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Friday, February 15, 2013

The great WIP race


I'm in a tizzy, to use an old expression. I have four novel-length works in progress. That in itself is not unusual for me. What's weird is that, this time around, there isn't one work that's truly leaping forward, causing me to forget the others for several months while I finish it.

After I finish a novel, I usually have a couple weeks of this state of confusion. But it's lasted a couple of months now, and I'm getting concerned. I have at my fingertips four works with very different purposes, which is making it particularly difficult to choose. And I think part of my problem is that I'm shying away from  the bigger challenge, yet part of me knows I should embrace the challenge.

Here they are, ranked in order of scariness, with No. 1 being the least terrifying to me:

1. A second sequel to my humorous (adult) sci-fi novel, Green Light Delivery. I think of this as the easy path, since I'm accustomed to the characters and world they live in. This is fully plotted and fun to work on.

2. A sequel to the middle-grade historical I'm currently shopping to agents. This is embryonic, with only a bit of research and plotting done. My main interest here is to have something available if and agent/publisher is interested.

3. A serious YA sci-fi, which I've been working on for two years. I really like the concept of this, but it's very complicated and some days I get exhausted just thinking about it. If I do this, it must be done right. I have about 12K words written and a full plot outline.

4. A very personal, long, mixed-genre piece that's my "desk-drawer novel," coming together slowly over the past five or six years. It's scary because it's the biggest emotional investment. Because of its topic, it's rather time-sensitive. I also know it will be an extremely hard sell, but it means a great deal to me to push it out into the world. And the wonderful, open-minded sci-fi publisher I work with (Candlemark & Gleam) may be my only chance ever to get someone even to consider it.

Eventually, I'll figure this out and commit to one work. Have you ever had this issue, not being able to decide what's the best thing to dive into with your whole heart and mind?

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9 comments:

  1. I've had moments when I feel like leaving one ms for another (because things are drying up with the former). Your third and fourth WIPs sound very worthwhile pursuing, Anne. Keep going. I must have heard this from a superstar author somewhere: to write the story that tears at you the most.

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    1. I agree, Claudine, if I can just find the nerve...

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  2. Oh, my. I feel exhausted just mulling over your four horses, pulling in different directions.
    Sometimes when a mini-version of this engulfs me, the way forward is to go full speed ahead with the least intimidating venue. This way, at least I’m *moving* and the rest of the projects will follow.

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    1. That's very tempting, Mirka, and it may be what I decide to do. This week I'm trying to focus on WIP #3 in that list, since it's slightly but not extremely uncomfortable. We'll see how it goes.

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  3. I've never written many manuscripts at the same time, but I've had problems to decide between many chapters or scenes. If I don't get anything done, I wait few hours or days and think of all the things I'd like to write. Then I try to write the chapter/scene that feels most difficult - I've noticed it helps me the best because after diving into the hardest part the rest doesn't feel so difficult anymore.

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    1. I've done that sort of thing too, Booklover. It's a good strategy. Maybe it will work on a larger scale for a complete work!

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  4. This is totally where I'm at right now! Do I go with the YA sci-fi? The MG steampunk? The YA contemporary/re-telling?

    *Frozen* !?!

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    1. Sorry this situation is so familiar to you, Carissa. I hope one of your WIPs grabs you and won't let you go. I know that's what I need.

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  5. I feel for you Anne! I usually end up just working on whatever strikes my fancy on a given day, but that doesn't always work. Right now I just need a kick in the pants to work on ANYTHING! Good luck.

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