My brain is empty.
Well, friends, I've hit a writing wall. I have finished edits from my agent, and now it's a long waiting game...and the most consistent advice I've heard from fellow writers during this time is to write the next book.
But what happens when there are zero plans for the next one? How does one go about brainstorming a new book when the brain is empty of new ideas?
I've thought about earlier books I've tried to write. For graduate school admission, out of nowhere I started writing a Hades and Persephone retelling. This was back in 2010, and it got me into Seton Hill University for my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction. But since then, the market has become inundated with Hades/Persephone stories, and I just don't see a future for that book in the current climate. Plus, I'm not sure how to write that book...I started it, and I know how it ends, but I don't know what will happen throughout most of it. So, I'm not touching it for the time being, and I don't know if I will in the future or not.
I have three other things of old material, but they're more like images of characters, with no actual plot. I have a character that was resurrected through alchemy. I have a demon who can find hidden things. I have a prince doomed to sleep during the day but transforms into a wild monstrous animal at night. These feel like three different stories to me (well, maybe I can combine the demon and alchemy characters together), and I want to make up a plot for these characters, but I've been wracking my brain to do so, and I've got nothing.
This actually has me really scared.
I mentioned on Facebook (I know, I'm old, but most of my writing buddies are on there) that I had no plans and I got a variety of suggestions, like writing outside of my genre, or taking generative writing courses, or just taking a long break from writing.
I would like to establish myself as a writer of YA fantasy for the time being, so going outside the genre doesn't interest me right now. It may in the future, but not now. Writing courses cost money and I'm trying to save right now. And as for the long break...
It seems like a break is the most realistic thing to happen (and it's already happening). I'm wondering if my brain won't let me produce anything new until it feels like Son of the Siren has reached the end of its journey, but...the book's journey is going to take a long time, and that's writing time wasted! It already takes me at least two years to write a book (three if you count the time spent revising and editing), and I want to be the kind of author who has another novel waiting in the wings while a current book is getting published.
But if there are no ideas, then I can't really produce work on a schedule like that.
I want to keep writing fairy tale books, too...so part of me wonders if I should go back and read some Grimm to get new ideas. I have always wanted to do a gender-swapped Sleeping Beauty and combine it with Beauty and the Beast somehow...but Son of the Siren has animal transformations in it already, so I worry that maybe it's going to be too much of the same thing.
This has me pretty down. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. But I just want a concept to materialize soon. I don't even have to sit down and write it yet...but I want to be able to write a paragraph where character does A in order to get B. That's the bare bones of a plot.
I hope I can come up with something soon. Please wish me luck!