When the creative juices are really flowing, sometimes a completely new story wants to take over the action. I've worked "alien" tales into the current novel (And Sophie Takes Over...), but usually the new story just doesn't share any angles with the current novel.
This is what tried to derail my story of fateful weather in Indigo today. The story idea is not new, but it arrived before I learned to encapsulate ideas for novels, and I had kind of let it slide. "Hey, the novel machine is ON!" it said while I was half-asleep this morning, and started throwing out proposals for taking over.
I've borrowed a couple of tools I learned from NaNoWriMo 2013 to handle these invaders. I write a synopsis, and generate an extract that captures as much of the vision for the new novel as necessary to bring back whatever captured my creative genie. Sometimes, I generate a cover image and title, but often, the synopsis and extract is enough.
Concept: Vampirism is spread as a viral infection, sharing much of the vector and contagion level as AIDS.
Synopsis: Bennie* Deems, a skateboarder and surfer living "under the boardwalk" at a California beach town, discovers he is V-Positive, and must try to cope with losing his lover, his family's support, and access to the sun-and-surf environment that he loves. Venita Scherra, on the other hand, is chasing a cure for the virus in the hope of saving her sister's child from the disease. Neither Bennie nor Venita know that there is a third party in the shadows, a "Patient Zero", who is deliberately spreading this infection.
Bennie Deems sat in his darkened room--really little more than a half-converted garage--and watched TV. He sat in the glow of the black-and-white screen, ignoring the broken spring in the seat of the cast-off armchair and the other dumpster-salvage that surrounded him, watching the afternoon movie, a commercial-encrusted showing of "Twilight".
He wanted to laugh at the overdrawn love scenes, but a commercial showing a couple walking along a beach propelled him from his chair to spin the dial. He stopped at random, and settled back into his chair. The commercials segued to a static-hashed image of surfers in an old movie, and Bennie found he could not bear to change channels again.
Unacknowledged tears ran in a steady stream down his cheeks, and splashed unfelt on his bare chest. He had lost so much, but this was the hardest to take. Bennie sat, and cried, and gave thanks for small favors that he hadn't found a color TV.
He didn't know if he could live with seeing images of the blue sky and golden sunshine he could no longer view in person.
Genre: Not YA/Not Fanfiction/Dystopia/Anti-vampire-porn.
*Bennie's name is a hat-tip to John Brunner's Bennie Noakes in Stand On Zanzibar, who watched the TV news (or static on a non-broadcast setting) in a drug-induced haze, and said repeatedly, "Christ, what an imagination I've got!"
And now that I've locked Bennie up in his capsule, I can get on with the folks in Indigo, who are just beginning to realize the size of the storm that has engulfed them.
Total: 47,708 words.