What would you do?

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Ermo
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What would you do?

Post by Ermo » September 14th, 2011, 7:27 pm

I've written two chapters of a first draft of a novel. I've done a good bit of research and I like the direction for which I see it going. However, I just came up with an idea for a novel today that I think is fantastic. Of course, everything is shiny at the initial stage as I've done no research or written a word. How much time would you give fleshing out this new idea as a possibility of writing instead of the first idea? Do you just put it in your tickler file for later? Do you dare write two things at once? How often have you dropped something you really liked for something you think you might love?

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CharleeVale
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Re: What would you do?

Post by CharleeVale » September 14th, 2011, 10:19 pm

I think it's hard to write two things at once, but at the same time, you will never get the purity of that idea back. So maybe write out that impulse until you have the beauty of it throughly implanted, and then decide which of the two stories you want to continue with.

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Nicole R
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Re: What would you do?

Post by Nicole R » September 14th, 2011, 10:53 pm

CharleeVale wrote:You will never get the purity of that idea back. So maybe write out that impulse until you have the beauty of it throughly implanted, and then decide which of the two stories you want to continue with.
This! I just did a little writing detour like this tonight to capture a new idea, but now that I've gotten it out, I'm going to let that one simmer and continue working on my current WIP.

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GingerWrite
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Re: What would you do?

Post by GingerWrite » September 15th, 2011, 1:43 am

I'd say since you've only got 2 chapters of the other novel written, give this new idea a try. At least write the first two chapters there so you can come back to it later if you feel you should finish the other book first. You don't want to forget the idea! :)
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MattLarkin
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Re: What would you do?

Post by MattLarkin » September 15th, 2011, 10:02 am

How often does this happen to you? If you get new ideas like this all the time, maybe you need to maintain focus on a single project. If it's really a better idea and that doesn't happen often, maybe the new one is the way to go.

Personally, though, I'm more the type that likes to let an idea percolate and grow a long time before I write it.
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Robin
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Re: What would you do?

Post by Robin » September 15th, 2011, 11:17 am

make some notes for your shiny new project, then press on with the one you've already started. If you allow yourself to get distracted, I'm afraid it will repeat itself continually and you'll never finish anything.

Finish.
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Re: What would you do?

Post by washingtonwriter1968 » September 15th, 2011, 11:25 am

I agree with Robin and the others. I have a file drawer full of half finished projects because of starting new projects and saying I can do both. I would write out just the basic scenario of the new idea and then finish. there is nothing in the world like finish!
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JustAnotherJen
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Re: What would you do?

Post by JustAnotherJen » September 15th, 2011, 11:59 am

This same thing happened to me recently. I'm working on one project, which I'm really excited about and then BAM a completely genius idea hits me over the head. All shiny, just like you said. I can only tell you what I've decided to do; whether or not it's good advice remains to be seen. I have "work time" when I focus on my current WIP. I can't afford to get distracted from that. But when I have down time then I allow myself to keep fleshing out the new story. Down time comes in all shapes and sizes for me - in the shower, doing dishes, commercial breaks in TV shows, road trips, etc. I just make sure that I keep focusing on my WIP and don't take any time away from it. But I still want to allow the idea that I got to blossom and grow, which it wouldn't if I put it away completely. This balance has worked really well for me. I'm making consistent progress on my WIP and I'm also developing ideas for a new story that I'm totally in love with. And whenever I get around to writing it (which may be a few years down the road) it will be a much more developed idea than it was when it first came to me.

I will echo what's already been said though: don't abandon your current WIP. No matter what project you're working on, you will always get ideas for others. Stay focused, and finish your first project. Many people who work on multiple stories at a time end up having multiple partially-completely manuscripts, and then moving onto yet another project.

Good luck!

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Ryan
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Re: What would you do?

Post by Ryan » September 15th, 2011, 12:13 pm

One of my favorite sayings....

"Having lots of projects gives me a better chance at actually finishing something!"

You'd be surprised how one project feeds another.

At some point though, you have to let the weeds grow, ignore peeling paint and caulk around the house, put the fishing on hold, and hammer out the Big One. Who knows...the new project may pick up steam and become your Big One.

No matter what keep going.
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Ermo
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Re: What would you do?

Post by Ermo » September 16th, 2011, 4:09 pm

Terrific answers everyone. It turns out that idea #2 is going to take some research before I can really write it so I'm doing that from time to time while writing idea #1. I do love idea #1 too and anticipate finishing it first. Thanks for all of the input - great stuff.

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Re: What would you do?

Post by dios4vida » September 16th, 2011, 5:03 pm

Wow, everyone. Such great responses.

Personally, I get Shiny New Ideas all the time. The only way I can stay focused on something long enough to finish it is to get SNI down on paper. I'll open up a new document and write everything that's on my mind regarding that idea - from snippets like "gnome war" to dialogue to names to entire passages, depending on how SNI came to me. (Dreams tend to be much, much more detailed than that one idea I got when I was on Vicodin or the other when I had that migraine - yeah, I know, pain is my muse. Weird.) Once everything regarding SNI is on paper, I write up what I know on my "Idea Board" - a 4x4 foot dry erase board hanging on my office wall. I can't call it an outline because I'm a total pantser, but I do my best to make it look like an outline. Whatever I know happens (or think happens) goes there in a somewhat chronological order. I dump everything regarding SNI out of my brain and onto something a bit more permanent.

And there is stays, a few thousands words in a document and a handful of scribbled lines on a dry erase board.

I do my absolute best to ignore SNI and the Idea Board after that and turn my focus back on my WIP. I turn my back on the board (literally, it's on the opposite wall that I face when I sit at my desk) and turn to my WIP board (that is just to my right on the same wall as my desk), which obviously holds all of my notes and my "outline" of my WIP.

So I guess, unless I've just started a WIP or I'm really really really stuck on one, I stick to one project at a time. Only when I'm ready for a new WIP or have the world's biggest case of Writer's Block do I return to the Idea Board and the SNIs.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

washingtonwriter1968
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Re: What would you do?

Post by washingtonwriter1968 » September 20th, 2011, 8:28 am

:lol: :lol: :lol: Dios Your board sounds very efficient. It also sounds like what i mean when I say writing out my most basic idea. I :lol: Because I have been told that like my favorite horror novelist i have a kind of diarrhea of the mouth. (Iuse too many words when i write. so what call a short snippet is probably comparable to your idea board :lol:)
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dios4vida
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Re: What would you do?

Post by dios4vida » September 20th, 2011, 11:22 am

washingtonwriter1968 wrote:...i have a kind of diarrhea of the mouth.
I always say that I write novels because I talk too much to write short stories. I couldn't even dream of getting a complete storyline told in 15K. I'd be over 30K without even blinking.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

washingtonwriter1968
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Re: What would you do?

Post by washingtonwriter1968 » September 20th, 2011, 8:06 pm

:lol: :lol: :D
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Chantelle.S.
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Re: What would you do?

Post by Chantelle.S. » September 30th, 2011, 7:33 am

Ermo wrote:I've written two chapters of a first draft of a novel. I've done a good bit of research and I like the direction for which I see it going. However, I just came up with an idea for a novel today that I think is fantastic. Of course, everything is shiny at the initial stage as I've done no research or written a word. How much time would you give fleshing out this new idea as a possibility of writing instead of the first idea? Do you just put it in your tickler file for later? Do you dare write two things at once? How often have you dropped something you really liked for something you think you might love?
I'm in a similar situation! But I'm always in this same situation, you see, my problem is that I keep getting really good plot bunnies that I want to hop onto, and I'll do a brief summary for one bunny, maybe write a scene or two that might pop into my head. But then I'll have another bunny hop into the picture and distract me from the previous one.

And all the while, I have my complete MSs sitting there looking like dorks waiting for me to stop chasing bunnies around and actually get to the hard part of writing - the revision period. I don't know if the plot bunnies are just a convenient distraction and a means for procrastination or not, but I've had some REALLY good ones that I'm keen to get working on. But when I try to start on them, my complete MSs start chucking carrots at my head and make me feel guilty for neglecting them. And then I'm sitting there amid a field of plot bunnies hopping for my attention while my MSs growl warnings at them as if to say 'I'll kill you dead, plot bunny, if you take time away from me'. So I end up making notes on how to easiest go about the revision period, just to feel like I'm doing SOMETHING, because my heart is telling me to go have fun and explore with the bunnies, but my head is telling me 'get to work'.

I think I'll probably end up doing the revision. I don't have favourites among my babies, though. They each have their own story to tell, and each have their own unique charm, so I can't ever say that I prefer one idea above the other. Some days one idea will look better than another. Other days the other ideas will look better. It depends on my state of mind at the time, I think.

So I'd say, go with whichever one you're feeling the best at the moment. If the muse runs out for that one, get back to the previous idea. Good luck!
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