Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Writing more than one book at a time

Until now, my writing process has been fairly straight forward:

Step 1. Get story idea.
Step 2. Write it and revise ad nauseum.

End of story (pun intended). I never worked on more than one thing at a time, because I  became obsessed with that one manuscript. This time around has been a little different. I've gotten excited about several different projects and couldn't pick just one. I know last week I confessed to a little summer slacking, but I've started working on three different projects. (Side note: as I tend to be an over-achiever by nature, my definition of slacking might differ from others.) They're pretty different in scope (boy-centric MG, YA ghost story, and YA horror).

I thought if I started on all of them, one would sort of "take over" and I'd finish that one first, but so far, I'm still drawn to all three. Granted, I haven't gotten that far yet but I wondered how that has worked for others. On the plus side, it gives me the opportunity to go back to something with fresh eyes pretty quickly if I've worked on a chapter for a different ms. One big negative is that if I keep working on all of them at once, it will take me that much longer to finish something.

Has anyone out there worked on more than one ms at a time? What did you see as the positives and negatives? Did one eventually take over? Am I crazy? NOTE: my lovely blog sisters are prohibited from answering that last one. :)


  1. I'm glad you posted about this. Being at the tail end of my current YA revisions has led me to previous stories I've had mulling around in my head. I'm leaning towards working on two MG stores (one a male MC, the other a female) all while revising my picture books. Hmmm...I thought one would take over but maybe not. You've convinced me to try it, though.

  2. *bites tongue*

    I've started a couple things at a time (charred thigh, psychopath--that one is horror(ish), post-apocalyptic) but eventually, one took over (Greyskin) and I've been obsessed with it for about a year now.

    I've sat down recently and started working on book 2, but I don't think that really counts since I'm so far in the revision stage of book one, and because the cast and setting are established already.

    THREE new projects! Are you (comment redacted)!

  3. @salarsen--I'm curious to see what happens for you...good luck!

    @lacey--lol. Also, you reminded me that I wrote the first chapter of Book 2 of my current ms. That's what I really want to work on, but I've heard you should wait until Book 1 sells. Maybe I'll write chapters here and there on that one. :)

  4. Yeah, I've heard that too. Otherwise, you might be wasting a lot of time on a sequel to a book that may never sell. I'm not ready to break away form GS yet. I've tried.

  5. Right now, I'm working on rewrites and a new MS. I wrote 4 "series/connected" books one at a time because the publisher would only look at one at a time. But even doing edits on one project while writing another fries my brain. I have to be immersed in the characters, and I get all upgemixed doing that--can't imagine more than one new WIP.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  6. I agree with Terry, above. I've occasionally edited one project while writing another, but it's not easy for me to do -- and I've never written two projects simultaneously because I don't think I'd be able to keep the voice consistent for each one; I imagine style from one would flow into the other and end up confusing and frustrating me. Just my .02.

    I'm curious how you'll do juggling three WIPs. I'm really impressed that you've got three ideas you're equally passionate about. Good luck!

  7. Terry--if I had a publisher, I'd do whatever they told me to...good for you!

    Sarah--we'll see what happens. The MC's are so different that the voice hasn't been an issue so far. It helps that one is male. :)

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  10. I've been trying to get two books ready for my editor. I've written the rough on one, turned to the other and now writing the rough on it while the other novel rests. But deadlines are looming. Not sure I really like writing like this, but what's a writer to do? Write, right?


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