I have encountered a bit of a problem with my writing. As you can see from my Works in Progress page I have recently been re-outlining my epic fantasy novel and ramping up towards writing the first draft (hopefully splicing in some of the text I wrote last time I started writing the book). But another idea I have had, Teathira Protectrix (tentative title), has been trying its best to take over my writing effort. No amount of exorcising seems to be able to quit this idea from my mind. I write at least a full page of notes to 'file for later' every day.
Why is this idea so persistent? I think there are a few factors. Firstly, the story has a title, if only a tentative one. My epic fantasy novel doesn't have one yet. Secondly, Teathira Protectrix is a YA idea, and a short one at that. The book (or the first one, rather: it is a multi-book idea) would probably come in under 40,000 words. Quickly hammering out a short novel before attempting the longer epic fantasy is appealing. Thirdly, there is not a lot of research I would have to do for Protectrix. The epic fantasy, however, needs some extensive world-building (only half of which is done) plus a fair wodge of research on random things like yamabushi, steamboats, and flintlock pistols. Oh, and M-theory. All in all, Protectrix just looks easier.
So what do you think? Should I be disciplined and keep on keeping on with the epic fantasy? After all, I would still be able to write Protectrix when the epic fantasy is done. Or should I give in to the 'Oooh, shiny' impulse and switch to the YA idea?
Okay, so I've made a decision. I'm going to continue re-outlining the epic fantasy novel. However, I will also continue to take my screeds of notes on Protectrix, and not feel guilty about how much time I spend doing so. When I have finished re-outlining the epic fantasy, I will evaluate how much work I have done on Protectrix. If I'm within spitting distance of starting a first draft, I'll use Protectrix as a break between outlining and writing the epic fantasy, so I have an early stage of 'seeing the story afresh'. If I'm still at the concept stage with Protectrix, then I will push on with the epic fantasy (and maybe even give it a name).
Right. Sounds like a plan, Stan.