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How do you choose your next project? (1 Viewer)

vranger

Staff member
Global Moderator
I've got a list of things to be written, all of which I'd love to write next. Picking the next one is easy. At one time I had three projects I'd started and left for years. The first one I finished was my first novel. I wrote four more novels after that while the other two "started projects" sat. Last fall I took up one of the unfinished projects, and that's the book I just finished.

Next I'll finish that last neglected project, which luckily is a short one. It's a fairy tale that should run no more than a 20-25K novella. It will be nice to have cleared that backlog!

After that it's less clear. LOL The third installment of the fantasy series? The sequel to the urban fantasy I just finished? One of three standalones I'm interested in? The good news is: Once, those stories were a pipe dream. However, now that I've learned to plow through and finish, I have confidence I'll get them done.

Thinking this over made me wonder how others decide what to write next. Do you have a list of projects in mind? Are they on a priority list, or in a grab bag?
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
In my case I need to do research since I like to write science fiction. I need the research first. Second maybe read a story change the characters, the antagonist and protagonist and the theme. Theme has to do with the meaningful experiences of the human "mind". I use a system that I hope works for me. I give each character a theme and that creates agendas at cross purposes. I combine two old ideas into one maybe two to make a new one. I recently bought putting the science behind science fiction so I will use that. It will require a story I really liked. I also think synopsis of a novel or story will help writers combine two ideas to make a new one. As for the character I try to think of insecurities, moral codes, and more.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
They choose me, really. Whatever inspires me, or whatever I happen to be daydreaming about is fair game. I have a few items on the go. In terms of priority, it's first come first served, at first. Then it devolves into what I feel like working on, what needs something doing, where a particular piece might fit. A grab bag, really :)
 

Cephus

Senior Member
I used to have that problem. Invariably, I'd write the last thing I came up with and ignore all the rest. I decided to put together a writing plan, whereby I scheduled all of my books and anything new I came up with, it went at the end of the line, therefore everything got done in a reasonably timely manner. Now, I've got a list of books 25 long (I think, I just looked at it yesterday when I finished writing a book) and it will take me about 4 years to get them written, by which time, I'll have another 25 in the queue.
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
At the minute I'm just picking randomly from genres and either have something in my head immediately or start writing and hope something comes along. It sometimes works out great and other times, like now, is a struggle. While my aim is still to write a decent story, my motives are more to do with style/voice right now.

When I do eventually start writing properly, I'll usually let an idea float around in my head for months before I actually start committing it to paper. That might sound like there would be months with nothing to write about but that's not how it works for me. I usually have overlapping stories, some ready to write, some almost ready to write and others gathering momentum in my head. So I'm not normally stuck for ideas. All the short stories I've written lately could so easily have been novellas. That's my only regret to be honest. Sometimes I feel as if I'm wasting good ideas for practice.

What I'm thinking of doing is writing short stories as if they're chapter one but making that chapter self contained. I should have done that with MotherHUD.
 

vranger

Staff member
Global Moderator
I used to have that problem. Invariably, I'd write the last thing I came up with and ignore all the rest. I decided to put together a writing plan, whereby I scheduled all of my books and anything new I came up with, it went at the end of the line, therefore everything got done in a reasonably timely manner. Now, I've got a list of books 25 long (I think, I just looked at it yesterday when I finished writing a book) and it will take me about 4 years to get them written, by which time, I'll have another 25 in the queue.


And I thought I was facing a backlog of ideas. LOL I'd better put on my thinking cap and lengthen my list if I don't want to look like a poor cousin!
 

JBF

Senior Member
I keep half a dozen or so in the standby cloud. Usually those can be spun up into something approaching coherence, usually on fairly short notice, as long as I can clear a few hours to sit still.

In the interest of disclosure...it's somewhat easier when 90% of your stuff takes place in one universe with a recurring group of characters.
 

Takeaway Junkie

Senior Member
It's amazing to hear everyone having so many ideas on the back burner. I have 3 books i want to write, after i figured out how to overcome this first one and all 3 will be part of a trilogy retelling key events from book one but from different view points, styles and voices.

I was reading another thread here about styles and creating new styles which was really interesting, i have many ideas surfacing, its just i have set myself goals to complete so one needs to be disciplined to finish my second draft before all else.

I write short stories 1-2k to pass this troublesome stage in editing and have a novella written i will revisit, it needs desperate work.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
And I thought I was facing a backlog of ideas. LOL I'd better put on my thinking cap and lengthen my list if I don't want to look like a poor cousin!

Ideas are easy, it's why I laugh when someone shows up in a writing forum and asks to provide ideas for a cut of the profits. Any writer worth their salt has more ideas than they know what to do with, if they just keep their eyes open. I've had a list of ideas for many years and I add to it nearly daily. Then, I go through it a couple of times a year and see what gels and that's where all of the books come from. Ideas are everywhere. You just have to pay attention.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
I always have a project or two to work on. Right now I have two novels I'm working on (one that requires a lot of research), a nonfiction book that's nearing close to the finish line, about 50 poems I've been playing with but haven't yet sent to a market, about 25 or 30 short stories I've done nothing with, and I work on essays in my free time. Oh, I'm also working up interview questions for a writer I admire.

I usually get busy working on what most appeals to me at the time or else on what's due somewhere the soonest. I'm also in the process of selecting a publication's "best pieces of the year" works. In fact, that's what I'll work on tonight. That or the interview questions. (I also keep my list going of poetry and short stories and essay ideas-- things I'll get to one day but add to almost every day.)
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Today I jotted down 7 potential conflicts by eavesdropping at my grandmother's house which could be 7 potential ideas. This I refer to as journaling. I ommitted the names. I did this using a kindle as a writer's notebook. Any problems they may have had during the conservation. Next I want to try what if behind some of these. It is rare to get outside the house. So taking advantage for as long as I have battery power. We live in a computerized world. I hope to talk to people to get ideas.

By using real life we can further develop an idea.
 
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Backstroke_Italics

Senior Member
The way I choose a project is very elaborate. First I do market research. Then I plot out some genre-bending experimental ideas that have been kicking around in my head. I make a chart of what things I can complete on time, rated by word count and Amazon category. And finally I chuck the whole thing out the window and write yet another Goddamn ghost story set in a haunted train station.
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
The way I choose a project is very elaborate. First I do market research. Then I plot out some genre-bending experimental ideas that have been kicking around in my head. I make a chart of what things I can complete on time, rated by word count and Amazon category. And finally I chuck the whole thing out the window and write yet another Goddamn ghost story set in a haunted train station.

You wouldn't happen to have a link to any of those ghost stories would you? After I've finished the childrens story I'm writing, I'll be writing a ghost story.
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
Ideas are cheap. You can even steal (abstracted versions of) ideas from famous published authors if you want. I'm not kidding. Copyright protects the expression of the idea, not the idea itself.

I'm not suggesting you should do this, but it proves the low-value of ideas.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
I can't really say that I'm able to 'choose' my next project as much as it chooses me by popping into my head. I've noticed that if I
try to focus on a new project too heavily, it won't come to me as easily. I know when I'm ready for a new project when the idea is
in my brain and starting to play out like a movie that only I can see.

When this happens, I'll start making a draft sheet and/or a storyboard-type outline and go from there. Once I'm happy with most of
the plot elements, I start the actual writing.

-JJB
 

vranger

Staff member
Global Moderator
The way I choose a project is very elaborate. First I do market research. Then I plot out some genre-bending experimental ideas that have been kicking around in my head. I make a chart of what things I can complete on time, rated by word count and Amazon category. And finally I chuck the whole thing out the window and write yet another Goddamn ghost story set in a haunted train station.

You wouldn't happen to have a link to any of those ghost stories would you? After I've finished the childrens story I'm writing, I'll be writing a ghost story.

One of the projects on my list is a ghost story, although I've included ghosts before. My fantasy series is set in a haunted castle, but the only ghost "on screen" is a helpful ghost ... a King who ruled from the castle centuries before.

The one I have in mind is a very bad guy in life who dies in an accident, and tries to lure people to their death via the same manner. The MC discovers the pattern, and a trail of investigation leads him to uncover crimes the bad guy committed before death. In the meantime, the ghost will disagree with his activities. :)
 

SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
I rely on inspiration generally. Anything that moves me – whether it’s a song, another story, a movie, or just a visual as I’m out and about – I can’t wait to get the words down. I rarely think of publication or what would sell, which is why it’s so hard for me write according to a plan or a “theme." I have to be moved. The first story I wrote that was published came as a result of my brother putting our dad in a nursing home. My dad was so angry he refused to speak to my brother for a long time. So I wrote this story called “Gone Visiting,” which told a story of a man named Henry (my dad’s name) who was in a nursing home and every time he wanted to visit his wife and children, he would just imagine them as they used to be when he was younger and that made him very happy. Of course, there was a lot more to the story, but it was basically up-lifting and encouraging. After it was published, I sent a copy to my dad and my brother read it to him. He liked it, but I don’t really know if he knew he was the star! I think he was too far gone by then, but that is how I write.
 

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