Monday, August 9, 2010

No, Wait. THIS is the best idea I've ever had!

I don’t know about any of you, but when I get a new idea for a book, get the outline down and start writing, only to have the writing take off and completely immerse myself in the new story-
 I can’t help thinking:

‘THIS is it!  THIS is the best idea I’ve ever had.  With this book, I’m sure to catch someone’s interest!’

Problem is, I have this thought while starting just about every project. lol

When the first draft is finished and the editing and revising begin along with perfecting the dreaded query letter-  the project starts to lose its luster.  Will agents really be interested?  What makes mine so different from all the other great ideas from great writers out there?

And when I fall in love with something new, I can’t help feeling a little pang of regret for my old projects.  After all, I was just as in love with them while writing too!  It’s not that I lose faith in them.  It’s just that my shiny new idea with practiced and improved writing takes up the forefront in my mind.

I guess my question is, how do you find a balance between working on your wip (who has you completely enthusiastic and enthralled) and keeping up with the revising and editing and querying that your past projects demand?  Do you put them on hold while finishing a first draft?  Or do you divide your time equally between both?

PS- thanks so much to everyone who commented on
‘My Name is Katie.  And I Suck at First Person POV’. 

Consensus from the Comment Box:

Great examples of First Person/Present Tense:

Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Beautiful- Amy Reed
Something, Maybe- Elizabeth Scott
Water for Elephants
Wintergirls- Laurie Halse Anderson  (I actually HAVE this one and haven’t read it yet)
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist-Levithan/Cohen
Friction- E.R. Frank
Perfect Chemistry- Simone Elkeles
Cat’s Cradle- Atwood
Looking for Alaska- John Green
I Am the Messanger- Marceus Zusak
Bloody Jack- L.A. Meyer
Need- Carrie Jones
The Chosen One- Carol Lynch Williams
Sandman Slim- Richard Kadrey
You Suck- Christopher Moore

Some Fab Advice:

"You need to really just change your track. Pull that switch and forget everything you knew (or thought you knew) about writing 3rd PoV and start fresh as if you've never written before. It may sound silly, but this is how most breakthrough writers start. They'll complain that they don't think they can constantly use pronoun reference for their character the entire time. It steals personality and limelight, and all of what you've been building your sketch into. That's not at all the case."- Justin W. Parente-( quoting his professor.)

“you have to make sure to stay in your character's voice the whole time. The author can come through too often in a lot of 1st Person books. “- Jamie Grey

You could go with the method writing approach. become the character and experience it from her perspective as you write it. “- Alesa Warcan

just becareful you don't fall into the trap of telling or the mc explaining too much. But it offers your the opportunity for your character's personality to shine through. “- Laura Pauling

my advice would be to really get to know your character. You have to step out of yourself and be them.”-Victoria Saavedra

THIS is why I blog people.  Thanks to all of your feedback, my word count jumped up to 13k this weekend and I have officially found my ‘present tense’ groove.  It’s almost like reading it- once you get into the story you don’t even realize you’re writing in present tense anymore.
Have a great Monday everyone!



Emily White said...

I'm exactly like you. The new idea is like the new shiny toy you just can't put down, but I've really had to force myself to finish what I started first before I move on. If I tried to write a first draft while editing my previous novel, neither one would end up getting done.

And that is some GREAT advice!

Will Burke said...

You got some great advice there. Isn't the Blogging community great?!
How 'bout using Editing as a 'Plan B" for Writer's Block phases?

Laura Pauling said...

It's important to think every new wip could be the one. If not, you shouldn't be writing it unless you are practicing. I wrote my first draft soon after I started querying so i was able to finish it in about 4 months. I didn't rewrite chapter one of my finished draft until my first draft was done. But I would have made time if I had felt the need earlier.

Old Kitty said...

Oh I feel I'm having an illicit affair when I er.. discard the old project and get all enthusiastic with the new one!! LOL!!

But I return to them eventually but without any regrets. Gosh I sound so cold!!!

Thanks for the list of books here! Take care

Matthew MacNish said...

I've only ever had one idea or written one novel, so I can't really relate, though I'm sure I would if I could!

This is some great advice here about your tense and POV, sounds like it's working out pretty well!

April Plummer said...

Yes, yes, and YES! Not only have I thought every time "This is the best book idea EVER!" I also just right now, actually, am starting to struggle as well between reivsing something I think could be really great and some ideas for my next novel that are starting to form in my head. I actually was going to blog about that too!

I wish I had advice, but I obviously have the same issues. I don't know how some writers balance more than one WIP. Sometimes, I find myself in the middle of 2 or 3, and I have to stop and choose one. Most of the time, though, I'm much better off doing 1 at a time, following it all the way through to the end (querying).

But sometimes, like NOW, I get this new great idea, and I feel the crazy need to write it NOW...meanwhile my other WIP is waiting to be revised...

I have no answer. I hope someone else gives it to us!

Candyland said...

Focus on one? What's that?! I'm excited about all of them too!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Unfortunately, I am having the opposite problem. I keep losing focus on the WIP while I go back and make more adjustments to the finished project that I'm currently querying.

And I already have ideas about how I need to revise the WIP -- and the first draft is not even complete! So -- forward, ho? Or backwards with the revising?

I wish a week's vacation with the family had given me the answer ... but it didn't. :(

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm like this with everything, not just writing. I get obsessed with a project (whatever it is) and like to immerse myself in it until it's done or I lose interest (guess which usually wins?)

Slamdunk said...

Have lots of fantastic ideas is a good problem to have.

I am more of an immerse myself in one thing at a time and just keep notes on what I want to do with the other projects.

Jemi Fraser said...

It's so hard to put off that shiny new idea - they keep banging on the inside of my skull, trying to get out. :)

The writing community is amazing - you got some great advice!

Stina said...

I have to check out some of those books. I didn't realize Perfect Chemistry is in first person present. I just checked, and so are the other Simone Elkeles books I have (Leaving Paradise and Rules of Attraction). And I have the John Green book, too. :D

I'm rereading Alyson Noel's Immortal series because it too is in present tense.

There was definitely some great advice generated by your post. :D

Meredith said...

This happens every time! I force myself not to work on the shiny new idea until I've finished up a round of revisions and sent it off to others to read. I just try to remember that it's a good thing to be more excited about a new idea--at least I have new ideas!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the list of authors, it's nice to compare!!!

I've only started revising my second story and recently gained a new idea. For this instance since it's still fairly new I'm doing both at the same time, since they are both magical and along the same lines with fairies and other magical creatures I don't lose focus on the stories at hand.

However when that first draft takes off and is hot I write until it's complete. Revisions sit on hold. I then just make sure to type my little heart out.

LTM said...

I think we all feel that way, but we HAVE to feel that way. Why else would we do it? (Or believe someone else would want to read it?)

But it IS funny... ;p

Hey, gotcha sumpin. Wanna see it? Come over to my blog~ ...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL! I guess I'm just a stubborn redhead - I start a project, I see it through to the end! Although I lost enthusiasm for my last book, mostly because it was so difficult to write. Ironically, it's the best thing I've ever written. Go figure.

Tamara Narayan said...

I'm one of those people who has to eat all the potatoes, then the meat, then the veggies. I don't like mixing things up. So I'm trying to wrap up my editing for number one while reading research books for number two.

Summer Ross said...

I finish the rough draft then provide mostly, er kinda equal time revising the drafts of each project...:)

Jamie Grey said...

I have to stick with one project at a time. I tried to write and revise two different works at the same time - it did not end well!

And YAY for the wordcount! Glad you found your groove :)

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean about the pangs of regrets for old projects. Every time I become enthralled by a new story, I feel as though I'm cheating on the old one.

I haven't yet mastered the art of dividing my time equally between two projects, but I'm working on it.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Congratulations on the first person progress!

As for maintaining enthusiasm for a WIP while trying to sell past projects, it's a tricky dance. Just keep on keepin' on. ; )

Lisa Gail Green said...

I find it difficult to ignore that WIP and work on revisions too. HOWEVER, I know that it is SOOOO important and that the revisions are how I am going to ultimately sell the book. I also find that once I've really dived in, I find myself in love all over again.

Jolene Perry said...

I'm SO happy you did this post. I'm determined to make my next one present tense. It's fun.

I go back and forth between my old ones and my new ones. This is the ONLY time in writing I set goals for myself. "I'll edit/query/revise old one for ---- and then I can go back to my BEST IDEA EVER!"

Sherrie Petersen said...

I love that drunk joy of working on a new wip, but I have a hard time jumping between manuscripts. That's just me, though. I have friends who can work on like three or four things at the same time. My brain just isn't that multifunctional.

Sara {Rhapsody and Chaos} said...

Oh man I TOTALLY know what you mean! I'm in the middle of a new WIP that gives me tingles while I write it. While I did not get those tingles with my previous manuscript, I do still eventually want to revise it. But I think I'm going to hold off until my first draft of my current WIP is complete. Then while I take the break from that before revision, I'll make the changes to the first WIP.

And that officially sounds confusing, lol

Nicole L Rivera said...

As much as I'd love to dive into one project at a time, I don't. If a new story captivates me and I have to write it I block off time to get it out, and time to dedicate to those other projects. You know the old ones that you once were passionately in love with, but now the relationship has grown stale. I remind myself that what is stale to me is new to others and of what we once had and I push on. After all commitment isn't easy, but it is worth it. Wow, I sound like a marriage therapist. Lol.

Susan Fields said...

Thanks for passing on all that great advice. That's something I love about blogging, too - whenever I need help or answers, I just put it on my blog and our great community always comes through.

Sangu Mandanna said...

Oh, definitely, I do exactly the same thing! I'm always thrown into this kind of rapture when I have a new idea, and it either dwindles away (and I think 'huh, not that great') or I finish the book and it doesn't get anywhere. Alas.

Great advice there, though, thanks :-)

Christina Lee said...

I have no good answer for your question. I am too busy reading all of the fabulous comments on first person POV! WOW!

Shelley Sly said...

I so know what you mean about getting a new best idea all the time! I'm not good at balancing at all... but it helps to know that there are others out there who can relate!

DL Hammons said...

I'm a one WIP at a time type of guy. I won't work on another WIP until I've either sold the first one, or declare it dead. Makes things very simple. :)

Anonymous said...

I recently put one wip on the backburner to to work on a shiny new idea. I usually put the MS away to look at later with fresh eyes anyway, so I might as well work on something else.

Unknown said...

Great comments and advice here! I say find the balance - schedule time for doing the business work - the editing, quering, etc., and put yourself in logic thinking mode. Do it in a place that is away from your creative muse. Then go and play with the creative process and be unleashed with your new wip! Good luck!!!!

Julie Musil said...

I'm in the same boat right now. What's working for me (for now) is I'm spending my morning writing time working on the new wip. If I have time in the later part of the day, I'll spend that it on my previous wip. Sort of working for now.

Love the advice section on 1st person/present. Thanks!

Dayana Stockdale said...

I totally agree about the Adoration of Jenna Fox. It was a little anticlimactic but it was an amazing example of first person narration. We could see so much more of Jenna's world than she could.


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