Insert Your Opinion Here

Hey everyone!

It’s been waaay too long since I last posted anything, so I thought it was high time for me to roar from the depths of my hiatus — RRROAAAWWRGH!

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you brave nutters taking it on? Hope you’re killing it!

As you might (or mightn’t) know, I’m currently busy changing diapers and hunting smiles, instead of chasing fugitives on distant colonies and fighting aliens. But that’s only temporary. My baby girl is growing at warp 9, so I’ll get back to writing in no time, and of course to blogging as well. I’ll even do an overhaul of ye olde blog, with a new theme and agenda, the whole shebang. Yaay!

So. Fiction update. 

My WIP — which is my very first science-fiction novel — is still hanging on a thread: the last quarter of it needs be rewritten. Then, of course, it needs beta readers, some good punching and kicking and likely another serious trimming, not to mention EDITING, before it’s “ready” for querying. Which will probably also take a long time. If that goes well, there comes editorial comments and another rewrite. If it doesn’t go well, there comes professional editing. However you slice it, there’s more work. I get dizzy just thinking about it. SO much left to do… ugh.

And it’s only book ONE in a trilogy…

And I’ve been at it for 3 years now…

I feel like I’ll be working on this project for another decade at least.

*bloodshot stare*

*starts rocking herself*

So… I’ve been toying with ideas for a new novel lately. Might be the hormones, or the diaper fumes, but this is a first for me. You see, I’m the type of gal who sticks to a project and only THAT project until it’s done, finito, komplett, perfect. So thinking about a new story feels rather itchy and strange, like venturing into murky waters filled with caimans and piranhas and… magical goldfish… SHINY GOLDFISH! NEW IDEAS. NEW STORIES. Holy crap!

Maybe it’s time I tried something new… Maybe I’m just tired of working on the same project for so long without any real feedback… Maybe I’m just bored. Maybe the muse decided my butt is up for kicking in a new way. Who knows.

How do you guys deal with situations like these?

When you’ve invested so much into one project, and then, short of the finish line, you start to wonder if you should just tuck it away as a lengthy exercise in prose mastery and start fresh. What do you do?

I also imagine it’s likely the weight of the unwritten Book Two and Book Three which make my WIP seem so unwieldy at the moment. Should I make the most of that unpolished last quarter and change it into a stand alone?

What say you?

22 Replies to “Insert Your Opinion Here”

  1. Ooh. That is not an easy question to answer!

    It’s very normal to get the ‘new idea itch’ in the middle section of a novel. We all get it! Here are a couple of things to consider.

    Firstly, the payoff when you finish a novel is huge and well worth the effort. Although you’ve got plenty of steps after that which will keep you busy for a long time, your manuscript should spend at least a few months in a drawer somewhere first – during which time you can (and should!) pursue a fresh project.

    Secondly, if you’ve got a new idea, there’s no harm on writing it down somewhere and adding notes as they come to you. You’ll be surprised how many of those little points you thought you’d remember are forgotten. Perhaps you can start a computer folder or a notebook to keep track of those elements, ready for when you can devote your attention to them.

    Whatever you decide to do, I’m sure you’ll learn lots and have fun in the process.

    Oh, and congratulations on the baby. Haven’t had a chance to say that until now. 😀

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    1. Thanks for the tips, Jessica!

      My novel is finished already, and yes, it was well worth the effort. But I’m a perfectionist, so I started rewriting it and it’s that revision that’s only almost completed and giving me a bad conscience. So technically my novel is like Schrödinger’s cat – it’s potentially finished and not finished at the same time.

      I haven’t gotten to the point of writing down my new ideas, but they keep swirling through my mind like hungry crows. I think I’m gonna do as you say and start jotting down things for future use. You never know.

      Thanks for the congrats! 😀

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      1. If that’s the case, then a ‘holiday’ from your trilogy might be a good idea. It might give you some distance from it so you can approach it with renewed vigor after your literary sabbatical. 😉

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  2. Finish that first book. Stuff the trilogy for the time being. Start on your new idea as a reward whilst beta readers savage that first book. Return to that first book when you feel ready to edit. My opinion for what it’s worth 🙂

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  3. First of all, let me tell you that I’m surprised to learn that every author I know I writing (or at least planing to write) a trilogy. Including myself, but that was a fluke. 🙂

    When I’m picking up (or waiting for) a book to read… and I suddenly learn that it is book 1 in a trilogy, I don’t go past the first book, no matter how good it was. I have bad relationships with long book series since my youth–I stopped reading series altogether the last time I failed to complete a set (yes, I couldn’t find and buy certain books). Since then I prefer stand-alone stories.

    Second, thank His Noodly Appendage I’m slowly finishing mine, book 3! And thank His Another Noodly Appendage, these books are short (total story size ~ 130k words). I wouldn’t last three epic size novels in the same character. This is my second year in her head. I want to move on, I have many ideas to play with. 😉

    Would I write another trilogy (soon after or ever again)? Heck no!
    Why? It’s a complicated feeling. I’m also a one-project-at-a-time gal.
    But I don’t mind writing several books in the same universe, just not serials. No. Nope nope nope nope nope. Those unwritten stories are like a stone on the neck when you go swimming.
    And every time I outline a story–it never happens. It makes a 180 turn and goes in another, more awesome direction.

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    1. Trilogies and series are hard to write. It takes a lot of commitment and patience to stick with characters and story worlds for so long. I’m not fond of reading series, but trilogies (and quadrilogies and quintilogies (huh?)) are fun. Also, “my” trilogy wasn’t planned. I simply couldn’t stop spinning the idea into a larger and larger scale, thus calling for more wordcount. I doubt I can make it a stand alone, precisely because of that.

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      1. “I simply couldn’t stop spinning the idea into a larger and larger scale, thus calling for more wordcount. I doubt I can make it a stand alone, precisely because of that.”

        I see. I usually have a hard time reaching massive wordcount even with huge ideas. because of my selected POV and character-specific descriptions they fold into shorter forms. Maybe with Omnipresent Third Person I would produce massive tomes to murder people with. 🙂

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  4. In the grip of some insane notion, I signed up for NaNoWriMo believing it to give me the go ahead to write novel #3 in my first trilogy. This is being done after #1 is published, and well received, but #2 still needs serious rewrites. I thought I could do both at the same time, really make November a month to remember. I will, but not quite in the way I had hoped. I find that writing a trilogy is tough. Same villain, 3 different protagonists, but they appear in each of the books. The first two are typical of what I write, romantic thrillers, page turners with lots of action. This third manuscript is dark, more character driven than plot, and I wonder if I’ll ever get out of the ridiculous amount of backstory. I’m technically behind on my word count, but know I’ll finish NaNo. In the meantime, I too, have been slammed with other ideas for books. I did toy with dropping #3 and beginning something else, anything else, that is more interesting and comes easier than #3. I haven’t done it. I’m sticking to my guns. I think if you drop it, you might not get back to it. If you finish it, and even if it’s as crappy as mine is going (which I doubt), then at least you’ll have something to rewrite. And then there’s the big woohoo you get to do when you finish a manuscript regardless of the endless rewrites/edits that will happen after that. So, I agree that a trilogy is hard, but I think finishing is important.

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    1. You know… finishing really IS important, if only for making us believe in ourselves and that we can “do it”, even if that novel / trilogy never sees print or never gets read by more than a dozen stray Amazon customers. At least we know we didn’t quit.

      But that doesn’t make it any easier… 🙂

      Thanks for the comment, Michelle.

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  5. I find that having more than one project in different developing stages helps me fix problems in other project. It keeps my mind going ninety miles an hour without having to stop for red-lights. If a news story or song triggers a scene or piece of dialog or maybe a character I write it down and then let it go. I don’t want my mind to dwell on it or be forced to remember it.

    I do some of my best brainstorming while driving in traffic so I keep a small notebook to jot stuff down on. Then later I will sit at my desk and type up the little word files I have for titles, characters names and traits, names of places and what ifs. If i get stuck writing the WIP, I refer to these notes and it always spurs an idea.

    Once a week I free write from one of the “what if” entries to keep myself sane.

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    1. I think that might be a good idea, to prevent me from completely quitting on my project, maybe I could keep it on the back burner in parallel with a new story I’m writing…

      Thanks for the ideas, Bill!

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  6. Hey Veronica, I’m one of the crrrrazy ones doing NaNoWriMo this year. I was privileged to be asked to blog my experience – see http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/2013/11/NaNoWriMo-week-two-round-up. Can see you there next year – you will be awesome! Meanwhile enjoy this very special time with baba! Before you know they are off to University and you wonder where the years have gone! Are you still in Switzerland? One of my favourite places on the planet!

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    1. Hi Janet. Yes, I’m still in Switzerland. I definitely want to join NaNo next year — I liked it last year too. Feels awkward not to do it this year, but spending my time with my baby is also pretty great. 🙂 Good luck with your NaNo project!!

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  7. It’s amazing how when I read your blogs, your standing in my shoes…we’ll not with the baby thing…but the writing part. Enjoy the first, by the way as it goes way too fast and you stand blinking and wondering when she grew up on you.

    I set a goal to publish my sixth book, Touching a Crystal, by the end of November and I am getting so frustrated by the edits, corrections and obstacles that keep cropping up. I worried about chapter one not having a big enough hook, so I sent it off to yet another professional editor who suggested I add a whole new chapter. Yikes! I have been working on these novels for years also (Three years? Phuft!) and as a perfectionist (sound familiar?) I am ready to chunk my writing career in the basket.

    But wait…I usually feel this way at this point in the process…and I do like writing in this universe, and characters that are friendly and familiar. These are stand alone stories that are in a sequence..rather like Lois Bujold…but ackkk, I want to be done and meet the deadline, and have it glorious and beautiful, and have others think so too…tweak, tweak, tweak.

    Courage brave writer…as in all things persistence wins more than any other attribute. I persisted through childbearing, through jobs (stockbroker) writing on weekends, and now I have six (well soon enough) books out there, and I look back with a sense of accomplishment as I wipe the sweat from my brow. It does pay off in the end if you just believe.

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    1. Oh you’re right… It does pay off. I just have to muster enough patience to see it through despite new temptations. I think it will help me to take a break, and to get some extra eyes on the novel as well. It helps to know that I’m not the only one who gets discouraged at this point… Thanks for your support!

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  8. Welcome back. It’s my first NaNo year. Not going bad, though I started late (about a week). I’m big on series, but will stop at book two if the first has yet to be released (another way of saying unpublished). I’m about done with part two of my latest WIP, which will join the pickle barrel of previous stories waiting for birth. I have a new idea that I can’t wait to start. Some day, one of them might actually see the light of day.

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    1. Hm… some writers wait with the rest of a trilogy or series until the first book finds an agent or is published, and others write the whole thing beforehand (especially with trilogies or sequels). I’ve considered both… still dunno which to choose.

      Good luck with NaNo! I wish I were participating too…

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  9. By the time I finished the 6th draft of my first book I was sick of it. So I threw it aside and began book two. But time and distance made my mind wander back to book one. And I rewrote it. All 100k words. Very quickly, I might add.
    Point is, it was only after I stopped to read a couple of other books and give my book some space did I begin to value it again.
    Twas a necessary break.

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    1. 6 drafts!! I’d go mad by the sixth… Kudos for your perseverance, David.
      You know what? Dammit, I’m gonna hang in there and finish this revision — and then write something else before I move on to edit the fine print of this one, to prevent complete madness. 🙂

      Thanks a lot for chiming in. It’s really motivating to know others have been there and gone through it. Wish you the best of luck further on!

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  10. Well this was SO excellent to read. SO much more helpful than a link that floated across my screen after going to your blog (the link nothing to do with you or your blog btw) I was sucked into thinking this further analysis offered in the link may be the further key I was looking for. NOT!! ! I stupidly paid $286.00 (blush!!) for what turned out to be a 36 page critique of the movie Avatar. (more blushing!!!) The link was from a “Kal Bashir’s” website of “screenwriting essentials” (HA!!!!) and I am just warning your readers to stay away from it. Your blog is much much more helpful than what I so stupidly blindly trusted would give me the info I was seeking. If you have never seen Avatar..the “Character Arc Workshop” I received is completely and utterly useless. UGH BLUSH what a stupid move on my part. THANK YOU Vero for giving us your free wonderful definitions of Character Arc and more. Hopefully your readers will learn from my silly and expensive mistake.

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