1. Danielle Fatzinger
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    Danielle Fatzinger New Member

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    Multiple ideas: how do you choose what to write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Danielle Fatzinger, Dec 8, 2014.

    Recently, I've been switching rapidly between three stories and am unable to choose between them. Part of the reason is that I don't have a lot of time to sit down and focus on one, so my brain keeps giving me ideas for all three. Another reason is that the main characters of each are vying for my attention and none of them are backing down.

    So I was curious: how do you pick one story out of multiple to write about?
     
  2. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I do not. I work on all of them, and I switch between them depending on my mood.
     
  3. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    '...I don't have a lot of time to sit down and focus on one...'

    Then how do you expect to have the time to focus on three and write anything meaningful? You're keeping plates spinning in the air and at some time they'll come crashing down. Leave the plate spinning to the experts.

    Why not focus on one project and devote your energy to getting it right? Quality over quantity. ;)
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That's what I like to do, switch between stories depending on what I'm interested in at the time. That said, I imagine you still have to be serious about finishing them no matter how many projects you take on.
     
  5. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's nice to be able to switch back and forth, but then you have to be able to continuously switch "modes." I imagine it's a bit like an actor doing three films at once.
     
  6. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I usually choose the idea that's most fully formed, which often means I'll be more likely to finish the story. Sometimes, though, it's just the one I like the best. I rarely have two stories going at one time.
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    As a writer who has issues with procrastination ( IMHO it's worse than Writer's Block ), and who has dozens' of half started novels and short stories, I usually chose based on what will be the easiest - what will need the least amount of research, how easily can I slip into the plot and character's shoes, what story do I want to be working on for weeks? This way I try to avert stalling out my project with issues like boredom or research.

    When I work on more than one - one usually gets squeezed out along the line. Which isn't too bad as there's always something to work with when I want to return to it.
     
  8. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Weeks? You talking novels or short stories?
     
  9. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I forget everyone is usually meaning novels, here. :)
    I meant short stories or novellas. A novel usually takes me three months to complete a first draft.
     
  10. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Me too! That must be the right amount of time then!
     
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  11. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are these short stories or full length novels? If they are novels I think I would work on all three despite the plate spinning, just to not lose any ideas. I like peachalulu's idea for short stories: work on your favorite or easiest.
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm in the same boat here, Trying to decide between all the potential stories that keep buzzing around in my head, and right now I've narrowed it down to two, in two different genres, too! I guess I do like someone said and choose the one that is most complete in my head or that I think I will be able to finish. (My biggest problem ATM is that I start things and then start doubting them or lose interest in them half way through) I also consider which will be the most interesting and fun to write, and which characters I most want to hang out with for the next months... Plus which of them is most close to the kind of story that I want to write. (One of these is almost unknown territory, and while that IS interesting, it's also a risk, because it feels more likely that I won't be able to finish it)
     
  13. Danielle Fatzinger
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    Danielle Fatzinger New Member

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    These are novels, not short stories. Sorry, I forgot to specify! And that's good advice since I don't want to forget anything.
     
  14. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    When ever a new idea pops into my head I open a new file then write a quick paragraph of any details, thoughts, ideas, ect... on it, then give it a working title close the file and it sits there until I have time to work on the idea more. depending on what idea I have determines what I will work on.
     
  15. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    I think working on more than one thing at once is a form of procrastination. Work on one thing and get it finished then move on to something else unless you have a good reason not to. I would be willing to bet that your 3 stories being worked on at once turn into no stories being finished.
     
  16. KevinMcCormack
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    I found myself in a similar situation a year ago when I first started, and now I think it's a beginner's problem.

    Specifically, a beginner with a rich imagination has a temptation to either put all the ideas in one story, or to spawn off ideas into different stories. A better writer will opt for the latter, which means you're going in the right direction, I think. That was my situation for about 6 months: writing several stories in rotation, as ideas emerged for each one.

    I eventually landed on DeadMoon's strategy: I have a document for every story, but I can only write one at a time.

    The only exception is for when I have a story that is not on any external timeline, I do sometimes park that to complete anything that has an actual deadline.
     
  17. DennisWillis12
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    DennisWillis12 Member

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    Before writing I previously think about the ideas and blogs to write. I choose the subjects in which I was familiar and easily write.
     
  18. Lemon flavoured
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    Lemon flavoured Active Member

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    Same here. I do this enough though that I very rarely actually finish anything...
     
  19. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    One of those ideas usually keeps pressing at my subconscious mind more than others. I pick that idea and work on it.
    It's not that I write off the rest, I put them in a backlog, a kind of backburner.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
  20. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ideas for stories are easy. It's actually finishing that's hard.

    By whatever criteria you devise (which is most likely to sell, which you're furthest along on, which you like best...flip a coin) pick one and stick with it. This notion that "none of them are backing down" is an excuse not to decide.

    Keep a file on all of novels, including the ones you're not currently writing (after you pick the one to focus on) and jot ideas in them so that they won't be lost while you're working on the one.

    Once you finish the first draft on the first one picked, you'll need some time away and you can devote time to the second one decided upon. Then go back to the first, revise, edit, do whatever you need to do to get it ready for submission to agents/publishers, or to an editor if you're going to self publish. Then revise the second one picked and then go back and finish the third...
     
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  21. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Looks like personal experience to me ;) And a good one at that. I've done something similar but as you say, it's bringing to completion
    that's difficult.
     
  22. Poet of Gore
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    Poet of Gore Member

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    i say this all the time. if one of the stories has something to do with a topic you are interested in or maybe is a source of issues in your life, write that story
     

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