Dealing with Runaway Ideas

As a novelist and a creative, I deal with ideas. They are my creative lifeblood. I live on new ideas and new stories.

One of the projects that I’m working on are a few short stories for some anthologies that I heard about through the grapevine. So I’ve been writing the short stories in between my other larger novels.

The problem that has shown its face is that the story I’m writing was designed to be a 10k word story. However, I’m 4k into it, and I am nowhere near where the story needs to be for the word count.

Judging by where the story is and basing its length based on that, it wants to be a 50k to 60k novel. I’m sure the editor in charge of the anthology would be more than willing to stamp ‘rejected’ on my application. I may even get a rejected letter back.

This is not a problem only faced by novelists. It is felt by painters, illustrators, graphic artists, podcasters and more. When a simple project was the intent, yet as the project ticks by on its way to completion, the project snowballs.

It grows and expands, takes a life on its own. The image becomes more substantial, more detailed, and takes more time.

With my short story, it is intended for a specific anthology which is looking for a particular style of short story within a specific genre. I’m attempting to write it based on his guidelines. The story wanting to be 60k words isn’t in the guidelines.

What to do about it?

The simple solution, if I didn’t have a full writing dock, is to write the 60k words. Come up with a new short story for the anthology. Maybe using the same story world, and the same characters.

If I can justify squeezing it into my schedule, maybe I will. If not, I may push it to next year.

For the other creatives, what do they do? It comes along the lines of either buckling down and finishing the project or tossing it aside.

Each creative must decide what to do about each Runaway project on their own. Their decision will take into account their own circumstances.

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