This past week brought two semi-miracles for me: I handed in final edits on my latest manuscript and submitted my first short story (well, second, actually, but we won’t count that one). And then I found myself faced with an unusual dilemma: What to Write Next?
I have to say, this is the first time in quite a while that I’ve had the luxury of thinking about a bright, shiny new project. I’m still fully committed to The Ladies Smythe & Westin, of course, but I’d love to start a new cozy series as well—maybe even one with a hint of paranormal. I’m also taking a class in romantic suspense, and then there’s (sigh)…The Idea That Won’t Go Away.
I wrote the first book of that series with a fifteen-year-old protagonist. Then I wrote it in third person point-of-view for grown-ups. And lately I’ve been thinking maybe it should be told in first-person. But THREE different versions of the same story? Ugh.
Like my go-to role model Scarlett O’Hara, I prefer to tell myself I’ll think about it later. As in, much, much later. I could leave those old manuscript versions in my desk drawer for, well, maybe forever.
And since this is June, there are plenty of excellent reasons to postpone any pesky writing decisions. Graduations, weddings, reunions, and, of course, everyone’s favorite: dance recitals. It just so happened that I had one to attend on Saturday, for my little granddaughters who just completed their first year of Irish dance. It’s a tradition in our family—my kids were step dancers also—and it also happens to play a major role in my double-jeopardy manuscript, currently titled THE JIG IS UP.
I had a two-hour drive to the Boston burbs to crank eighties tunes on Sirius Radio and absolutely not think about those printouts burning through my desk. But once I was seated in the dark auditorium and the familiar Irish music started up, the story flooded back to my brain as fast and furiously as the tapping from the stage. Through every jig, reel, and hornpipe, with performances from the smallest dancers to World competitors, there was no avoiding the Celtic siren’s call.
Alison and Eleanor weren’t scheduled to make their grand debuts until later in the show, but by the time they took the stage, I’d made my decision. The art of traditional Irish dance evolved at the crossroads of tiny villages throughout the Emerald Isle. And there I was, at my own personal writer’s crossroads—had it been some kind of sign? Maybe not, but when I got home I took a deep breath and opened up those long-saved files anyway. Time to get to work.
Of course my girls were both adorable and danced brilliantly in their fancy dresses and ghillies and curly up-dos. Riverdance lives! And so, very possibly, does THE JIG IS UP.
Have YOU had any tough decisions to make lately, reading or writing-wise? Let us know in the comments below!