Friday, the third and final submission to agents went out, which means there's no need to edit my novel, until I get feedback. And Couillon went to epub this weekend. So now I have nothing to do. I've been working so long on the novel and then the past six months on Couillon, that it feels strange to have nothing to work on, no editing, no formatting, no creating cover images.
Now I have to come up with a new story. Count Crows (working title) started with me hearing Ode to Billy Joe -- you know, "Billy Joe MacAllister's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge". It didn't actually go in that direction, but it started me thinking about what would happen...
I've heard several authors speak about how stories begin. You start with a character, and then you play the what if game. What if Maggie was date raped in college? What if she ended up in Jacob's Creek because she couldn't have a career and a baby? And so on.
Couillon developed from pressure. I was in a Literary fiction class at UW, and we had to produce a short story. The first version, twenty-five pages, was written in less than a week. And here I've spent six months expanding it.
So somewhere between pressuring myself and playing the what if game, I need to come up with a new set of characters because I'm the type of writer who builds characters and then lets them do all the hard work, like coming up with the story line.