I’m worried that I don’t write stuff as wild as I could. Some broad ideas from the initial conception can get lost by the time the story’s finished, becoming more… I don’t necessarily want to say realistic, since I mainly write fantasy. Maybe restrained would be more precise.
I lose much of the sense of whimsy I intend to include, and the wilder ideas can get rationalised down to seem almost reasonable (relatively speaking).
It may be partly due to the fact I tend to write in outline – so some ideas may get rationalised down through the iterations – which would be okay. But some instances I worry that it’s because of fear of making the story too broad, which I’m less okay with. That’s pandering to an imaginary audience, which never works out (especially since I have a very small audience). I should be my first audience, because if I don’t enjoy it then why do it (if I was a bestseller then money might be a motivator, but I’m not, so it isn’t).
In some cases the restraint may work. My first novel, the unpublished Paragon Protocols, is an espionage thriller. The initial idea had a fair bit of super-science, so headed towards some of the excesses of Bond films – and beyond in some cases. The end product was more grounded, with intentions to bring in the super-science as the series went on – the second would have been heavily into this. Given to groundedness of the first I’m now debating whether to risk going broader in later books, which’ll mean a serious rethink for the second one. The overall story for the series would still be the same, and I’m hoping to get to them some day. (Allegiances is set in the same world).
In other cases I seem to be fighting myself to include the whimsy. In the Tales of the Thief-City series I make a point to try and include at least one element of dark whimsy per story, which is relatively easy to incorporate given the disparate sources making up the city of Nexi. In the Shadows of the Heavens series I didn’t really get the whimsy I’d initially intended, and in one way it doesn’t sit right. I’m happy enough with the end product, and the nature of the empire’s controlled society means all the true magic of nature would have been pushed to the edges, which I suppose works.
Maybe it is realism rather than restraint. Finding the way the fantastical would work, and how it’d then become mundane to those who live among it. Or maybe I’m just a boring writer. You know, the kind who’ll ask questions and not offer any real answer.