Here I am, in the middle of editing chapters on my latest book, when I begin to get these ideas in my head. At first it’s simply a setting, a fictional city and the surrounding towns. But the more I think about it, the more details I fill in, the more real the place becomes to me. I begin to imagine the society that would live there, what kind of culture and laws and economy they would have, and what their interactions with their neighbors would be like.
Soon I’m going great guns, developing this world in my mind, and I know there must be a story in there somewhere. And sure enough, the outlines begin to emerge from the fog. A story told in the first person, but whose main character is not the actual narrator – a la Sherlock Holmes.
So what do I do? Do I ignore this strange new world I am creating, and go back to work on my nearly finished novel? No, I can’t do that. As if compelled, I carve out some time and sit down and write a first chapter. This is new territory for me. I’ve never worked on two things at once before. It could end in disaster, with nothing getting finished, but somehow this feels right. I will divide my writing time, and work on both stories simultaneously. It seems these things happen when you’ve been bitten by the writing bug.