What Next?

The Nymph Keepers is over.

Does that ever feel good to say! But I think it’s also a challenge, to move on from a project that big and fill that space with something new. Don’t get me wrong; I haven’t stopped writing other drafts and working other stories, so there’s no shortage of projects. But this is a bit of a goodbye — a transition from one season into another, or from one focus toward something new.

So what’s next, really?

Well, the writing doesn’t stop there. But I also don’t intend to continue The Nymph Keepers. I like where I’ve left things and I think you can imagine where the characters go from there. It was also never supposed to be a trilogy, so I’ve spent way more time on that world than I ever intended to in the first place. Wild, eh?

I have a few things in the works. Another dark fantasy, complete with some nasty bug monsters. I’ve been dabbling in sci-fi lately and wondering if I can make anything work (although I don’t feel like I’m quite smart enough for that genre). I’ve also been dabbling in some contemporary romance, just to try my hand at something way outside my comfort zone. And that’s not even counting all the other half-baked, maybe started, maybe still marinating story ideas that have popped up over the years, begging me to write them.

I was saying to my husband the other day, writing is less like a passion or a hobby, and more like an obsession for me. Once an idea latches onto my brain, it doesn’t let go until I’ve at least written out the first act. Over the last few years, since I completed my creative writing certificate at Simon Fraser University, my goal has been to push past that first act in all of my stories. To bring the tales to “The End,” regardless of whether I intend to take those stories anywhere beyond my own desk drawer or hard drive.

Since starting The Nymph Keepers, I have completed the first draft (or beyond) of three different stand-alone novels; I have plotted, outlined, brainstormed, or at least daydreamed and started rough drafts for five other novels besides; and I’ve written a number of short stories as well.

Like I said, no shortage. And that’s it.

That’s What’s Next

Agents and publishers and other writing-industry professionals are always pushing writers to “write the next thing.” We’re encouraged not to stop, in case we stagnate or get hung up on past projects and never move beyond them. Some writers spend years — decades, even — writing a single book, which they then put out into the world as their magnum opus … and never write again.

That ain’t me, in case you weren’t sure. Whatever my “magnum opus” is, or my masterpiece that can’t be beat, I haven’t written it yet. Maybe I’ll never write that one story that I can’t outdo no matter how hard I try, but at this point, the sky’s the limit. Every story I start drafting feels like it’s already better than the last one, because every draft I write is a compilation of learning and growing I’ve been doing along the way — through the books I read and/or edit, the classes I take, the writers I talk with, the communities I navigate. People and books provide endless research. My own forray into my mind through therapy is a wealth of opportunity (and yes, I can hear your mad-woman jokes from here).

The Point Is…

This isn’t the end. Can’t stop, won’t stop. I cannot be contained. [Insert your favourite expression here.] Basically, I’m just getting started, and I can’t wait to dream up more worlds and characters to share with you.

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