Should you write more than one novel at a time?

IntoTheBlack

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Hello Everyone,

@Cathbad inspired me in a recent post by highlighting that two novels were being worked on at the same time as opposed to the usual one. I was impressed, my brain started ticking. The question here is in the title. Should those that want to write a novel write more than one at a time? The reason? Simple, I am writing a Sci-fi - aiming for about one hundred thousand words. I get lost in the drama of my own writing, the endless files, I rush things, leave things out, sudden panic over plot holes, oh no I have adjectives:eek:. Would it be better to write two novels at once to separate and moderate the writing? Or is it asking too much? The thought of two hundred thousand words terrify me. However if you wrote an opposite genre or style, get stuck with one. Go to another. A bit like writing Fantasy and Sci-Fi at the same time. Has anybody done this, if so was the writing more organized, fluid even? Alternatively did you melt down :alien: <-- why is there no emoji for Dali's watch when you need one?

Perhaps organization is personal, but it did get me thinking. Not brave enough to tell the wife that I am contemplating writing not one novel but two :) I might not live through that..

Best regards,

Andy
 

tinkerdan

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It's a personal thing--as much as it is up to what you can handle.
I wrote two at once; however the cheat there is that the whole was too large for one book so I split it.
I know of one person who has been submitting the same manuscript for years--working--reworking; I gave up asking if they were ever going to write anything else.
I hope they have been working on other things.

I usually fall into something else when the editing gets too tedious. There are so many editing parts in the process that sometimes it is a relief to find something else to work on while someone else is editing and or beta reading.

I think the worst thing that might happen is losing track of the voice and mood and possibly plot and character development.

However I read my stuff through so many times I'm not sure how I could lose track of those.
 

IntoTheBlack

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Hi @tinkerdan

Interesting reply, I get the concept of splitting a book as that seems practical. Perhaps I should point out this is my first book. I have written endless game supplements for RPG in my youth, board game rules to entertain friends, and computer game story lines for something that never got developed. So cards on the table, this is my first book. Of course its perfect (Cough..:X3:) but I doubt I would fall into the trap of resubmitting then altering endlessly. I have too big an imagination to do that, as I cant afford to make the films I see in my head I write them - I already wrote the first draft for my next book, based on the NHS and fantasy (With accountants :LOL: just to make it interesting).

The endless editing does get to me, I don't know how authors like Stephen King do it, its mind numbing, after reading the first six chapters for the three hundredth time. Doubt creeps in, then you wonder if you have a cohesive story at all...then someone tells you they like and you wonder if the are being...nice!

Perhaps I ask as its my first attempt at a book? Ironically i am sat here currently editing :)

Best,

Andy
 

L.L.Lotte

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I found that if I start working on a second novel while still writing the first, I end up never going back to the first one. So no, I wouldnt write two at once.

I would however edit one while writing a second. Writing the second would actually benefit this because you are creating a distance from the first novel that would help you see it with fresh eyes.
 

Cathbad

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I work on multiple projects at once to keep creative. I find that I often run into walls when working on a project - going over to another project lets me escape that project for a bit. This seems to, eventually, break down that wall and my thirst for that first project.

Would I suggest this for other writers? Definitely not. I recognize it's not logical. And what works for me (logical or not) would not necessarily work for others.

But, luck on your endeavors!
 

Steve Harrison

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If I ever have the opportunity to write full time, I will definitely give it a try, but while my writing time is limited to a few hours at the weekend at most, I suspect simultaneous projects would quickly bring me to a standstill. I'm slow enough with one WIP.
 

Brian G Turner

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I always work on multiple projects at the same time. However, there's always a main project I remain focused on, with the other projects in the background.

I've found that the way I think about different stories is very different, and it's difficult to keep switching mindsets. On saying that, it's difficult to ignore inspiration, so if I need to make notes or short scene drafts for other projects, I have to do that. :)
 

zmunkz

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This is definitely one of those, “whatever works for you” questions.

I’ve tried this. It works ok for me if the projects are in different phases... e.g., writing the draft of one while revising another. But on the whole, I makes me lose focus too much. When the going gets hard, instead of pushing through, I switch projects and avoid. For me, I can’t sustain more than one longterm.
 

Lumens

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I've just started working on two different stories, and will keep that up until one of them takes over. If that never happens I'll just keep writing on them both.

I'm also in the middle of revising a novella, with some generous help from @CTRandall. I also make electronic music where I spend a lot of time on building sounds from scratch. And then there's life too...

It's slower when you work on multiple projects in parallel, but over time you still get a lot done. For me, this is all a never ending exploration of what works and what doesn't.
 

Dragonlady

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I'm like @Boneman, my time for actual writing is negligible so if a project comes to a halt for some reason I just switch. I got up to about 7000 words into a rewrite of the novel I did a first draft of as a teenager when I spotted a whopper of a plothole/inconsistency that I want to tackle later as it will require major revisions and a lot of research. So I've moved onto researching a vague idea that has been floating round in my head, and started with a short story. No middle and end idea really yet, but this time I will devise them after the research...
 

IntoTheBlack

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Hello Everyone.

Thank you all for the replies;

@L.L.Lotte - Yes I am editing a lot at the moment, its not something that I see as fun, but very necessary. I am always thinking of the story, so when its wrong, it needs changing. What has surprised me is time and how hard it is to keep track off in a book when there is a flashback or a prologue. the thought of writing another novel does worry me, I have the inspiration but am I being caught up in the 'grass is greener' syndrome.

@Jo Zebedee - Yes, i did wonder if this was the case. If it does work, there must be benefits to writing two novels. I am sure that most people would take years to write two full books. Especially if they work, raise children etc..

@Brian G Turner - Indeed, the inspiration is powerful, I swore that when I started the next book I would be more organized. My next novel will require significant research. I take endless notes, sadly not always good ones but at least I make a note of what attracts me at the time.

@zmunkz - I am starting to see that, its not a process thing but a very personal one.

@Lumens - Ok, hand over the time machine...you are now making me look bad :)

@Boneman - Writers block was not something I believed in till last Thursday...I have not written another word on my book since. Not that I don't have the direction. Just the impetus, I think its due to a large amount of editing...wife blames pressure at work.

@Dragonlady - I am really tempted to do this, as others have stated its of benefit, but what if I never actually finish anything and just keep starting new stories? This is my worry, I don't have a problem with ideas...just time (Don't we all :))

Thank you all, these comments are helpful. I will give it a go, see what happens. If nothing else I have something else to consider.

Andy
 

Dragonlady

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See, I still have the first book in the back of my brain, and at some point I'm sure I'll switch back. I know what you mean about in-story time - I have to write timelines just to work out if my characters need to eat yet...
 

IAmTR

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I think it just depends what you feel comfortable with. I'm riding both sci-fi and fantasy at the same time but I just go with whatever I'm in the mood for. I'm much further ahead on my fantasy world/first novella but if I'm inspired to write sci-fi that day then I go with that. Helps me fight off writer's block a little bit.
 

IntoTheBlack

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I'm much further ahead on my fantasy world/first novella but if I'm inspired to write sci-fi that day then I go with that. Helps me fight off writer's block a little bit.
Yes, I now know that, and am doing something similar. Funny how that works - welcome to the forum, I’m new(ish) too. This is a great place :giggle:
 
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I agree, it really depends on what you're comfortable with. Not including the one book I've finished (part of a series), I have 10 planned right now (two, maybe, stand-alones, and two series) and am concurrently working on 4 of them. This is also while still plotting out the details of the remaining 6 and jotting down other new story ideas that keep popping into my head before I've finished these ones.

Do whatever works best for you. If you find you're getting other ideas, but don't feel you can focus enough to actively write all of them at once, then maybe keep a journal where you can record them to flesh out at a later date.
 

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