Saturday, September 4, 2010

Books are like boyfriends...

You always love the one you're with now the most.

I can't remember which writer said that, but she's spot on. She was referring to her own books, the ones she writes. She possibly said it on Twitter, proving that profound, life-changing statements are uttered on twitter.

I have been struggling with a standalone novel for months and, like my last, ill-fated, short-lived relationship, I am wondering where the honeymoon period went. It's not supposed to be this hard this early, right? I'm only a third of a way through the manuscript and I can't seem to regain that initial excitement I felt when I was first inspired to write the story.

I think the problem is...I'm still in love with my last "boyfriend". (That SO wasn't the case with my last relationship, but the way. Though I may have been, um, rebounding like crazy. Not something I'm proud of at all, but older and wiser now, no?) The last "boyfriend" being Lharmell. Oh how I love thee and thy two sequels!

I have been wavering over whether I should just drop the standalone and focus on books two and three of Lharmell, or keep working on the two projects simultaneously and see what happens.

Can you two-time a writing project like this? I am in an agony of indecision!

How do you make decisions like these? Do you go with your gut? Do you never EVER start a new project til the last one is completely out of you system, or do you have so many WIPs you could fill a library if only you had the time to write them all?


  1. Hmmmmm....

    I like to think some projects are fair weather boyfriends, and some are superloyal. Clearly you want the superloyal ones cos they'll stick by you and their value usually just increases with time.

    My personal experience has been that my WIP wasn't loyal to me when I found out that 'angels were the new vampires', as you know...but I was able to take some of the traits of THAT boyfriend so I knew what I wanted for the new one.

    I myself don't really have the energy to two-time but I'm kinda jealous of those who do. If you're in that first date stage (which you kinda are with the current WIP) perhaps sit it out for a little while longer? You can pretend it doesn't matter but I know you want your friends to like your boyf....maybe stick it out until you get some more feedback (ahem), and then think again whether he's as attractive as he once was...

    And I'm very happy with my current WIP boyfriend :) I'll need to introduce you guys soon...

  2. I can't wait to meet your boyfriend Aimee! I hope you get along with mine. He's a little sloppy round the edges. A real fixer-upper!

    I bought the fabric for my racewear dress yesterday. I must take pictures! I was also at a fashion show last night and it was all very inspiring. Bring on the dressing up! I may bust out some white gloves with the outfit. Ladylike is so my vibe for spring.

  3. Gut, gut, gut!

    At least that works for me. Earlier in the year I got all hung up on finishing stories because I went through this period where I couldn't finish anything.

    In May/June I wrote the first 25k of Forever More and then got hardcore stuck. I tried to force myself to finish, but I made it suck even more. So, I left it and went onto something else. I wrote 2 other ms and then came back to it. I was inspired and I'd worked out where I went wrong. And I finished it today!

    I think everyone's different, but I'm learning it's okay not to finish SOME things. If I'm meant to write it, I'll go back to it.

    Good luck!!

  4. oh - i get stuck. and then give myself headaches trying to work my way out of things. and for some reason i cant start a new WIP when I have one sitting suspended on my computer. although I do handwrite notes and scenes for other ideas i have.

    i just started re-writing one that sat stagnating for 3 months. i tweaked the premise and its like beginning something new all over again.

    good luck!

  5. I think you should scrap both ideas and just write the last books in the Obernewtyn series. Someone has to do it!

  6. I currently have two half or trunked novels that I plan to get back to some day. I honestly thought I'd be working on that right now--I had no idea I'd get side tracked with this new wip. It also has a bk 2 and 3 to be written. I'm faced with a similar question right now. What do I work on next? Of course the easy answer would be book 2 of what ever sells first, but who knows what that's going to be? The historical is a stand alone, so maybe it should be that.

    Or toss a coin? Eeany meany miney moe....

  7. Okay, so I don't know if my advice is worth squat, but i'm throwing in my thoughts.

    I don't think that working simultaneously on different projects would work for me. I think if your writing something, you should atleast give it all your time and energy to make it even better than it stands at the moment. I'm flaky though, and the thought of writing something else when i'm writing my current wip freaks me out. A LOT.

    I think maybe your struggling with your standalone because you don't want to write it right now. You'll know when you do, because the excitement will come back. I say carry on with Llharmel and its two sequels, put all your time and thought into those books and love every second of it.

    You never know, when your doing that you could have sudden bursts of inspiration or new ideas or plot threads for your stand alone. But don't stop writing what your writing. Use your journal and jot them all down, then when you've finished you can back and read them all over and write that stand alone and love every second of it. You will be SO over Llharmel by then.

    But thats just how I think.

  8. This is a pretty good analogy. With me and writing, I feel like a singleton who keeps flitting between attractive-on-the-surface new ideas and a former love who always seems like 'the one' when the new ideas turn out to be shallow... but then when I've decided to stick with 'the one', after a while my eye keeps wandering.

    (Okay, I have some *real* worries about what that says about me as a person. But anyway.)

    In other words, I'm the writing equivalent of that friend whose romantic advice you'd never take seriously.

    And yet... I think since this is probably the first time this issue is giving you problems, you need to first give yourself a set amount of time to decide. During that time, think about where you're going to take each idea and what it is about the new one that's making you want to run back to the old one. Is it really not viable, or is it just that it's more difficult that your previous 'love'? Then once you decide, I think you have to commit to sticking with whichever one until it's run its course.

    And then I should probably take my own advice.

  9. Jade--gut it is. Works for me. And is it seriously OK not to finish some things?? I don't know, the book police might lock me up...

    Cat--LOL!!! I bloody well should.

    Elle--I can see your quandary! It must be doubly stressful to have TWO books on submission.

    Carla, that could be it. I'm going to work on The Harmings tomorrow, the sequel to Lharmell.

    Lauren--I've so got the wandering eye! I'm seriously considering dumping the bugger too. But I'm going to take some time to decide. Maybe we've just been living in one another's pockets too much.

  10. I'm gonna echo the person up there who said Gut, Gut, Gut! but with a little something more. You really DO have to write when the inspiration strikes, so if you're finding yourself dwelling on something, you need to write it and get it out of your system. Couple reasons:
    1. If you don't, you might lose it.
    2. If you don't. it might turn up in what you ARE writing, and that's probably not the desirable outcome.

    But I think that working on both can be a good thing. You don't want to let something stagnate, which could well happen if you focus solely on one. Also, when writing, you tend to get bogged down in problem spots, or sometimes things just aren't there yet -- and they're not going to get there by staring mindlessly at a screen and trying to force it. But if you go work on something else, generally, the problem will be working itself out in the back of your head now that the pressure's off, and you'll be ready for it when you go back to it.

    But I guess it all depends on your writing style and how easily you can separate the two works so they don't bleed into each other.

  11. do you have so many WIPs you could fill a library if only you had the time to write them all?