1. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    how do you manage multiple story ideas?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by 123456789, Jan 30, 2012.

    Hi,
    I'm new to this community. I've searched several pages back but no other thread seems to cover this question.


    To the more experienced writers, I'm looking for insight as to how you deal with multiple story ideas and inspirations. Let's say you become inspired to write a book. You flesh out the idea, construct the story and characters (or whatever you do) and start writing. Weeks or months go by and your story has progressed on paper but is not finished when suddenly you have a new inspiration and idea. What do you do? Do you pen down the idea and push it out of your mind? Do you shelve the other story and start working on the new one? Do you continue working on both? Naturally everyone works differently. I guess I'm just wondering if the general consensus is ride whatever wave comes for as long as its there, or if its to stay disciplined and focused and fight off impulse. Looking forward to your responses!
     
  2. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    Welcome.

    You're right that everyone works differently, and what I do may not work for anyone else. I'd say it's a good idea to jot down the idea to work on later.

    I don't do any jotting. I focus on the story I'm working on, because I'm still very excited about it, and the other idea stays in the back of my mind for later. I only think about it occasionally, when one of the characters starts speaking to me. I tell the character I'll write her story later. If I jumped around I'd never get anything done. I'd have dozens of half-stories.

    One benefit I find to this method is that if the new story idea I got while writing the original story was really good, it's still in my mind and fresh and can be written. Or I have had the time to reflect and realize it was a useless idea, if that's what it was.

    For me, this is less about discipline and more to do with an insatiable need to get the current story out. This story's characters won't leave me alone until I do. They'll yell at me that they were here first.
     
  3. UrbanBanshee
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    UrbanBanshee Member

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    I have way too many ideas at a time too. I have a notebook that is nothing but random story ideas that really struck me. Specifically ones I'd like to write someday. I do this and tell myself I can work on them later. It gets me excited about my other ideas, but keeps me from being too distracted from my current project.

    That being said I have dropped stories before to work on a new idea. I've had a new idea excite me sooo much that I couldn't focus on anything else. My brain kept weaving this story even as I worked on my original project. After over a year of still being excited by the distracting new idea I changed projects. I was having difficulties with the original project though anyway. I liked the idea but was backed into a corner and couldn't work out much of the plot.

    I personally recommend a notebook. It does help me keep focus (for the most part lol) on my main project. Besides even if I remember a year from now the neat idea I had, I might not remember a small detail that went with it. Writing it down makes sure I don't forget for later.

    I'm very forgetful though.
     
  4. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll often be outlining one project while working on the first draft another. I've no problems with alternating between two or more projects these days (usually my current main project, plans for the next one, and then a number of short stories). However, when I first began writing seriously it felt impossible to return to an older project after starting a new one.

    Most of my ideas are actually scrapped once I've finished the outlining. By that time the novelty of the new idea has worn off and I have to decide whether or not this is a project worth carrying on with. If I choose to begin writing the first draft then it is most likely that I will see it through to the very end before starting the first draft of something else.
     
  5. Blueflare
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    Blueflare Member

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    Heh, I drop the old project and start the new one with great gusto.

    I would not recommend this.
     
  6. Kitty08
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    Kitty08 Member

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    I say write when you're inspired. Inspiration can be hard to come by sometimes, so when you've got an idea, for the love of all that is good and holy, go with it! Write with abandon (assuming it fits within your outline), you can always go back and polish it later. If it means ignoring your other story for weeks or months, so be it. But that's just my style and it's not necessarily the best way.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i might work on both, or might wait on the new one till i've finished the current one... or might put the current one aside for a while and start the new one... it all depends on what i feel like writing most at the time...

    some writers might use the strong desire to start a new one as motivation to finish the current one, not allowing a new start till the first is finished, while others might use the break to let the current one simmer, so they can come back to it with a fresh perspective and impetus...

    don't do what anyone else does... there's no right/wrong or best/worst way to proceed other than what's right/best for you...
     
  8. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    I jump between each one and if i get an idea for another, i do some of that. Writing different stories for me is a challenge, at the minute I'm trying to work on my fantasy since i have a good idea of my two sci-fi ideas. It depends on the writer though.
     
  9. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I work on one with inspiration, when I get another, I start it, I will return to the original eventually.

    While working on my first story, I started over seven other books. The original if ever will need to be re-written. I am currently rewriting the other two that I finished just after the first. My orginal was not in the same genre. Weird, rewriting is as enjoyable as writing originally.

    I at least get something down when I feel the story building in my mind.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I never leave an idea if I'm making good progress with it. If something else occurs to me while I'm working on something, I'll make some notes to save for later but I try never to do anything to break my momentum - life does enough of that. OTOH, if I get stuck, I may back away from a project for a time and begin exploring the idea already tucked away. More often, a switch from one project to another will occur when I've hit a natural stopping point - completion of the first draft, completion of editing and rewriting, or even (twice, so far) after sending out query letters.
     

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