I don't know what to write about. Not here on the blog--I can always pull something out here. But for my next big project? There are too many ideas floating around, characters demanding that I take them out for coffee and get to know them better. I'm almost sure I want to return to the eighteenth century--the 1940s were fun, but my heart lies in 1780. But what story? Which characters? There's the dark-haired coquette with the quick wit and the perseverance to take over the world--or at least the London social scene. There's the runaway slave who hides in plain sight and becomes a Marine. There's the British officer with perfectly turned arrogance who can't make his wife love him.
Too many ideas. Clearly, not enough focus.
I had intended to return to a beloved character abandoned in an earlier project, but an image--a single image as always spurs my ideas--came to me this weekend as we were tearing down camp. I saw an officer's wife sitting in her husband's comfortably furnished campaign headquarters, the tent flap tied open to provide a bit of a breeze. I saw her pull a pin from her thick hair and the long dark mess of curls come tumbling down. I saw her lay the pin down and sigh. And I saw the enlisted man who was watching her:
I may be imagining it, but we've been different since she's been here. We stand up straighter. We don't pick our teeth after rations and we don't swear like we used to. Perhaps I imagine that we are all different but only I have changed. That I do know--she has changed me.
So now I'm torn--not sure which project to pursue. I'm going to sit on it a little while longer, I think, see who stalks me more aggresively.
How do you decide which ideas to pursue? Not necessarily a writing question, of course, though you're welcome to share your process there! Do you tend to have several projects going on at once? Or do you pick one and stick with it to the end, sort of a serial monogamist when it comes to projects?