I’ve continued to write my battle scene and I’m happy to say that I’m close to its climax. Not because it was a chore to write the scene (I had to stop myself from getting carried away) but because I already have the end planned out in my head. Now all I’ve got to do is make sure I don’t get carried away (again) and write too much. On a related note, I read a quote recently which sums up how I’d like to be able to write one day. It came from the mind of Linda Harrison and was written inside an article in the June edition of ‘Writing Magazine’ entitled ‘Short and Sweet’.
“Always remember that brilliant writers can pack more of a punch into one line than mediocre writers can achieve in a thousand words.”
The article was about freelancers pitching ideas to editors but this line stood out for me. And it was also written in bigger letters in the middle of the article which helped. I have always enjoyed a good piece of dialogue which could give a twist away or change the whole direction of a story, film or TV programme in just a few seconds. I try and aim to do this but in doing so I’m putting pressure on myself. Hopefully I’ll get over this and reach that goal of a truly great piece of dialogue. And in order to do that I need to write and write some more. So…
As I was writing my battle scene I decided to go back to an old story I had written and put onto protagonize.com and critique circle.com. It’s my take on the vampire myth. If you want to see an older and extremely rougher version of it I posted it on this very blog. The blog post was dated September 2 2012 if you’re interested.
I’ve gone back to it and started to write the first chapter. I’ve found that it’s a good work out for the brain (well mine anyway) to be working on two stories at once. And I’m not finding it as hard as I thought I would as I’ve written a lot of notes for both stories. I’ll keep you updated on how this goes.
I’m going to get back to it. And I leave you with a few questions.
Have you ever written more than one story at once? And if so, how did you find it?
5 thoughts on “Two things at once. Hmm…Yeah I’ll give it a try. Oh and notes are awesome by the way.”
It requires a mind shift from being one person to being another. Now I might have an advantage in that, as I’m a long time Role-Player in a number of different games [the proper pen and pencil ones that is, not the sad excuse for a game that is played on the computer] and I’ve been Games Master regularly so shifting perceptions gets to be second nature… but I’ve never found it hard. Actually I often find that picking up something else and thinking away from one story for half a day or so helps shake out any staleness and deals with writer’s block.
You really have to compartmentalise though because there IS a tendency for the personality of a major character in one to sneak into the other and you catch yourself and say to yourself, ‘X would never use a phrase like that you moron’ which is the only real trap I’ve found, once you dive headfirst into the other fic it all coalesces around you, no confusion. So, no, I’ve never actually introduced dragons or spaceships into the Regency era though I have for fun written a crossover Harry Potter/Jane Austen fanfic because some idiot said it was impossible.
My lead characters are usually based on me and I do have to work hard not to make them all sound the same. This usually ends up with the character having different coloured hair (simple)or being confident in ways I’m not(hard). Or being good at something I’m not. They’re small things I know but it helps me to separate one character from another. And plenty of notes on the characters helps me as well.
You’re right about shaking off the staleness. I only started writing two stories at once again yesterday but it already feels much better for my writing. Hopefully.
That fanfic sounds interesting. And that guy was an idiot. Nothing is impossible when writing fiction.
I am doing this right now. I am working on a sequel to my Book Mercy Row, and I had this other idea and started writing that. Sometimes I am in the mood to write the sequel and other times the new idea. I agree with Sarah, you do have to switch characters. On the other hand, any given novel normally has several or more characters, so aren’t we doing that anyway?
You make a good point about the different characters. I suppose we all have to work at making sure they’re all given their own voice. I usually try and keep my ideas separate and allocate time to each of them when I can. Or make sure that if I come back to an old story I can pick up where I left off easily enough.
What’s your book about?
very true, you shift voices all the time for different characters, but I think we all tend to put something of ourselves into a main character, which is why there’s more chance of writing too much from one’s own viewpoint! Though I wouldn’t say any of my main characters are me, most of them have some aspect of me in them, but not necessarily the same aspect… and I sometimes am writing things that they think or feel that I do not necessarily agree with. Also some of them might go about solving a problem in a somewhat confrontational way, others might find subtler ways round confrontation to resolve a difficulty, and when a quieter one is getting stroppy I’m saying, uh-oh, Jane had a big dose of Felicia in that sentence… check back [sigh] and see how big a re-write you need… Jane is a lot more restful than Felicia, who’s also younger, louder and born pugnacious. Jane smiles and keeps her opinions to herself – though I will often voice them for the reader – where Felicia is inclined to open her big mouth and driver her foot all the way down.
I have found actually that writing Fanfiction is a good discipline because of the necessity – if you’re a pedantic purist like me – of retaining the voices from canon, and indeed the voice of the author in the whole construction of the story. There’s a lot of difference between writing with the voice of Baroness Orczy [rather overblown prose at times, and full of dodgy classical allusion] and Captain WE Johns [somewhat laconic and terribly Boys Own Annual]. It’s a neat way of exploring style and considering how to approach your own original work too. Shifting from style to style when writing several fics at once is a slightly split personality situation but fun. believe me it’s quite a shift from Austen to Warhammer 40k both at once – but in some ways easier because the difference is so profound. Equally if part of you is in Napoleonic era naval matters and another part of you is in Renaissance Florence and a third part is at an unspecified time in the future on Mars they are different enough not to cause too many problems. My Naval hero is a cheerful chap with modesty but not to the extent of hiding his light under a bushel; my hero on mars is a laconic type who isn’t at his best first thing in the ‘morning’ and my Renaissance hero – foil for foot-in-mouth Felicia – is an insouciant fellow who is grouchy in the morning only when he’s been drinking too much and hides his deeper feelings beneath a flippant exterior. But they don’t speak the same language as such because the vocabulary is so different which makes that much easier.
Sorry, I rambled a bit here, but I’m trying to analyse how I work… since it’s normally enough for me that it does work!