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Thread: For those of you with multiple projects....

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Shay Dee's Avatar
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    For those of you with multiple projects....

    I'm envious of you!

    I wish I had other things to work on while I let my story sit.
    But actually I'm a little scared to even think of doing something else, the reason?

    What if I FORGET? *gasp*

    Considering you usually create a new world and some strong characters, when you move onto something else, is it easy to go back to an old project? Is it easy stepping back into your characters to write about them again? Or do you lose the flow because you left them alone for so long?

    How does it work for you?

    Shay

  2. #2
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    I wrote the draft of a new story while letting a project I'd been obsessing over rest. The time away and distance from my manuscript was incredibly helpful.

    When I came back to that project, I was able to edit it ruthlessly, cutting entire chapters without blinking. It also made faults easier to see -- embarassing typos jumped off the page and when I couldn't remember a character's name I knew she needed cut.

    Stepping back into the book was easy. The voice, characters and world were still there. I slowly read the book over as part of my edits, which helped a fair bit.
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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW Shay Dee's Avatar
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    Do you think it's harder if you are writing in third or first? Or do you find it doesn't matter?
    At the moment I'm writing in first and I really feel like I'm getting involved when I do.
    I worry about breaking that connection...

  4. #4
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    I don't see how revisiting a story would be difficult. Unless you had no connection to the characters, never envisioned the world, nor tried to make any sense of the story while you were writing, you'd just back on like riding a bike. Either way, what you wrote should be your guide.

    And for the 1st/3rd question; I don'e see a different between the narratives, so I treat them the same.
    For some writers, writing in 1st places them closer into the character's shoes (You argue that a deep 3rd and a writer with a good mindset can do the same).
    Last edited by WillSauger; 12-27-2012 at 04:10 PM.
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  5. #5
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    My resting project was first person past tense, my new manuscript was first person present so I worried a bit about getting my tenses muddled.

    Turns out I was worrying over nothing. As soon as I went back to the old project my brain recognised that this was a different world, different voice, and different tense.

    I worried a little about losing my first project's voice, but it turns out having an entire book waiting for me meant it was easy to get back into the different character voice.
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Shay Dee's Avatar
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    Yes, actually, that's what I worry about the most, losing voice. I always thought that being involved in so many voices would mean you change a few on accident when you go back.

    WillSauger, where is your display pic from?

  7. #7
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    For regaining voice, all you need to do is read what you wrote and step back into the character. I've done this with my deep 3rd narrators. You try switching from a narrator who can understand people and know their thoughts without reading their minds, to a irrationally angry man who spits blood at people at every turn... reading what their narration is and some practice in their shoes really helps you for bringing the rhythm back.

    My avatar? Sun-Ken-Rock by Boichi. P.S. The man's a genius.
    Don't Fear Failure.

    "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn" -- Alvin Toffler.

    "The heights of great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night" -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Shay Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillSauger View Post
    For regaining voice, all you need to do is read what you wrote and step back into the character. I've done this with my deep 3rd narrators. You try switching from a narrator who can understand people and know their thoughts without reading their minds, to a irrationally angry man who spits blood at people at every turn... reading what their narration is and some practice in their shoes really helps you for bringing the rhythm back.

    My avatar? Sun-Ken-Rock by Boichi. P.S. The man's a genius.
    Thanks for that, I'm going to try third person soon. I like first but I'd like to be versatile.

    Boichi. Thanks for that too. I had read Hotel and was telling people about it but couldn't remember the artist, now I know. ;P

  9. #9
    Azarath Metrion Zinthos AshleyEpidemic's Avatar
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    I let my novel sit for a month and a half, wrote another first draft and some short stories are still in progress. I let it sit for the exact reason you mentioned to forget. When I started editing the other day, I was a lot more objective.
    So, I have this blog. It's here
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    I tweet too.

  10. #10
    Will Food for Write Dimanagul's Avatar
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    Having the capacity to look at something you write as a stranger would is a good thing actually.

    One thing I learned quickly (the hard way) is that the more I like something I write the more I should consider how heavy my bias is.

    When I make something I love. I pat myself on the back, step away from it and let it sit. When I come back to it. I see the errors like they were glowing red with arrows pointing to them.
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  11. #11
    Mid-Leap asmira's Avatar
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    For me.. I experience my stories in a full-body kind of way, and it sounds like that's what you're doing here, too. I can leave myself little notes, snippets of ideas, and come back to them years later and step right back into what the story felt like. Now, some of the details might have been forgotten, but the personality of the story is live and well.

    So, if you've got a story that needs to sit for a while.. I say write down all the details you really don't want to forget, and give it some space. When you come back to it, just give yourself time and read everything you wrote again. You'll start back up with those characters like they are old friends.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Shay Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asmira View Post
    For me.. I experience my stories in a full-body kind of way, and it sounds like that's what you're doing here, too. I can leave myself little notes, snippets of ideas, and come back to them years later and step right back into what the story felt like. Now, some of the details might have been forgotten, but the personality of the story is live and well.

    So, if you've got a story that needs to sit for a while.. I say write down all the details you really don't want to forget, and give it some space. When you come back to it, just give yourself time and read everything you wrote again. You'll start back up with those characters like they are old friends.
    "full body", I couldn't say it better myself.
    As I'm typing, my netbook is literally falling apart before me, so I might have to write me some literal sticky notes but that sounds like an idea I can follow

  13. #13
    Who rules?! Hyrules! Liosse de Velishaf's Avatar
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    I keep the majority of my stories in my head at most times. It's not all that difficult for me. You can probably handle 2 or 3 stories at least.

  14. #14
    Not so new, really dirtsider's Avatar
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    Fortunately for me, my two WIP's are two totally different worlds, time period, and voices. One is a modern urban fantasy in third person past tense. The other is a post-apocalyptic fantasy 'quest' type in first person past tense. So there's no chance of losing voice in either one.

    I guess the best way to not lose voice is think of your POV character as an individual person. Then think: how would this person react to the circumstances s/he finds themself in? For example, in my UF, my POV character is a regular female bartender who is finding herself hip deep dealing with a subculture she never knew existed. She's dealing with things she would normally consider best left to the cops. Except the cops generally don't know/understand the reasoning behind the 'crimes' and the ones who do are the ones she's dealing with.

    In the other story, the POV character is a tough, experienced mage/scout who has to get the other MC from point A to point B and deal with the situation. She's actually better situated to deal with the problem than the other MC since she's been living with the consequences of his actions longer than he has.

  15. #15
    figuring it all out
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    In my opinion, letting your ms sit for a while is a good thing as when you come back to it you'll be able to look a it more as a reader. It's very easy to be too close to your own work. That's why I'd say start working on something else, and when you read the original ms again you'll see things you hadn't seen before and this might help you improve any weak points.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW Shay Dee's Avatar
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    Thanks all!
    I just wish I had that "shiny new idea" syndrome.
    I've no new projects in mind but I feel I better get used to coming up with some. I don't want to have only one finished MS under my belt.

  17. #17
    Mid-Leap asmira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shay Dee View Post
    I just wish I had that "shiny new idea" syndrome.
    Try to relax a little. Every time I finish something, I think "Whelp... that was it. I'm out of fiction now. It was a fun ride." But if I give myself a little space and relax and just let my mind wander a little... there's always something else out in the edges dancing around to get my attention. Of course, your mileage may vary, I suppose... but I'm pretty sure you've not got anything to worry about Shay.

    We have fun with what we do. <3

  18. #18
    ~~~~*~~~~ backslashbaby's Avatar
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    I can be way too slow if I only have one project to work on. I get stuck easier, for some reason.

    I like changing gears to clear out the cobwebs And I love how it really does make me more objective when I switch back. It's easier to edit, and it's easier to see where I should go next.

    Right now my second project is probably crap, but I still like it for the practice and to refresh my brain. If I don't work on something else, I can end up avoiding writing for too long, which is a huge no-no for me to do. I get very bad about it all if I do that.
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  19. #19
    Learning About New Fish Trevor Z's Avatar
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    Oftentimes when let one book sit and start working on another, I do forget some of the details of the first.

    It's kinda fun to go back 6 weeks or whatever later and re-read it. You find all sorts of cool little bits that you didn't quite remember putting in, but there they are nonetheless.

  20. #20
    Soldier, Storyteller Linda Adams's Avatar
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    The only thing that'll happen is that you'll gain some distance and perspective. The story will look a little different. There will be parts you realize are pretty good, maybe better than you thought, and others that leave you wondering, "What was I thinking?" and that terribly embarrassing typo that makes you wonder how you missed it since it was so obvious.
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  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW Shay Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asmira View Post
    Try to relax a little. Every time I finish something, I think "Whelp... that was it. I'm out of fiction now. It was a fun ride." But if I give myself a little space and relax and just let my mind wander a little... there's always something else out in the edges dancing around to get my attention. Of course, your mileage may vary, I suppose... but I'm pretty sure you've not got anything to worry about Shay.

    We have fun with what we do. <3
    I do hope I have some more left in me. I remember when I was younger I was dribbling new ideas but I suppose, because I've spent a long time on one project, I haven't given myself much of a breather to do anything else.
    Though I guess I could always blow the dust off some old projects and give them a shine ;p

    Thanks all!

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW copperbeeches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shay Dee View Post
    Thanks all!
    I just wish I had that "shiny new idea" syndrome.
    I've no new projects in mind but I feel I better get used to coming up with some. I don't want to have only one finished MS under my belt.
    Well, "shiny new idea syndrome" often makes it hard to get ANY finished manuscripts under your belt, so it's a mixed blessing, of sorts.

    If you're having trouble coming up with new ideas I agree that picking up old ones and perhaps reinterpreting or updating them might be a helpful start. Or sometimes I find it useful to just sit down and start writing whatever happens to pop into my head and then polish it later.

    Or you could read for inspiration -- sometimes it comes in the oddest places. For example -- I found the seed of my current project while reading a book written by a woman who kept a sort of halfway house for juvenile offenders in Victorian-era London.

  23. #23
    Mid-Leap asmira's Avatar
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    Oh yeah. Dusting off an old idea can be tons of fun. I'm often surprized that a story I sat down years ago has more to tell me when I come back to it than it did when it first popped up and said 'hi'

  24. #24
    space opera-popcorn lover!
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    i generally write quite happily across a number of things. i have a series, cross generational, that I write a lot about and i enjoy that, but I now try to do one novel of these, followed by one standalone (I take about 6 months to get a 80-90 k. novel to passable standard, then I drawer it and return after the next and final edit it. I have no probs switching between them, but am always surprised how quickly they revert back to the style that they're in, and how much that style varies, although it's coming closer as I settle more into my own style, and get more confident. But I still love my series best, which is a pity as its almost certainly the least commercial. Still, think of the back list....

  25. #25
    figuring it all out Nicrsing7's Avatar
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    I actually find it harder to step into a new voice/project after finishing the old, than I do to go back and revisit the old after a period away from it. It usually takes me a month or so to get the old characters' tones and styles out of my head so I can write fresh in a new world. But I love coming back to edit things I've written. I bet you find that you'll get back into it pretty quickly.

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