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Getting back to old projects.

Posted: June 28th, 2011, 9:06 pm
by ryanznock
Yikes. So I haven't posted in 8 months. I've been working on a different project (game design - http://www.enworld.org/ap/zeitgeist.html, and I'm actually getting published and paid for it!), but after a nice gap to let my novel simmer on the back-burner, I did a thorough revision in May and June.

I wanted to wave hi and see how folks were doing, and if anyone I knew is still around, or if you've all made it to the New York Times Best-Seller list yet.

I guess if I want anyone to actually respond, I should give people something to talk about. Has anyone here taken a break from a particular project to work on something else, then gone back to the original idea later? How'd it turn out? What sorts of insights had you gained in the interim?

For instance I, with my novel MEETING OF THE WATERS, realized that I could streamline some of the clunkier elements of plot, merge two characters, and make it a lot easier to explain when it came to queries and synopses. Also, by working on a game project - wherein you play your own character through a story-line - I realized I'd gotten too close to my narrator. It's hard when you're writing first person to make the character reveal flaws.

Re: Getting back to old projects.

Posted: June 29th, 2011, 1:35 am
by Ryan
Yeah...it's been at lease 8 months since I've posted in these forums. Paid? You mean we can get paid for this stuff?

Here's what I have to say about old projects.

1. Having a lot of projects kicking around gives you a better chance at actually finishing something.

2. Working stuff out in your head is as good as working stuff out at the keyboard.

I'm on the verge of releasing my multimedia memoir into the world so hopefully that should give me some time to revisit some other projects that I've started.

Congrats on landing a deal.

Re: Getting back to old projects.

Posted: June 29th, 2011, 11:21 am
by dios4vida
Hi, ryanznock! Welcome back. :)

(I'd have dropped by to say hello if you hadn't posed a question, too. I remember reading your synopsis over in the critique forum and the idea stuck with me.)

I have a lot of WIPs in one stage of completion or another - most are basic outlines with 5,000-ish words written. It's just enough that I don't forget what I wanted to do with it. I focus on whichever one catches my attention and passion and try to ignore the others until I get that one "done." Once I have a WIP that needs to sit for a while before I go back to edits, I start up one of those other outlines. So in a sense, I'm always going back to old projects because I have done a bit of work on them all. Every time I read what I'd planned, I make significant changes. I think letting it ruminate, even if you aren't consciously thinking of it, really helps you to see where you're being cliche or clunky so that you can streamline it all.

I also have gone back to a "completed" WIP and started a full rewrite of it. It was going well, I'd evolved a few characters and taken out a lot of extraneous details and tons of terrible writing (can we can purple prose?). But then, like the girl I am, I got distracted by a shiny new WIP and got caught up in that. I will go back to this rewrite when I'm done with the first draft of my WIP because I'm very excited about it.

All of that to say that when I go back to old projects, I find a lot that can be improved upon. I think it's a good exercise in editing, critiquing, and it's also encouraging to see your progress. I remember stopping my read-through of this rewrite about 20 pages in and saying (to my cat), "I know why I never got any requests on this ms. The writing's terrible. I can so make this better!"

Re: Getting back to old projects.

Posted: June 29th, 2011, 5:40 pm
by sierramcconnell
Welcome back!

I currently (and at any given time) have more than five (or more) things going in my head. They float around and randomly attack me with ideas.

Last night, I wrote a fanfic for a community for a video game that I haven't played in years, and haven't written for in about the same amount of time. It actually wasn't that bad.

I think having multiple projects, shelved projects, and other things to work on is just fine, so long as you have plenty of material and notes to go back and read through to catch you back up. It keeps a person sane so they're not obsessing about one project.

At least that's how it works for me. :)

Re: Getting back to old projects.

Posted: July 5th, 2011, 3:20 pm
by justcrash
Speaking of old projects, I start editing my first novel tonight, haven't seen it in a month or two. I'm a little nervous. I think that stems from me telling myself "It will be better once I edit it". Any advice? :oops:

Re: Getting back to old projects.

Posted: July 5th, 2011, 4:58 pm
by Cookie
justcrash wrote:Speaking of old projects, I start editing my first novel tonight, haven't seen it in a month or two. I'm a little nervous. I think that stems from me telling myself "It will be better once I edit it". Any advice? :oops:
Lots of coffee. And be brutal. I mean seriously brutal. Don't be afraid to rip it to pieces then tape it back together again. Be your own worst critic. I know it's sometimes hard to do, but the objectivity will help you cut the unnecessary "fluff", and terrible cliches.

Re: Getting back to old projects.

Posted: July 5th, 2011, 6:15 pm
by justcrash
Cookie wrote:
justcrash wrote:Speaking of old projects, I start editing my first novel tonight, haven't seen it in a month or two. I'm a little nervous. I think that stems from me telling myself "It will be better once I edit it". Any advice? :oops:
Lots of coffee. And be brutal. I mean seriously brutal. Don't be afraid to rip it to pieces then tape it back together again. Be your own worst critic. I know it's sometimes hard to do, but the objectivity will help you cut the unnecessary "fluff", and terrible cliches.
I think I'm one big cliche sometimes. :)