1. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    Stopping at mid-novel and starting to write another one!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Birmingham, Feb 2, 2011.

    Hey all.

    We all know the feeling of coming up with a story, and then, as we write, we sort of get it, and it's not as cool and shiny as it was, and now, as we write it, maybe even bored with it, we're starting to have ideas for short stories and novels, and they are the new, shiny ideas.

    I'm writing a novel about something I really enjoy. It has a lot of US foreign policy, and different perspectives, and it deals with both foreign and domestic issues, so the plotlines are diverse, as we move from combat in one country, to a criminal trial of a regular felon on another, to the petty politics and elections.

    But as I'm writing this, and have written about 7 chapters, I have had ideas for many cool short stories, and for three novels!!! The first two came to me throughout this year. The third idea came to me yesterday, and it's a hoot.

    And so all the time I'm wondering, do I just throw the first novel I ever started writing aside? Do I just throw it away and start writing the second one?

    Also, while my English is pretty good, and I have no problem writing a novel in English (especially as it happens in the US) I'm not originally from an English speaking country. So if I start fourth novel idea, which is about one person, basically, a regular person, do I write it in English and put it in the US? Or do I do it in my own language and my own country?

    I'm thinking about it because the idea is not exactly original, and has been done twice (or thrice) in the past. So it would be cooler to actually do it for the first time with a character that isn't an American and doesn't live in the US. Plus, it'll make it harder for people to steal it, I guess. Maybe.

    But that's only a secondary question. The main question is: Do I go with my baby, my first novel, or do I start writing them in parallel?
     
  2. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    Personally, I would do a couple of the short-stories, get a few ideas out of your system. That way you will also get the thrill of finishing a piece completely, which is rare with novel writing.
    This thrill may drive you to finish your first novel. And writing something different for a while may relieve some of the boredom of your long project.
    If even after this you cannot bring yourself to go back to the novel, then you might consider starting a new one. But the question is whether you are truly so bored with the novel that you really don't want to finish it, or whether you're just being tempted away by shinier new projects.
    As for the language question, write in whichever language and country suits the mood of the novel best. If that doesn't sway your judgement, then ask yourself what the market is for that style in each of the languages. Out of interest, what are your other language and country?
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi!

    I deal with the exact same problem, so I can relate. I've got about 20 unfinished novels lying around and only one finished one (which I'm now chopping major parts out of to rewrite due to plot hole issues).

    I'd recommend you stick through with the one you're got going, "your baby" as you call it. If it's boring YOU, the writer, it will sure as hell bore the readers, so spice up the plot and make it un-boring.

    If you're not bored with it, but just stuck, here are some tips I've learned:

    1. Work on one of your secondary characters and give him/her a conflict of his/her own. Tie this conflict in with the overall plot, so it's not just filler space. Make sure it's something really gripping.

    2. Put your MC in a tree and throw rocks at them. Give them some new problem that they have to deal with, but again, make it relevant.

    3. If there aren't enough characters in the game, try introducing a new one. This will give your pre-existing characters something to react to.

    4. When you're ending a writing session, don't stop at the end of the scene you were working on. Start the next scene too, even if you only write one paragraph. If you sit down for the new/next writing session and you're at a new scene, it's much easier to get Great Blank Word Doc Syndrome, but if you're already into the scene you're going to write then you are in the groove -- it's much easier.

    Also, there's a really cool tool online called Write or Die. Just do a Google search on "Write or Die Dr. Wicked" and you will find it. Basically, they give you a text box to write in (you copy-paste it into your word doc periodically) and you can set "forgiveness periods" (an amount of time) and "consequences." If your keyboard is still from lack of typing for a time that exceeds the forgiveness period (I always do 5 seconds), it will blast annoying sounds (medium level) or slowly eat your words (hard level).

    And as for that second novel, start on it when you're dealing with Editors' Block after finishing your first run of the first novel. :)

    Hope I helped!
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    i hate it - I like to have two or three at different stages so I can put one down for editing. However I work better knowing right this is my work in progress and I am going to finish it, then move on to such and such a project. I made the mistake in November (admittedly productive mistake) of taking a break from my middle novel, to write my current one. Then in December I took a break from it because I didn't want to write a certain scene (again it was productive I got plans for a new series and novella from it).

    In future I am going back to one book at a time.
     
  5. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    Well, since I thought about the stuff I'll write in faster pace than I had written it, I found myself sort of knowing what would happen. And I still know what will happen next. Not the whole story, but the next large chunks of it, I know pretty well. Like I said, only 7 chapters, and I barely scratched the surface. Especially because I have tons of characters. See, we keep dividing life into groups of people and into genres. One thing is a romantic comedy about two city people in love, another is an action novel about a group of soldiers in a land far away, fighting the bad guys. But those two stories take place at the same planet. And the story of the domestic L&O type plot, with the regular criminal, that has to do with legislation promoted by a president, who is also dealing with foreign policy. And so I have a novel that is like a phone book, with tons of characters, and a bit thin on the plot. It has several plotlines. Maybe even too much. Because it's "my baby", or "the experiment", because it's the first novel, I just threw in many ideas that I had.

    Not to mention that it's set in 3 eras. The earliest one is a few years from today. It's mostly dealing with one era though, so I won't get people confused.

    Add all that to the fact that day in and day out I read stuff for both school and fun that are in my SECOND language, which is the one I'm writing my novel in. The one I'm writing right now.

    Plus I have school on my head, so I'm jaded.

    So, I will not introduce new characters. That's something I've done way too often. And what I like about it is that some of them just show up for one impressive scene and then disappear. Not die, or anything, just, go about their own lives.

    So it doesn't really bore me. It's just that I know what's gonna happen more or less. I don't have an ending, which is good. I mean, I do have ending for one plotline, because the novel started out as a short story. So when the novel ends, I know what happens to one character. And I love the fact that I don't know what'll happen to the rest.

    So it's not that I'm bored. It's just that I've been with that idea for over a year now. Even in times when I haven't been writing too much of it. Maybe because I study stuff that has to do with international relations, and write stuff about it, that's a part of the jadedness.

    I might even get a job that involves keeping up with what goes on in the world, international relations, contact with people in the US, etc. But I'll still need to write novels.

    So... I dunno if I'm bored or jaded or what. Hope this wasn't too ramblin for you.

    And btw, I haven't yet said what country I'm in, what language I speak, or what are my political leanings (notice that I keep talking about Robert the president and Kevin who hates the president). And all of that is because I figured I should first make friends here, get people to like me, and then "get out of the closet" on those controversial things and open them up. Good news: I'm not an Egyptian!
     
  6. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    I guess, the bottom line is this: My first novel, the one I'm writing now, has an ensamble cast, and a variety of plotlines. From boy meets girl, to legal precedent on a criminal case, to war on terror, to sleazy election campaigns and tension between parties and inside parties.

    My 2nd and 3rd novel ideas, they're also with a lot of complexity, even if they're simpler in some ways. At least one of them will also have ensamble.

    My 4th idea is about one person, a person who has a background different than my own. It's also the first story where the lead is a female (though I could easily change that if I wish to do so). Guess one of the many appealing things is that it's this one person, and one problem, and later on, one possible path away from the problem and one villain you can identify.

    I guess I like it because it's simple and escapist, while my original novel is complex and related to things I read about often the past few years.
     
  7. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Do not stop writing your novel!

    Keep an ideas file for future writing and come to it when you're done with your work.

    My rationale is that nothing makes you feel like more of a loser than not finishing what you start. Imagine a moviemaker whoe has made half a movie then requests to make another. The producer would be like, Finish it!
     
  8. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I get what you mean. It's the excitement of something new.

    I think at some point you need to decide if your current novel has got a direction, something you can get excited about so that you carry on with it. Otherwise the danger is of starting many things and not finishing anything.

    Like someone suggested, short stories are fine. You can keep things fresh by knocking out a few, and then - if you decide - go back to the novel. Sometimes you'll need to 'force' yourself to write, through writer's block et al. That's normal.

    I just did the same over the last few weeks. I went back to my manuscript, did yet another edit and wrote three more chapters.

    Now at almost 85,000 words I can finally say I'm almost there. Long road... and now the fun starts of trying to decide what to do with it.
     
  9. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    I'm not trying to pull you into supporting my primal urges here, but let's present it the way it is. I'm not saying I'll stop whatever I'm writing, never to return to it, destroying it, and go on to become a serial novel starter.

    I merely suggest I should take a break from one of my novels, in order to start another. Not a short story, but another novel. And then write them interchangably. Just a thought. I'm not saying that's what I should or shouldn't do, but that's what I'm talking about. Nobody said anything about walking away from a novel, or starting a million of them. If I wanted to do that, I would have had 4 unfinished novels by now.
     
  10. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    It's like being married to two women at the same time.

    I stick with "No".
     
  11. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    I've been writing the same book for some time now. Like anyone else, ideas come up. Cool book titles, little scenes or a flash of an idea. While I remain focused on my main writing, the book. I do capture these things. I have a running idea catcher for both the current book and anything new, which is a running Word doc with snippets of things. This way I can pour out new ideas, not lose them and even get a little different creativity out.

    Maybe it's the guitar player in me (...and wannabe song writer) but musicians and song writers have tape recorders next to their bed, will call to leave a message on voice mail with a hummed melody etc. While they may not be able to write a song on the spot, they have it captured for later.

    I kinda use that method to get my stuff down. It may not be the diversion you are asking is a good idea or not but instead of dropping the current work, dabble inthe other things when it strikes but return back to your main deal. This assume you feel the current writing has merit. Heck, I once had 20 pages of a screenplay and thought it was pretty good up and until I decided it was junk...so, if your work is worth finishing...finish it.
     
  12. Contagion
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    Contagion Member

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    As I'm currently in the same proverbial boat, I'd say stick to your current project, but make notes, plot ideas, etc for your new idea.

    My novel (well, very rough first draft of the first two chapters) will eventually be a survival horror, whereas I'm already having ideas about a vampire story - not the twinkling, superpowered, friends with werewolves type, but hopefully a semi-fact based, believable tale, quite possibly with an element of survival in it.

    So, yeah - my suggestion is to plod along with what you're already doing...
     
  13. Spacer
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    Spacer Active Member

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    I think it's worth writing a scene or two just so I don't forget it! I spent a whole week starting a different story each day.
     
  14. TheNumber2
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    TheNumber2 New Member

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    I am having the same problem right now with my novel! However, still try to continue writing your first story, even if you have to take a break now and then to develop some of your other ideas. By developing these other ideas you will still be in "writing mode" and therefore it will be much easier once you decide to return to the original...That is what has been helping me! :)
     

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