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

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
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. 

And here I was thinking all you did was wait for a tornado to sweep you off on an adventure.
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Mentor
There is always a lot of competition in my head when I choose a new project.
I usually have three or four in mind.
Why I settle on a specific idea to write...I dunno.
I guess it's the best developed, or the one I feel the strongest about/

But that is not really a good metric to follow considering that for every book I finish there are always one or two that do not survive the first writing.
I have lots of partial books in my files, stories that died in the womb.
Some stories sound great, I pound out a few hundred pages...and along the way it becomes apparent that the story just doesn't have it.

So really the question should be "How do you choose the projects that you actually finish?"
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
I'm juggling several WiPs which I have heard you're not supposed to do. One short story, one flash fiction, and I'm fighting for my novel idea to take shape. While I think it's okay to have short stories to work on simultaneously I won't do that with a novel. Only one novel at a time is the plan.

I have a hard time making choices.

Laugh at me but I am trying to narrow down the novel idea from 13 possible premises currently dropped to 5. Now I'm going to do 15 minute sprints on each one and see which one seems to have the most juice.

This is a pain in the neck. And I'm out of Irish cream for my coffee. :ChainGunSmiley:
 

vranger

Staff member
Board Moderator
I'm juggling several WiPs which I have heard you're not supposed to do. One short story, one flash fiction, and I'm fighting for my novel idea to take shape. While I think it's okay to have short stories to work on simultaneously I won't do that with a novel. Only one novel at a time is the plan.

I have a hard time making choices.

Laugh at me but I am trying to narrow down the novel idea from 13 possible premises currently dropped to 5. Now I'm going to do 15 minute sprints on each one and see which one seems to have the most juice.

[FONT=&quot] “I never get Writer’s Block because I have multiple projects on my to-do list. So when I get tired or get stuck on Project A, I simply move to Project B.”

[/FONT]
-- Isaac Asimov

Anything that was OK for Asimov is OK for us.

I started out doing that. I was stuck on my first novel, so I much later wrote three chapters (almost) on a second novel ... the one I just completed. But while it was sitting there, I started the fairy tale that's my next active project. I got a few thousand words there until it stuck. So I'm of the opinion that starting multiple projects is only worthwhile if they ever get finished! LOL

The biggest accomplishment in my writing over the last few years is learning how to finish.

Still, there are gaps. On this last project, in the spreadsheet I kept for my roster of "good guys" and "bad guys" (except that some of the good guys are bad guys and a few of the bad guys are good guys), I also kept a sheet where I recorded the date I started and finished each chapter. The chapters with the longest elapsed time to complete, or the longest break between ending one chapter and starting the next, are spots where I needed a good idea for what should happen next, or how it should happen.

This makes me think if I have two manuscripts going at the same time, I can fill in those gaps happening in the "main project" by making progress on a secondary, or even tertiary, project ... and I think I'll try that out. In the original post, I discussed deciding between multiple projects I have a lot of interest in writing, so maybe that will also help slake that desire.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
[FONT=&Verdana] “I never get Writer’s Block because I have multiple projects on my to-do list. So when I get tired or get stuck
on Project A, I simply move to Project B.”

[/FONT]
-- Isaac Asimov

I've been seeing the wisdom in that statement a lot as of late. I'm too used to stopping any and all writing when I get stuck on just one
project, when I should be switching to another (as I am doing now) and/or brainstorming to make point form notes on any other idea I
may have floating around in my brain.

I just finally got back to another project after a new idea just went down the proverbial toilet. I think as writers, keeping busy with
multiple projects keeps those creative juices flowing no matter what.

-JJB
 

Willmatron

Senior Member
I tend to have multiple story ideas in my head or partly written down. I'm also working on a list of six reasons to abandon a project I'll put on this site. One reason I have to end a project will, is if you don't have an ending point. I've read a number of books where they seem to rush the ending. My thought is if you haven't thought of how to end a story, even if you change it later don't start. You can write down scenes of sketch out characters or locations, but until you know where to go don't start.
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
Well I haven't given this much thought, since I am still on my first novel. But originally, my plan was to write a trilogy. My MC is a financial journalist and there are two sub MCs, one, an Olympic skier, turned hotelier, who defected from East Germany and the other, a fashion designer and the heir to a large grocery chain. They are all strong women in their own way. In my WIP the MC's POV is about 50% and the sub MCs get about 25% each of POV.

The stories are based in reality. Fictional characters, but actual white collar crimes as the underlying plot. I had thought to keep the POV the same for each new novel. However, lately, I have been toying with the idea of alternating the POV. So each of them become the MC for one part of the trilogy. White collar crimes exist in any industry, so no limitation there. And I actually thought that this idea would be more original.

Thoughts?
 

Lorewen

Senior Member
I'm currently working on a novel, a screenplay, and several short stories, and that's just the fiction stuff. Then yesterday I just had to start outlining a new screenplay, unconnected to the first one. When I sit down to write, I usually work on whichever idea is tugging on me at the moment.
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Mentor
The stories are based in reality. Fictional characters, but actual white collar crimes as the underlying plot. I had thought to keep the POV the same for each new novel. However, lately, I have been toying with the idea of alternating the POV. So each of them become the MC for one part of the trilogy. White collar crimes exist in any industry, so no limitation there. And I actually thought that this idea would be more original.

Thoughts?

Write each story in the voice/perspective that best tells that story.
 

vranger

Staff member
Board Moderator
Well I haven't given this much thought, since I am still on my first novel. But originally, my plan was to write a trilogy. My MC is a financial journalist and there are two sub MCs, one, an Olympic skier, turned hotelier, who defected from East Germany and the other, a fashion designer and the heir to a large grocery chain. They are all strong women in their own way. In my WIP the MC's POV is about 50% and the sub MCs get about 25% each of POV.

The stories are based in reality. Fictional characters, but actual white collar crimes as the underlying plot. I had thought to keep the POV the same for each new novel. However, lately, I have been toying with the idea of alternating the POV. So each of them become the MC for one part of the trilogy. White collar crimes exist in any industry, so no limitation there. And I actually thought that this idea would be more original.

Thoughts?

In a series I just finished, one of the two MCs is the first person narrator in the first book, and his pilot/assistant (a woman) is the first person narrator for the rest of the series (another seven books). That's a bit different.

In Heinlein's The Number of the Beast, there are four MCs, and each one narrates various chapters. By the end of the novel, I think each has received equal time. It's two married couples.

Peter David's New Frontier series is never first person (that I recall) but in various books, follows several main characters in close third, and generally that character is the focus of the book.

I'm relatively certain I've read other examples, but they're not popping to mind at the moment. Very few ideas in writing are original at this point, but it's always kind of cool if it's original to you when you first think of it. :) This one is certainly not overused.

I think I've mentioned this previously months ago, but I liken it to recipes I make up. I'm a pretty inventive cook, and I'll come up with some off the wall recipe and try it out. Later, I'll Google the idea and find several recipes similar to the one I made up. I still made it up, it's just that other people also made it up prior to me making it up. LOL
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
In a series I just finished, one of the two MCs is the first person narrator in the first book, and his pilot/assistant (a woman) is the first person narrator for the rest of the series (another seven books). That's a bit different.

In Heinlein's The Number of the Beast, there are four MCs, and each one narrates various chapters. By the end of the novel, I think each has received equal time. It's two married couples.

Peter David's New Frontier series is never first person (that I recall) but in various books, follows several main characters in close third, and generally that character is the focus of the book.

I'm relatively certain I've read other examples, but they're not popping to mind at the moment. Very few ideas in writing are original at this point, but it's always kind of cool if it's original to you when you first think of it. :) This one is certainly not overused.

I think I've mentioned this previously months ago, but I liken it to recipes I make up. I'm a pretty inventive cook, and I'll come up with some off the wall recipe and try it out. Later, I'll Google the idea and find several recipes similar to the one I made up. I still made it up, it's just that other people also made it up prior to me making it up. LOL

Haha...good point! Perhaps "original" was the wrong word. I wasn't as much caught up in it being an earth-shattering idea, but a little less "Nancy Drewish, with the same protagonist always in the center of the crime. But then I'm sure both could work. People tend to accept the same hero in a series if they like the character. But I think making the hero a detective usually works better. A financial journalist shouldn't be getting caught up into too many crimes in her life. Still mulling it around...
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
I neglected to mention that a great deal of my writing projects are spawned from writing projects. It's almost like my brain wants to
keep jumping forward to the next thing while I'm still in the middle of something. Still, I wouldn't have it any other way!

-JJB
 

Cephus

Senior Member
I neglected to mention that a great deal of my writing projects are spawned from writing projects. It's almost like my brain wants to
keep jumping forward to the next thing while I'm still in the middle of something. Still, I wouldn't have it any other way!

That's because your brain is trying to distract you. It's easier and less mentally taxing to think about something new than to actually have to work on what you're working on. Everyone has that. It's only a bad thing if you give into the temptation to move forward with new projects without completing the old.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
It's only a bad thing if you give into the temptation to move forward with new projects without completing the old.

Very rarely do I completely stop a WIP to start another. I might start the newest WIP alongside the one I'm working on at that time, or I'll make
some quick notes on the numerous notepads that surround my laptop, jot down as much as I can, and return to it later.

That being said, there was an instance last month where I stopped a WIP cold to focus on the new idea, only because it was one of those rare
times when I saw the new idea fully developed in my mind, and had the story written in less than a day. I then went back to my main WIP and
kept plugging away.

Sometimes, I need to go mental on a new idea.

-JJB
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
Very rarely do I completely stop a WIP to start another. I might start the newest WIP alongside the one I'm working on at that time, or I'll make
some quick notes on the numerous notepads that surround my laptop, jot down as much as I can, and return to it later.

That being said, there was an instance last month where I stopped a WIP cold to focus on the new idea, only because it was one of those rare
times when I saw the new idea fully developed in my mind, and had the story written in less than a day. I then went back to my main WIP and
kept plugging away.

Sometimes, I need to go mental on a new idea.

-JJB

I have to force myself not to go too deeply into an idea I had during the writing of another piece. Just as you, I'll maybe make the occasional note, but I have to be careful there too. I'll find myself thinking of the protagonist/antagonist or writing descriptive sentences down to 'maybe' be included in my next project.
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Mentor
Some projects start out with potential, but after a few [dozen] pages they become untenable.
The mistake is in sticking with a project once you see that it lacks a future.
Too many writers spend their emotional capital on dead-end projects.

Don't view it as a failure to drop a WIP. Trust me, you do not wanna spend a hundred thousand words flogging a dead horse.:deadhorse:
 

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