Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How to Work on Multiple Novels at Once

I've always balked at the kind of people who could read two or more books at the same time. I'd much rather be totally immersed in one world, start to finish. And isn't it kind of like cheating on one book with another?

That's what I thought when it came to writing multiple novels at the same time too. My main fear was that I would fall more in love with one WIP (work-in-progress) and the other would fall to the side, never to be seen again.

Until, without meaning to, I found myself in a wild love affair with three WIPs. Three. The scandal!
Since I've been balancing all three projects pretty well (or as well as I can with my attached baby) for a few weeks now, I'm an expert (of course). So if you're thinking of dipping your toes in the torrid world of multiple projects, here are three expert tips to help you stay faithful (ha!) to all of them.

1. Your WIPs should be at different stages.

All three of my WIPs require different kinds of creativity and thinking. One of them is a fresh idea, so I'm playing with world-building, plot, characters, everything. No actual writing is happening yet. Just daydreaming, notes, and Pinterest boards. Total freedom.

My second is in the first draft stage and is actually the sequel to my third WIP. So the world and characters have already been established. I know most of the plot, but I'm a bit of a pantser so there's a lot of room for exploration here too.

My third project is my oldest. This one has gone through revision after revision, edits after edits. Queries. Contests. And after Pitch Wars this year, we're saddling up and going through revisions yet again. (Never surrender!)

2. Establish Priorities.

With the different kinds of creativity and thinking, if I get stuck or bored with one kind, I can easily cozy up to another one for a while. But I also don't want to lose focus by switching things up too much. My goal is publication. So I want to move each project forward, but I want to move the revisions forward before the one that has no words, you know? So if I'm not stuck, first priority goes to revisions, then the sequel, and then the new idea.

3. Don't try this with more than a few books.

This can really only work if you're able to prioritize and give honest, good time and effort to what's most important. That won't happen if you're trying to juggle ten books. You have to commit at some point, player.

Have you tried working on multiple novels? What worked and didn't work for you?

Happy writing!

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