrote for him, but there are at least two that come before that, and I don’t know what their purpose is yet. I don’t know why I’m writing them, why he needs to be in those spaces. It’s like a brand new idea again. He needs to stew for a while. I’m just not in the right headspace to work on him like that right now.
Which is okay, but that means I’m eliminating one of my three. The second one is one that just recently came to me. Which definitely contradicts all of the above about Mason because starting a brand new story is the same exact thing, but Mason is a character I’ve already gotten to know, and thus someone I need to reshape. This tends to take a bit more work than creating something new. And it’s not just that he’ll require more work–I’m just not ready to write him again yet. He’s going to be so different, and I need to figure him out. Slowly. Back to this new story, though. Sister witches. I’ve got most of the characters done–two witches living together with their demon friend (they accidentally made friends with him when they summoned him, and he decided to stick around). The plot felt like it was going to come pretty easily enough, and I was excited to work with women for a change.
And yet, that wasn’t right either. I want to write it, yes, but it’s not jumping at me. I shrug when I think about it. Yeah, that’d be cool. It’s not like the Pen boys, which I spent hours talking about when I first thought of them, days thinking of nothing but them, whole months obsessing over them. It was a bone deep ache. I needed to write their story. Sister witches? Eh, someday.
Alright, only one novel idea left, then. Andrew Levi, the vampire detective. I was excited. Was I finally about to get the chance to write about him? I’m always coming back to his Pinterest board to add things or to just scroll through it, wondering when it would be time. Was this it? Was it time?
Honestly, I’m not sure, and I’m fairly frustrated about that.
I’ve got all the characters ready for it. Andrew, turned around Alexander the Great’s reign, and so potentially very old. Once the head of a coven, but forced out, so he fled to Boston, and has been working as a detective there for nearly 20 years. Sam, his human partner, who’s known about his supernatural nature for some time, and didn’t blink twice when she found out. Fun and funny, she keeps Andrew from just falling into a black hole of not caring. Between them, four very different dogs–Andrew’s three Doberman’s, all named after Greek gods and goddesses, and a heavy reference toward hellhounds, and Sam’s little shit dog, a Boston terrier named Pistol. And then, the other side of vampire culture–Penelope, Isaac, and Eli. Penelope was part of Andrew’s old coven, and followed him to Boston in secret to keep an eye on him. She’s currently working on her PhD in philosophy, and would just like to live a normal life, thank you very much. But between her roommate (Isaac: getting his masters in biology with a concentration in anatomy, human, fitness enthusiast, proud father of Gomez the hedgehog and Morticia the turtle), her best friend (Eli: also a vampire, trying to convince Penelope to join his coven, typical vamp narrative), and the cashier at the bookstore (Owen: human, doesn’t know anything about all this supernatural nonsense), she’s having a hard time of it. And then there’s the villain–good old Dmitri. Russian, the one who forced Andrew out, and completely obsessed (understandably) with the fact that Andrew can walk in the daylight, so hellbent on finding him and killing him to experiment on him (that might mean drink his blood, who knows?).
Even beyond that, I have the plot. Andrew & Sam are tied up with a series of very strange killings that Sam thinks are vampires (victims are drained of blood), but that Andrew thinks is the work of some underground cult (no other signs of vampirism, but plenty of cultish stuff). Penelope is overwhelmed with her thesis (in Greek mythology, of course) and trying to keep Isaac out of trouble (he always seems to be getting into fixes with vamps or being arrested by Sam). And on top of all that, we’ve got Dmitri, who’s finally found Andrew in Boston, and is going in for the kill. Surprise: the underground cult murders are actually his coven, and it’s all going to unravel in spectacular fashion.
There’s more, too, but too much will spoil the fun. So, I’ve got characters, setting, and plot. It’s all there. It’s practically wrapped itself. All I’ve got to do is tie the bow.
Here I am.
It’s not calling to me. I’m not jumping at the chance to write it. I’m not even really all that excited.
I hate this.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, and I’m sure it’s something that’s happened to almost every other writer in the world. This terrible feeling where none of your ideas seem good enough. Or, in my case right now, that the novel you just finished (Alex) is the one you can’t stop thinking about. Which sucks for me because Alex’s story is over.
I keep sighing loudly in frustration, so bright side. I’ve been telling myself to play in both the shadows and the light, so here’s the thing. I’m also thinking about the Pen boys. I hadn’t intended to write the second book of their story, but maybe that’s where I’m headed. Before I get ahead of myself, too, it’s not really their second book. I’m going to write summer novellas so I can play with them outside of school, too, and do all the fanfictiony stuff that I don’t get to do in my novels. So, maybe that’s what’s next. We’ll see. For now, I’m going to keep reading, I guess.