Historical Romance

Historical Romance with an Inspirational Touch

Saturday, August 29, 2009

WIP Jumping

Do you ever have two separate WIPs demanding your attention? This is happening to me. The first one that I am writing is intended to be a sequel to a manuscript I recently finished. That manuscript is sitting, waiting for edits. It is a rule of mine that after a story is written and the critiques received, I don't look at it for two to five months. This used to be hard because I wanted to keep working and get the story submitted. But, in time I have learned that I need to be away from it so it is no longer fresh in my mind when I edit. I find a lot of mistakes that way.

So, while one WIP is resting, I move onto another. However, right now I have two others. I have two sets of characters, in two totally different settings, clamoring for my attention like two jealous children with a parent. When I pause in one, to think about which direction I want the story to take (I don't outline), the other child (set of characters) steps into the temporary vacant spot as if to say "my turn now". So, I let the first one stew in the back of my mind while I play with the second story. I know the best thing would be to permanently put one away until the other is complete. But that would be like locking one beloved child in a room so you can lavish attention on the other. It seems so unfair.

I am sure by now I am also driving my critique partners crazy. I am about to post chapters from my second story when they have been critiquing the first. Thank goodness they are an understanding group. Though I believe a former critique partner did mention ADD and my name in the same sentence. I am sure I don't know what they mean - lol.

Has this ever happened to you, or is it happening now? Do you have two or more sets of characters insisting you pay attention to them and ignore the others? Do you work on only one story and ignore the second?


  1. Amy!!! I am the same way. At one time I had three wips going. Sheesh! What's up with that? In a way, I'm glad to jump back and forth because when I come back to the story, it's fresh again and I get new ideas.


  2. Oh my gosh, yes! At one point I've had three stories all trying to get my attention at the same time. And, of course, I wanted to oblige. So I worked on them all. Three stories that I got to about 100 pages each. Ugh. Then I had to make the decision to finish what I started so now I'm more disciplined and I make myself work on something until it's done--unless I know it's not going to work. But when I get new ideas, I'll still write them down and think on them enough that I know they'll be able to be developed later.

  3. There's no way I could do that! The older I get, the shorter my attention span. I envy those people that can read more than one book at a time!

  4. I'm a little OCD, so it's very hard for me to focus on more than one story at a time. Starting something before I've finished something else drives me a little insane. LOL! I do find that I have to put projects on hold often, though, to work on edits, etc... for my publisher. That's even rough for me to do. I have a story that I was almost done with in January, but I had to put it on hold and haven't been able to go back to it yet! ARGH! Sometimes I think I would probably be a lot more productive if I COULD multitask my manuscripts...maybe I'll try it someday :)

  5. I don't write but I read that way and do projects that way - - - but I have read that we really are more productive if we focus on just one thing until the end...........don't know if I could do that. I might get bored.

  6. Wow, I think that's good to be able to do that! I get confused with one or two articles, blog, and everyday life. :0 I have notes everywhere. My husband is afraid to throw anything away, just in case!


  7. Thanks for the follow! :) I have only had one novel at a time, but lots and lots of picture books all clamoring for my attention. :)

  8. I'm always telling the voices (future characters) to wait their turn and they try really hard to intrude on the current story.

    About once a week I spend an afternoon on them, researching, adding links to their folder but I dont write a word of their story. I do write down plot ideas/situations but you have to focus on one project at a time or nothing gets finished. :o)

  9. Phyllis,
    I agree. Sometimes it is good to take a break so the story is fresh again.

    I wish I could discipline myself to stay with one story and ignore the others.

    Besides working on two separate WIPs, I think I am reading four different books. I pick up which one I am in the mood for.

    I probably need a little more OCD and less ADD. I would probably get a lot more done.

  10. MissLynda,
    I know I would get bored. I have been that way my entire life when working on any one thing.

    I never said I don't get confused - LOL.

    Lots and Lots of picture books can be just as demanding as two novels. So many stories, so little time.

    I agree about the focusing and I am working on it. I have so many folders started with info I wonder if I will ever get all of the stories written.

  11. LOL Amy!
    I've done it in the past, but now with fresh work. I'd just write a new wip while editing an old.
    This is so funny! I hope you have fun with those bossy characters. :-)

  12. I can't do that but I know writers who do. They'll write two manuscripts at a time, going back and forth. I guess whatever works for you, you go with. Creativity is a crazy thing and we have to follow our instincts. Like you, though, I definitely do better at revising if I go away from something and come back to it.

  13. This is happening to me now. I'm glad I have two ideas going, but it is hard for me to keep them seperate. I've made little progress on either one, so I have decided to put one to the side. Now I just need to decide which one.

  14. It used to until my current project started demanding all the attention. It's so spoiled. :D You sound like a awesome multi-tasker!

  15. I do--my current manuscript and one I want to add a few more words too. So not sure which way to go, but trying to be patient.

  16. I tried that once and eventually, the other story took over so much that I abandoned the other one until later!

  17. Yes! That's me. I almost cannot do it. My mind, my life, is my protagonist. I swear sometimes I even have their dreams. But I find when I stop by an old book, I make changes, and they stink. They are totally out of sync, you know?
    PS Great blog. Coming back soon!!

  18. interesting post. I think everyone works differently. I love to have several things going at the same time, my hubby can only focus on one at a time. On vacation, I found myself writing children's poetry when those thoughts came. You can't always control your creativity and put it in little boxes to wait but grab it when it comes...

  19. Jessica,
    Well, the characters that aren't bossy are collecting dust somewhere on the hard drive - lol.

    It is crazy to go back and forth between the two, but it is the only way I know. I wish I could just stay with one and work straight through it.

    So far, I have been able to keep the two separate. I hope I don't forget which one I am working when typing because the first is 1803 England and the other is 1794 Paris - big difference - lol.

    B.J. - I am not sure I am that great at multi-tasking, but I try. My characters force me into this - LOL.

    Terri - I gave up on patience and just go to the one screaming the loudest.

    Melissa - working on ignoring the first one at the moment. It wasn't being cooperative so I have given it a time out. We shall see how long it lasts.

    JD, thanks for stopping by. Whenever I force myself to write something in a story not yelling for attention it usually stinks so I try not to put me or my characters through it if I have something else I can be working on.

    Lin, you are so right. You cannot control creativity.

  20. It souonds like a crazy but good problem, having too many writing projects! Have fun. :O)