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Thread: Writing multiple books at the same time

  1. #1
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    Writing multiple books at the same time

    Hi, I'm new here, flesh meat :p

    So, I have lots and lots of ideas, when I was younger I would have an idea for a book, I would create the characters, their lives, how their personality was shaped by what happened to them, how the story would further change them and make timelines for chapters and so on, but then all of the sudden I would have other ideas, incompatible with that story and characters, so I would change the story all the time, mix the new ideas with the old ones and try to make it work, but it didn't and I got really frustrated of writing like 20 pages, which was a lot for me, and then not liking it anymore and have to re-write everything all over again.

    So in the last 6 months I've been starting various books, a sci-fi novel, a drama and a teenage drama/romance.

    I have only a couple pages of each of them, the teenage drama/romance is the continuation of a short story I wrote, so I know the main character a little more.

    The sci-fi novel has one page and a Manifesto that appears in the first chapter, but I've worked on the timelines for the chapters, I've created about two hundred years of history, dozens of characters and I just have to actually write it now.

    The drama is also like that, dozens of characters created, timelines of the first two chapters done but I have to write it.

    I've had a depression for over 5 years, my life has been kind of hard... I know I'm 20 but believe me, I have suffered through quite a lot, though I wouldn't change anything... well only one thing... but in the end everything I've been trough just makes me a better writer.

    Anyway I wanted to know if any of you have worked on multiple books or projects before, if you were successful at it, advices, etc.

    Oh and I'm also thinking about working lightly on a fantasy universe, I'm basically going to create a whole universe, gods, mythology, religions, etc, no languages though.

    I have no published works, never finished a single book, so I'm new to writing too... So am I crazy to want to do this?

    Thanks for reading and hope you comment (:

  2. #2
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    I'm currently working on 4 stories, but not writing them all at the same time, and some are on rest or I'm allowing some time to think past problems and situations. One I'm writing, two I'm thinking through, one is on the shelf to rest.

    goshirn, I kind need to press this: What it seems (to me) is that in the last 6 months, you've written short of 10,000words combined on separate projects. Not be pointy here, but that's not much progress, and I suspect that having all those works and trying to create and build the worlds and such around them are distracting you over the entire spectrum.
    Maybe it might be best to focus on one, complete that one and move on.
    I know it's hard to keep ideas bound (some say its one of the most agonizing things a writer can do), but at some point you need to sit down with one work and finish it.

    Best of luck!
    Last edited by WillSauger; 12-12-2012 at 04:21 AM.
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  3. #3
    jlw OhTheHorror's Avatar
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    goshrin!

    I've worked on multiple stories at once, but found (through getting very little accomplished, and finishing nothing) I'm the type of person who needs to cage all the other cool ideas, and focus on one at a time. I will write a short story if the mood strikes me in the middle of a novel, but not multiple novels at once.

    It seems by your post you're having the same issue with completing because ideas are jockeying for position.

    How I do it now, is I tackle one at a time. I write the first draft of one novel and then outline the next novel during the cooling off period of the first. When the first is ready to have a second go, (after a couple of months) I write the first draft of the novel I'd outlined and edit the first. It kinda works for me, and keeps me moving forward on new projects.

    I'm sure there are authors here who can juggle multiple novels at once; there are some really talented folks on Aw. I'm just not one of them.
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  4. #4
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    That has been my problem since I was a teenager. I started a bunch of manuscripts and never finished any of them. Right now I'm forcing myself to focus on one thing at a time and that's been working out well for me. It is hard because I have a list of ideas that I'm excited about and want to start working on, but I won't allow myself until I finish my current manuscript. Some people may be able to work on several things at once, but I'm not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillSauger View Post
    I suspect everyone will come here and say, goshirn, I kind need to press this: What it seems (to me) is that in the last 6 months, you've written short of 10,000words combined on separate projects. Not be pointy here, but that's not much progress, and I suspect that having all those works and trying to create and build the worlds and such around them are distracting you over the entire spectrum.
    Maybe it might be best to focus on one, complete that one and move on.
    I know it's hard to keep ideas bound (some say its one of the most agonizing things a writer can do), but at some point you need to sit down with one work and finish it.

    Best of luck!
    First, thank you.

    And yeah it's not much progress, almost none at all, and it's not really because I'm working on many of them, it's more because I have a lot of trouble actually writing them, not that when I write it's hard to do so, but it's more of an anxiety thing.

    I feel very anxious about writing, because... I'm in a very poor situation, and I know that I probably suck and that I won't write anything good, that most likely I'll never get published, but that thought that maybe I'll write something good enough that will allow me to do this professionally just keeps banging on my head and it makes me kind of afraid to write, because I'm afraid it wont be at the standard that I want.

    I'm also very very harsh on myself.

    But I do write because I like it, I want to write but everything around me makes me really anxious, I have to battle that for hours, sometimes days to be able to pull myself together, not care about anything and write.

    If it wasn't for this anxiety I would be able to write easily, no matter where or how I felt.

    I probably need to go to my psychiatrist and ask for some pills because I'm getting tired of this...

  6. #6
    Misbehaving and stuff Beachgirl's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Will (which seems to be happening a lot lately *shudders*).

    It's one thing to think of an idea for a story and make some notes to prevent losing that idea while you're working on a different project. It's a completely different ballgame to actively work on several stories at the same time. Some writers do and pull it off brilliantly. Others, however, scatter themselves so wide they never finish anything.

    You might have a thousand and one wonderful, amazing ideas. But if you never finish any of them no one will ever know.

    Personally, I write one book at a time. If something occurs to me for a different story, I'll make notes. I may edit one book while writing another, but I never work on more than one first draft at a time.



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  7. #7
    Azarath Metrion Zinthos AshleyEpidemic's Avatar
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    I get crazy ideas all the time. I jot down notes for new stories, and plot lines. But I work on one piece at a time. When I finished that piece, then I start up the new one. The problem I have with writing many different things at once, is you don't really get anywhere. Not getting far is your problem as Sauger pointed out.

    You can have a million projects running at once, but remember the goal is completing them. If you need to go one at a time, just put the other ideas on hold.
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  8. #8
    I aim to misbehave Myrealana's Avatar
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    Welcome!

    I worked on many things at the same time. I had an epic fantasy, a Christian women's fiction, a thriller and a cozy mystery all going at the same time. I would work the thriller, flit over to the fantasy and do some world building and then drop that in favor of character studies on the mystery.

    It wasn't until I finally found the story I wanted to tell that I was able to settle down and really concentrate on one project. When that happened, all the other ideas were shelved and I haven't even had the urge to go back to them.

    I say keep working on whatever moves you. Sooner or later, you'll find the project that you can't put down.

    The important thing is to keep putting words on the page. The more you write, the more likely you are to find the story that's inside you.
    Last edited by Myrealana; 12-12-2012 at 05:22 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhTheHorror View Post
    goshrin!

    I've worked on multiple stories at once, but found (through getting very little accomplished, and finishing nothing) I'm the type of person who needs to cage all the other cool ideas, and focus on one at a time. I will write a short story if the mood strikes me in the middle of a novel, but not multiple novels at once.

    It seems by your post you're having the same issue with completing because ideas are jockeying for position.

    How I do it now, is I tackle one at a time. I write the first draft of one novel and then outline the next novel during the cooling off period of the first. When the first is ready to have a second go, (after a couple of months) I write the first draft of the novel I'd outlined and edit the first. It kinda works for me, and keeps me moving forward on new projects.

    I'm sure there are authors here who can juggle multiple novels at once; there are some really talented folks on Aw. I'm just not one of them.
    Yeah, but the thing is I tried that before, just write about one idea, the sci-fi novel, but because of my mental state, I just can't, writing all of them at the same time actually helps, because I can cope with the frustration like "Oh I may suck at writing sci-fi, but let me try the teenage thing, that's simpler, maybe I can do it" and try to do so.

    I have lots of time... maybe it's the internet, maybe I should just go live in the end of the world, plant my own food, write in a typing machine and just finish them.

    I watch a bunch of tv shows and movies, while I may sometimes argue that it's kind of research, it's not really xD

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachgirl View Post
    Some writers do and pull it off brilliantly.
    So if I manage to pull this off I'll be a brilliant writer?

    Ahahah, just joking, just would that be brilliant?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Myrealana View Post
    The important thing is to keep putting words on the page. The more you write, the more likely you are to find the story that's inside you.
    Thanks, and yeah that's kind of the problem, to keep putting words on the page, in my answer to Will I explain why I get very anxious about writing, that is, I think, the main problem.

    But I wanted to know your opinion about working on many books at the same time, and I got it, I shouldn't do it, I should focus on one thing and finish it.

    Problem is, I'm not going to do that, so either I finish 3 books at the same time, or I wont finish any of them at all.

    About the fantasy universe my idea was, I finish all of these and then because I'll have to write and create a lot, I'll work on the fantasy one later, but I keep writing notes about it.

    I think if I worked on it, the fantasy would take about 2 to 3 years to publish the first book, that is if I was an established writer, and then about 1 to 3 years for the others and about 3 to 4 years to spawn a new series on said universe xD I'm thinking way too big aren't I? xD

  12. #12
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachgirl View Post
    I have to agree with Will (which seems to be happening a lot lately *shudders*).
    I hope this doesn't become an epidemic, I kinda like my unpopular opinions.
    Quote Originally Posted by goshirn View Post
    First, thank you.

    And yeah it's not much progress, almost none at all, and it's not really because I'm working on many of them, it's more because I have a lot of trouble actually writing them, not that when I write it's hard to do so, but it's more of an anxiety thing.

    I feel very anxious about writing, because... I'm in a very poor situation, and I know that I probably suck and that I won't write anything good, that most likely I'll never get published, but that thought that maybe I'll write something good enough that will allow me to do this professionally just keeps banging on my head and it makes me kind of afraid to write, because I'm afraid it wont be at the standard that I want.

    I'm also very very harsh on myself.

    But I do write because I like it, I want to write but everything around me makes me really anxious, I have to battle that for hours, sometimes days to be able to pull myself together, not care about anything and write.

    If it wasn't for this anxiety I would be able to write easily, no matter where or how I felt.

    I probably need to go to my psychiatrist and ask for some pills because I'm getting tired of this...
    I do need to tell you that it takes years for a writer to craft their art. You aren't going to get everything right the first time, even I don't, but you can still try and learn from your mistakes.

    The point is, is to write and correct. You need to pave a walkway to work onto, to reconstruct and reshape as you become a better writer.

    And you're feeling anxiety, but it's nothing new for writers. We all feel it, all the time. The difference is: Some of us are crushed by it, some throw off the weight and get to writing.

    Want my prescription? Take a single "Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard" once daily. Aim for 1000words a day, everyday (even if it's just you writing a journal of what you did that day). You need progress, you need words under your belt. That will choke the anxiety down and make you a better writer. Oh, and read. Read a lot.
    Don't Fear Failure.

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  13. #13
    jlw OhTheHorror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goshirn View Post
    Yeah, but the thing is I tried that before, just write about one idea, the sci-fi novel, but because of my mental state, I just can't, writing all of them at the same time actually helps, because I can cope with the frustration like "Oh I may suck at writing sci-fi, but let me try the teenage thing, that's simpler, maybe I can do it" and try to do so.

    I have lots of time... maybe it's the internet, maybe I should just go live in the end of the world, plant my own food, write in a typing machine and just finish them.

    I watch a bunch of tv shows and movies, while I may sometimes argue that it's kind of research, it's not really xD
    It sounds as though you're being entirely too hard on yourself. I get that. I'm the same way. I write something, set back and look at it and think, "This is worse than Atlanta Nights!" Sometimes I feel like I'm just hurling crap at my computer screen. I think we all have moments like that.

    You just have to dig down, get stubborn and, quite frankly, get over it. You're young and new to writing, you have a lot of time to work on your craft. No one (except a couple of freaks of nature throughout history) can just set down and be brilliant from jump. It takes time and a lot (a loooot) of hard work.

    You will get there! One day you'll be plugging along, set back, read what you've written and think, "That's pretty damn good!"

    The most important thing right now is that you finish something. Anything! Just finish and go from there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillSauger View Post
    ...

    Want my prescription? Take a single "Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard" once daily. Aim for 1000words a day, everyday (even if it's just you writing a journal of what you did that day). You need progress, you need words under your belt. That will choke the anxiety down and make you a better writer. Oh, and read. Read a lot.
    Thanks for everything you said (:

  15. #15
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    Do you want to be a writer or someone who dabbles in writing? A writer is someone who finishes projects. Some writers can and do work on multiple projects, but they finish them.

    One of the most dangerous traits of new writers is to butterfly from one shiny new idea to the next new shiny idea because the euphoria of something new doesn't last long. Eventually, every story requires some of the hard work of writing. Every story will require some intellectual work, some work at the craft of writing, and some serious thought. Getting through these tough spots to finish a project is what makes a writer from someone who just dabbles in writing.

    Think through your writing goals. Do you want to publish something? Do you expect that something to just fall together with the ease of flying with a new idea? When do you jump to that new idea? When you run out of easy words and easy writing? When it comes time to make some sense of the project, to worry about the continuity and congruity of the story?

    Each time you jump to a new project, think of why you are jumping. Boredom? To give yourself that new idea writer's high? Just take one project and think about what it will take to run with it until it is finished and polished. Do you have what it takes to carry a project through to that point? If so, try edging your projects in that direction instead of jumping at the next shiny new idea.
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    jlw OhTheHorror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillSauger View Post
    Oh, and read. Read a lot.
    This ^^. If I'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed with a project (or life, really) I set down and read a good book. Hell, I read 3, 4, 5 books and it recharges my batteries. There's nothing like a nice escape into a good book to get the juices flowing again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhTheHorror View Post
    ...

    No one (except a couple of freaks of nature throughout history) can just set down and be brilliant from jump. It takes time and a lot (a loooot) of hard work.

    You will get there! One day you'll be plugging along, set back, read what you've written and think, "That's pretty damn good!"

    The most important thing right now is that you finish something. Anything! Just finish and go from there.
    Thanks for everything.

    And that's the thing, the stupid thing, I want to be that freak of nature, that suddenly publishes something and it's super good and is successful, and I know how stupid that is, honestly I don't even believe that I'm a good enough writer to publish anything, but deep in my mind there's something that's pressuring me to be that.

    I live with 3 other people, we all live with about 400 euros per month, so there's plenty of pressure around me to do something successful, and then on top of that I pressure myself even more.

    I have lots of free time because I can't find a job, I do try every day but no one wants a 20 yo with no experience, anyway, I have free time, so I like to write and I try to, but yeah... it's stupid, it's supposed to be a hobby and I pressure myself a ton.

    I finished a short story, one... yeah... 3895 words, not a lot, wait does that qualify as a short story?

  18. #18
    Runs With Scissors RedWombat's Avatar
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    World-building is fun and awesome and non-threatening.

    After a point--and it sounds like you may be past that point--it's also busywork that means you aren't writing the book. It feels like productivity, but if the book is not getting written, it's not helping. Nobody will care about two hundred years of history unless you can tell a compelling story set in the world (or write RPGs.)

    Sit down to write. And if you're terrible, that's fine. Everybody starts terrible. Nobody slides out of the womb dripping eloquent prose. It's the ability to plow through that that separates the yetis from the bigfoot.

    Worry about all that world-building when A) you need it in the manuscript right this minute or B) when you've published your Lord of the Rings and they're clamoring for your Silmarillion, sez I.

  19. #19
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goshirn View Post
    So if I manage to pull this off I'll be a brilliant writer?

    Ahahah, just joking, just would that be brilliant?
    No. That would just be the way you work. There are a large number of writers who work that way, but it makes them no more brilliant than the writers who work on only one project at a time. Brilliance shines through in the product, not in the method of producing that product. And brilliance doesn't just happen to the vast majority of creative individuals. Brilliance comes from learning and understanding the craft, then utilizing that understanding in new and innovative ways to thrill a reader. That takes dedication. That takes much practice. That takes work, and more work, and more work, always with a open mind to developing the craft.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeuroFizz View Post
    ...

    That takes dedication. That takes much practice. That takes work, and more work, and more work, always with a open mind to developing the craft.
    Thanks for your comments (: I agree with you, I hope I can finish something, I really would like to have a chapter of two when I reach 50 posts so you guys can then critique me, that way I can get some guidance and see if it's good or not.

    Up until now, a couple friends that love to read, have told me that they love what I do, one even almost cried during the first and a half page of the drama I'm writing, which is good, I think.

    But their opinions are most likely biased.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedWombat View Post
    B) when you've published your Lord of the Rings and they're clamoring for your Silmarillion, sez I.
    that made me laugh ahaha

    and don't run with scissors! :p

  22. #22
    jlw OhTheHorror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goshirn View Post
    Thanks for everything.

    And that's the thing, the stupid thing, I want to be that freak of nature, that suddenly publishes something and it's super good and is successful, and I know how stupid that is, honestly I don't even believe that I'm a good enough writer to publish anything, but deep in my mind there's something that's pressuring me to be that.

    I live with 3 other people, we all live with about 400 euros per month, so there's plenty of pressure around me to do something successful, and then on top of that I pressure myself even more.

    I have lots of free time because I can't find a job, I do try every day but no one wants a 20 yo with no experience, anyway, I have free time, so I like to write and I try to, but yeah... it's stupid, it's supposed to be a hobby and I pressure myself a ton.

    I finished a short story, one... yeah... 3895 words, not a lot, wait does that qualify as a short story?
    It's not stupid to want that, but it's unrealistic. Most writers will never be the multimillionaire author with the massive paycheck. Most of the really big names in my genre still have day jobs. That is the reality. Can it happen? Certainly. Joe Rowling was living in government housing before Harry Potter went gang-busters and turned her into one of the richest women in England. It can happen, it's just not likely to happen.

    Either way, you can't focus on what might happen. You need to focus on finishing something.

    And, yep, 3895 words is a short story. So you have finish something! Now write another one!
    Last edited by OhTheHorror; 12-12-2012 at 05:59 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhTheHorror View Post
    Either way, you can't focus on what might happen. You need to focus on finishing something.

    And, yep, 3895 words is a short story. So you have finish something! Now write another one!
    I don't want to be rich, I just want to be able to have a comfortable life and provide for myself with my writing, that's something that would be amazing for me, because I'm such in a poor situation right now.

    But yeah, I need to focus on finishing something rather that what may happen.

    Ahaha, I don't have any idea for a short story, when I wrote the short story, I was confining myself a lot, because I want to write something short but then I just want to describe everything, not spend like a page on a river, but describing the world and how the lighting was and how the leafs were falling and stuff like that and then it's been half a page and I went no where and it's cool but it shouldn't be there because it's a short story xD At least I think it shouldn't, should it? And it's stuff that doesn't really matter for the main plot.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW srgalactica's Avatar
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    Heya! As someone who also deals with depression, I wanted to let you know you're not alone. And yes, having depression means that you will be especially hard on yourself. You have to just write though. Tell the inner critic and all the other voices to shut up. And then just write and write and write. Don't stop to edit. Just write it. Get it down on paper. You can do it.

  25. #25
    designs books | writes books adarkfox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goshirn View Post
    But yeah, I need to focus on finishing something rather that what may happen.
    I, like you, grew up with tons of different threads of story lines in my head, wanting to get them all out and share them but gosh there's so many... and being manic depressive there's the moments of full-steam and then the next day when I don't want to get out of bed much less write.

    What worked for me... I challenged myself to Finish The Book. I had three or four different book ideas, all started to some degree, but all without measurable progress. I picked one. I told myself if I could finish the book - a novel, acceptable length for its genre - then I would pursue writing the next one (my real baby lol).

    It took me three years, off an on, here and there, but I didn't write on anything but that MS. And I finished it. Wasn't great publishable material or anything, trust me, it was good bones in horrible clothes... but I finished it, and it was what broke the mental block for me. I COULD finish a novel. I COULD write through the sticky scenes, saggy middles, and confusing plot points.

    After that I wrote 2 more novels, about a year a piece. Now that I've learned what works and what doesn't for my writing habits, I'm juggling writing two different MS at once.

    Before you worry about those big scary seemingly unreachable goals (publication, able to support off writing), prove to yourself you can Finish The Book.

    I believe you can do it
    The Dark Horse of Mankato Farm - Reads
    Fire Heart -
    Arming for Query Round 2 3/27
    Fire Dance - Edits...
    A Year With Alaska - Saggy Middle
    Fox Tail Designs





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