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Hiroko
09-19-2011, 08:54 AM
I'm currently working on two novels simultaneously (I don't know why, but I like doing two at a time), and they are both from different series. Not related.
Whenever I begin working on Novel A, however, all I really want to do is think about/add to Novel B. I try setting goals for myself to ease the inner struggle, like "type this many pages/paragraphs for A, then you can write one page/paragraph for B," though my goals usually end up unmet. I definitely want to work on A since I started it first (I've always planned for there to be more), but I think part of the problem is that I might be a bigger fan of B.

Any tips to be offered? Anyone else ever been in this situation?

Mharvey
09-19-2011, 09:04 AM
I've never tried to juggle two projects at once, but the golden rule is whatever gets your ass in the chair to write, do it.

Also, your subconscious is rarely wrong. If you have a hard time writing novel A, the little hobo living underneath your brain is probably telling you that something is wrong or it's just not working as well as B. Besides, why else would you start B if A wasn't losing your interest on some level... maybe even before you realized it.

My personal approach would be to forget about Novel A, focus on B for now. If you think B is hot, get it done. Then, when you're giving B some time to ice over, you can go back and finish/work out the problems with A.

Snitchcat
09-19-2011, 09:36 AM
Hmm.... I work on about 3 - 4 WIPs at any one time. If I add in various other non-writing projects, I have about 10 going at once.

All of them vie for attention. But, I've found the best way for me to handle that "conflict" is to work on the project that's calling to me most for however long it calls. Once that "urge" is cleared, I turn my attention to the next one.

Personally, I have my projects in various stages, so I have something different to work on each time: worldbuilding, actual writing, review/editing, percolation, polishing stage, etc. The staggered progress helps refresh my energy since I'm using different skill sets per stage. Good for sustaining long periods of concentration. :)

This may not be the fastest way to complete any project. On the other hand, it's what works for me.

If Novel B is calling to you that much, IMO, work on Novel B for as long as you need to. I think you'll be able to switch back to Novel A afterwards.

Personally, I wouldn't fight the instinct. I've found doing that is counter-productive.

Good luck! :)

M. Scott
09-19-2011, 10:26 AM
Oh, I know that feeling. A bit of advice: stick to one manuscript. HOWEVER, don't limit your ideas to one manuscript. Keep writing on one for the sake of momentum, but jot down ideas to include in your other work. By the time you have one story finished, you'll probably have a full, intricate outline for another...or two.

That's my 2 cents. Take it or leave it ;)

Ehab.Ahmed
09-19-2011, 10:40 AM
Yes, like the others said. If B is begging you to write it, then write it. Once you hit a road block or you need time away from it or when A is starting to throw tantrums, then switch to A. I personally don't see anything wrong with juggling two or more projects at the same time, but then again I haven't finished anything yet, so... :)

RobJ
09-19-2011, 12:51 PM
Any tips to be offered?
It's really just up to you to develop the discipline and perseverance necessary to complete something before moving onto something else.

You may still complete something even while switching between one novel and the other, even if it takes you some time to do it. But there's a risk, and you'll see it expressed here often enough, that you'll get more great ideas, and end up with Novels A, B, C, D and E all in progress, and struggle to complete anything. Ideas are cheap, starting something new is exciting. The earlier you develop that discipline and perseverance, the better.

If you're going to multi-task and switch between novels, become more disciplined about those short-term goals you're setting yourself. Rewarding yourself for completing them and become focussed on achieving, whether it's a paragraph, a scene, a chapter, or something else.

zornhau
09-19-2011, 01:03 PM
Have you set A up with enough conflicts? (e.g. Protag vs Fear, Protag vs Antag, Antag vs Rival, Protag vs Sidekick's Issues, Protag vs Barriers to Romance)

Beginnings are easy, perhaps that's why B is calling.

Jamesaritchie
09-19-2011, 07:50 PM
When I have two projects I want to work on, be it two novels, a novel and a short story, etc., I just schedule my writing time accordingly. I've always broken my daily writing time into two parts. This allows me to work on two projects without having to worry about which one gets the most attention

dangerousbill
09-19-2011, 07:53 PM
Any tips to be offered? Anyone else ever been in this situation?

It's one of the many guises of the Procrastination Demon. He takes many forms, but his main goal is to keep you from writing.

You can fight him. Put one novel in a safe deposit box until the other is complete. Write an insanely bad final chapter for one (which you can replace later), and carry on with the other.

But remember that knowing the name of the demon is the first step to conquering him.

rmkrisby
09-19-2011, 10:29 PM
If you are more a fan of Novel B, then by all means write Novel B. Even if you WANT to write both, your muse may currently be with only one of them. It's not a bad thing if you set one project aside for a little bit while you work on another. Then when its time comes, you'll go back to Novel A. As long as you're happy with the work you DO get done in both, it's okay, even if you don't necessarily meet the goals you set.

Hiroko
09-19-2011, 11:06 PM
Such cordial responses. Thanks, everyone. :D

Have you set A up with enough conflicts? (e.g. Protag vs Fear, Protag vs Antag, Antag vs Rival, Protag vs Sidekick's Issues, Protag vs Barriers to Romance)

Beginnings are easy, perhaps that's why B is calling.

I actually have all of the conflicts mapped out, but perhaps part of the problem is that I'm still building up to the good stuff. Eh.

quicklime
09-19-2011, 11:36 PM
if you can't do two at a time, perhaps force yourself to finish one before you run off chasing the next.

htrent
09-20-2011, 05:59 AM
It might help to set an artificial deadline for one so that you make one story a priority. For instance, you could tell yourself "I want to have the first draft of this written by my birthday." Figure out how much you need to write per day (or however often your muses sit you down) and put that word count goal on your to do list. Write to that number. Then after you've reached that daily goal, work on the other project as time allows.

I've got a bunch of different projects in varying stages of completion, but I know that the one that's being submitted for a Valentine's Day thing absolutely. has. to. be. finished. now. Everything else? I work on those after I've met my word count for the pressing one.

D.M.Drake
09-20-2011, 06:04 AM
I know I will probably get some heat for this, but I have learned the more deadlines and stress I put on getting a certain amount done toward a goal the worst my work becomes. I rush to be done and free like doing a job or a chore I don't like. The restraint is not effective, it hinders the free flow of words, thoughts and ideas by making me focus on how much I am doing, not how well. :) I hope this helps and best of luck to you.

froley
09-20-2011, 08:28 AM
if you can't do two at a time, perhaps force yourself to finish one before you run off chasing the next.

That's a bingo! I second this notion.

Lovely Decadence
09-20-2011, 10:02 AM
Such cordial responses. Thanks, everyone. :D



I actually have all of the conflicts mapped out, but perhaps part of the problem is that I'm still building up to the good stuff. Eh.
Ah, the build up. This tends to get me tripped up too. In fact it's the number one reason why I've yet to finish a novel. My solution? Well, with my primary work in progress I've been toying with completely immersing myself in the build up. The build up has become like a character to me. It has thoughts and feelings too and a personality. It can draw you in, break you apart, and patch you back together again. So I'm being dramatic, but so far using this approach I haven't taken more than a week away from my primary work in progress at a time. And the outcome is I'm now further into this current work than I've ever gotten into a novel I've written. So the build up doesn't have to boring and it's definitely essential, so why not treat it like a character? It's bound to hold your attention more than thinking of it as that dreaded long drawn out build up I have to write before it gets to the good stuff. Let the build up be just as great as your good stuff. Hope my babblings have helped in some way, lol ;)

Trw78Writes
09-20-2011, 11:55 AM
You may still complete something even while switching between one novel and the other, even if it takes you some time to do it. But there's a risk, and you'll see it expressed here often enough, that you'll get more great ideas, and end up with Novels A, B, C, D and E all in progress, and struggle to complete anything. Ideas are cheap, starting something new is exciting. The earlier you develop that discipline and perseverance, the better.

If you're going to multi-task and switch between novels, become more disciplined about those short-term goals you're setting yourself. Rewarding yourself for completing them and become focussed on achieving, whether it's a paragraph, a scene, a chapter, or something else.

Exactly. I have one YA novel I am writing with two other ideas brimming in the background. I figured I could get away with the YA novel first as a "first novel" and then get into the headier stuff later. I'd love to write my other novels but I just can't. I can keep coming up with ideas (most of my ideas are dreams- I dream lucid almost every night and they are very vivid) but if I am not committed to one then I find I don't do any.

zornhau
09-20-2011, 12:49 PM
I actually have all of the conflicts mapped out, but perhaps part of the problem is that I'm still building up to the good stuff. Eh.

If you're still building to the good stuff, then perhaps you're lacking enough pressing immediate conflict, or perhaps you started your novel too early...

That's why I think hopping between novels is not always a good idea. Fix the one that's broken.

NeuroFizz
09-20-2011, 06:51 PM
I actually have all of the conflicts mapped out, but perhaps part of the problem is that I'm still building up to the good stuff. Eh.

Will this build-up to the "good stuff" be good enough to keep the reader turning pages with the promise of some best-yet-to-come? At least some of the "good stuff" should hit the reader right away.

To the OP, developing a writing strategy requires experimentation. You are having difficulty with your chosen strategy, so perhaps it's time to change your approach. This doesn't have to be permanent. Find a way to finish your stories (concentrating on story B seems to be the best bet right now). Once you get in the habit of finishing your projects, you can come back and try the simultaneous projects approach again.

quicklime
09-20-2011, 07:23 PM
Find a way to finish your stories (concentrating on story B seems to be the best bet right now). Once you get in the habit of finishing your projects, you can come back and try the simultaneous projects approach again.


quoted for truth....again, if you can't finish one or the other when you have 2 going at once, stop having 2 going. Let the fact you can't start Awesomeness B until Kindacool A is finished be part of the motivation to actually finish Kindacool A.


Part of writing, a part that doesn't get much press time but separates a lot of wannabes from people with books, is as simple as this: Finishing.

Until you finish a book, you don't have a single book to your credit, and finishing is no small task. If you're lucky enough to be able to identify your distraction/roadblock (running off for new projects) you're lucky; you know exactly what to kill.

And as neuro said, once you can make yourself finish something, you can always go back to trying multiples....

EnitaMeadows
09-21-2011, 03:23 AM
Work on B while you have the desire to.

Warp9
09-21-2011, 03:27 AM
I also vote for the "work on B option."

Mr Flibble
09-21-2011, 03:32 AM
And as neuro said, once you can make yourself finish something, you can always go back to trying multiples....

In fact you will need this skill when it comes to edits arriving just as you're getting into your new book...

But if you want to get to that stage, you need to finish.

Last year I got some edits just as I was going on holiday. Ddn't have a clue what I was writing next, was just going to kick back. And then a random comment from my editor + Norway being fucking awesome...new idea pops into my head. Super duper idea. Character just popped into my head, and started talking. A LOT(my next release lol) BUT! I have a deadline, due the day I got back off holiday. Apart from some notes, I could not afford he time to work on it. Well not and actually have a holiday.

I think it was actually better for having the time to stew, you know? Leave one story to stew while you work on the other (take notes if you have to) - it may well be the better for it.

Button
09-21-2011, 07:41 PM
I work on more than one project at once.

Have at least a third chapter or more head start on both? Good. :)

Outline Book A. My outlines are 10 pages. Find out where you're going. Each paragraph is a scene or chapter.

Outline Book B, same way.

Now you've got a road map. Write each scene as you've planned. It doesn't mean you can't change your mind. It just means you now know where you're going, so you don't have to worry about an idea you had for B. You already wrote it down.

:D