Monday, June 20, 2011

For Writers: This Week's Question


How do you decide which writing project to tackle next?
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Caroline said...

Another fun question. This one's easy for me: I usally work on more than one at a time, and have several in line to start sometime. But I begin w/those that I'm inspired w/words. In other words, I know how I want to start and where I'm going w/the story/plot. I have that I'm agonizing over because I can't quite get the beginning to start. Again, someday, it will come.

Anonymous said...

I usually come up with one story idea that explodes into a book series. Logically, they would be written in order.

But for the first series of books I conceived, I wrote book #2 first, then switched gears and began working on a novel in an entirely different series, now I'm back to book 1 of the original series.

I think I bounce around so much because I write historicals, every one of which is extremely labor intensive in terms of research. And when exhaustion takes over, I convince myself that working on a different series will be easier, which it never is, then I go back to working in order again.

Barring that, obviously my level of excitement over a project determines what I tackle next, but then I don't even entertain novel ideas I'm not excited about--I love them all. Though I do have some ideas that are on the backburner simply because they are not well developed enough in my mind yet.

BK Jackson (sorry to sign in anonymously but Blogger is being contrary)

Eileen Rife said...

Wow, yes, Caroline, I find during the times I have the most ideas, I have the most difficulty honing my attention on one project. Since I'm not a super-multitasker, I do best when I can focus on one project at a time.

The flip side is, it's nice to have several ideas ruminating in the ole' nogin to draw from if the first idea simply doesn't pan out or is too early to pursue.

I can identify with the "level of excitement" thing, BK. To a large degree, that drives my choice of which project to tackle first. However, when the honeymoon period is over, typically after I've researched enough to taste a bit of the difficulty in developing my angle, I'm ready to throw in the towel and try another one of my ideas.

Ah, fickle is writer! I'm asking the Lord to give me more grace to endure through the process from start to finish.

Roger Bruner said...

Interesting question, Eileen. :-)

I've had a hard time recently deciding what to work on next. The first book in my Altered Hearts series came out in January and the second is due in August, but I don't have contracts for the rest of the series.

My editor assures me that this question is on her radar, but until I know a contract is coming (at least for the third book), I don't feel totally safe working on it. (What would I do with it if my publisher doesn't want it? Although it's a standalone, it's initmately part of the series.) So I've been working on it slowly--I'm up to 30,000 words so far.

But I'm also working on something totally new--also slowly, because I don't want to reach a point where I might have to drop it for now and finish book three in the series. The further in I am, the harder it would be to postpone finishing it.


Eileen Rife said...

Take heart, Roger, I think every published writer has been where you are. The uncertainty as to whether a book series will continue is a very real angst.

But it sounds like you are approaching the dilemma with wisdom. And who knows? Even if your current publisher didn't contract the third book, it might be saleable elsewhere.

God delights in giving good gifts, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

Thomas said...

Once the contracted projects are done I generally work on 2-3 projects at a time. After writing my regular columns and finishing up any freelance work, I work on queries for shorter magazine pieces, book proposals, and then my new book, "Stranger."
Thomas Smith

Eileen Rife said...

Nice system, Thomas!

Rachel said...

I write historicals, and want to write about Russia, mostly in the 19th century, but also the events leading up to the revolution. What I'm doing now is a plan calculated to increase the chances of that happening.

I'm working on a series right now, of three books. I'm writing them in order. I also work on the one next that's calling the loudest. Since I'm a pantster, that's crucial for me. If they're not talking, I can't plot.

Eileen Rife said...

Thanks, Rachel, for weighing in on this question.

Your setting sounds intriguing! Keep writing!

Barbara Hartzler said...

I've been struggling with this question lately. I keep getting rejections on my YA proposals, so I thought I'd stop polishing it and work on the next book. Then I started on my next book, and can't seem to get the YA book out of my head. It's like I can't move on until it's fully polished. It's like a never-ending cycle! I guess I'll just keep plugging away until the other nags at me to work on it. Maybe going back and forth will at least keep my writing brain active. :)

Eileen Rife said...

Oh, the frustration of it all. I can so relate to this, Barbara!

Writing is a love/hate relationship. I remember Jerry Jenkins saying once that he loves being a writer, but he doesn't like writing.

I giggle at this paradox to keep from going insane. :)

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