Skip to main content

Writing Two Books at Once

In a previous blogpost, I said that I live to write, instead of writing to live. I suppose this is fortunate in that I don't have to churn out stories, articles, or poems on a daily basis to earn my bread. However, it's unfortunate in that writing is not a Top Priority. I don't have to do it, no matter how much I want or like to, and that means it can be shunted to the background in favor of more immediate, pressing activities. Mainly, schoolwork. I know, I know--this means I'm not really a writer, right? Just a college kid with writer pretensions (or, as I prefer to think of it, ambitions. Can I get a cheer for Slytherin?).

But school's out for the summer, and The Book has been chugging along remarkably. I just passed the 200,000-word mark...and was torn between doing a victory dance and killing myself. 200K is acceptable for epic fantasy, since the genre practically demands a multitude of characters, complex plotlines, and paragraphs upon paragraphs of world-building. So I wouldn't be upset with 200K as a finished project, but THE BOOK ISN'T FINISHED. In terms of plot, I still have about a quarter of the way to go, maybe 50-60K words. THAT'S A LOT OF FUCKING WORDS.

As they say in acting, though, it's easier to start big and then pull back. If you don't have the high emotion/lot of fucking words in the first place, you can't dig deeper because you're always struggling to build up. My writing tends toward the flowery (I blame my 10th-grade English teacher for introducing me to Faulkner), and while it's not bad writing, the flowers need pruning before they take over the yard.

First I have to actually finish. Despite my best intentions and summer productivity, writer's block keeps cropping up. Sometimes I'll finish a section and be too mentally exhausted to do anything but edit what I just wrote. Sometimes I need a while to iron out exactly how I want to start a chapter or introduce a character. Either way, there are these dead periods where I don't write anything new...until now. Until I had another IDEA. *bright lights and angels singing*

Many writers scream NO NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?! to people who work on more than one project at once. Since I started this second one in earnest, I've actually made more progress on BOTH projects than if I'd kept slogging away at just the one. Maybe it's a personality difference--works for some, doesn't for others. I've always been good at multitasking. However, I think the biggest help has been having something to fill the dead spaces. I'm stuck on The Book, so I work on the Other Book until I get stuck there, and then come back to the first problem refreshed and ready to think about something else. It at least gives the illusion of productivity, and I never have an excuse not to write.

In other news, I'm participating in Teen Writer Summer Blogfest (TWSB). Expect the posts to start in July!


  1. I tried writing two projects simultaneously once, but it didn't work out for me. But if you can do it, and remain prolific and passionate with both, then DO IT :)

    And wow, 250K words. Just wow.

  2. I have friends who have half a dozen projects going at the same time. One bounces back and forth between his serial novel (available soon on Kindle!) and screenplays. Crazy opposite worlds of writing. One calls for maximum verbosity, the other for minimum - "get Tolkien to <180 pages!" Other friends of mine churn out fanfic by the trailer load. I mean, dozens of pages a week. If the story is in you, it'll find a way out with perseverence and planning. I'll watch for it!

  3. Hi Laura! Could you send me an e-mail so that I can e-mail you some details about the blogfest? Just send it to brittany (at) hillsandcorkscrews (dot) com

  4. I've wanted to, but I've been scared to as well. I also am pretty good at multi-tasking, as long as I don't get my wires crossed. Maybe I'll try it. Thanks :)

  5. Oh, and I'm your newest follower because you sound like me (wow that sounded egotistical), but I from that that we probably like a lot of the same things lol.

  6. Hello, everyone! Sorry I haven't replied to your great and wonderful and surprisingly numerous comments earlier; I'm on vacation. Glad to see your responses!

    I do know people who write unbelievable amounts of fanfic and short stories; that's never quite been my thing but I admire that they can do that. And Nick, the 200K words thing has happened over a long and sometimes tediously slow 5 years. :P All the same, I'm glad to be there! Whether or not multitasking/multiwriting works for everyone, you should at least give it a shot.

    Again, hello everyone! New followers and fellow writer-bloggers always welcome :)


Post a Comment

Comments make me happy, so leave lots! :) I will usually reply to each one, so click Notify Me to read my replies.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Hemlock Grove, ep. 1 and 2

Hello! I'm back from my blogging hiatus. I've been on a horror kick lately, and most recently, I watched the first two episodes of Netflix's Hemlock Grove. I'm a bit late to this series, but for what it's worth, here's my review. I have some...issues.  Pacing It's based on a novel, and you can tell. Once the show introduces something that might be interesting or lead to tension and conflict, it snatches it away like a precious plot-gem that it doesn't want you to see. There is way too much exposition and filler. The plot hangs together pretty well, but not much really happens. Case in point, it should not have taken two whole episodes to find out Main Character is a werewolf. Especially since everyone seems clued into this fact and accepts it as truth -- except the viewers. Then suddenly Rich Boy is asking if he can watch the transformation like it's understood that Poor Kid Main Character is a werewolf. No warning, no lead-up, nothing.

Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow by Faïza Guène, a YA Book By A Young Author

Review time! Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow is a young adult novel by a young adult, so I was very interested to read it. There's also a #MuslimShelfSpace tag going around, and this review is a nod to that. The idea is that there's been a lot of stereotypes and anti-Muslim sentiment spread around, so buying and boosting books about and by Muslims can help educate people and break down harmful stereotypes.  The author is French with an Algerian background, and  Guène  wrote Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow when she was in her late teens. Although the novel is not autobiographical, she shares many things with its main character. Doria, like her creator, is the child of immigrants and lives in poor suburban housing projects.   Guène   wrote that she realized girls like herself weren't really represented in books, and felt that Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow was a way to tell the stories of people in the suburbs who are ignored by the elites of French literature. Plot: Life Sucks, Until It Doesn

King Arthur Sucks.

I wrote a review of The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway , in which I applauded the book for being the first Arthurian adaptation I had read that I didn't despise. I mean, how could I? Despite the book's other problems, it had aliens riding motherfucking dragons!!! Aliens! Dragons! Parallel universes!  After reading my review, one of my friends asked me why I hate Arthurian legend so much.  Well.  Perhaps one of the reasons I liked The Greenstone Grail 's take on the Holy Grail myth was because it was so different.  Most Arthurian adaptations fall along the same lines. It's the same damn story told almost the same damn way all the time. But  The Greenstone Grail took place in modern times, borrowing from the Holy Grail and Arthurian myths without making it so central to the plot that there was no room for other stuff like imagination.  Say whatever else you want about this book ( and believe me, I did ), it had imagination. Its main character can dimension-