Tuesday, July 16, 2013

One Plus One Really Does Equal Two!

My goal for the three and a half weeks that my children are away at sleep away camp has been to write 1,000 words a day in each of my manuscripts.  So far, I’ve been pretty successful. I’ve taken off most weekends, but my word total is 14,666 for one and 13,948 for the other.

I was talking to my mom about it the other day—now that she knows I write, she likes to keep up with what I’m doing—and she expressed shock that I could write two separate stories at the same time. I tried to compare it to having two conversations with two different people, but she wasn’t convinced.

That got me wondering...how do you write two separate stories and keep them unique? As an author, we have to find our own voice, the intangible thing that makes us stand out from the other authors and immediately identifies our work as our own. For some it might be humor, for others, the way we describe things.

But our stories have to have something that differentiates each other. It can’t just be a new set of characters or a different setting. Well, I guess it can, but it quickly becomes apparent to the reader that this is the same old thing over and over again. Each story has to be unique. Each hero or heroine has to be a complete person and different from any other hero or heroine we might create.

How do I keep them straight? The easy answer is, “I just do.” The more thought-out answer is that if I truly am creating a complete character, there’s no way to get them confused. It would be like getting my children confused (okay, I admit to sometimes calling them by the wrong name, but that’s not because I don’t know who they are). And if my characters are well developed, then the story will not get confused either, because there are only certain things that could happen to a particular character. Each story and character are unique, there is not “one size fits all.”

So, while working on two manuscripts at the same time has been an experiment for me, I’d have to say that so far, it’s a success. It’s nice to be able to switch gears and work with totally different characters and storylines. I feel super-productive, and I get to impress my mom, which is always a good thing! J

Have you worked on more than one project at a time? How did you keep everything straight?


  1. Congrats on your totals, that's awesome!
    Don't think I've ever tried writing two novels at the same time. I have one half-written, which I put to one side to concentrate on my current one. I think I'd lose the thread if I kept changing from one to the other.

  2. I'm finding that I don't really lose the thread and it seems to be good for my ridiculously short attention span (which I hope is temporary). A few more days to go and then I hope to increase by smaller amounts each day--2,000 words a day is probably a bit unrealistic when the kids are home. Sigh.

  3. That's great if you can do it. I did write a prologue for my Croatia story when I got home, but have had to put it aside while I finish editing my current story. Seems like I can't concentrate on two things at once!

  4. I've never written two stories at the same time, but I've worked on drafting for one and editing on another at the same time.

    You couldn't have said it better...each story is truly unique and one size definitely doesn't fit all. Since each one has its own feel, it's pretty easy to separate them and keep each on its own track.

    Congrats on the amazing progress you are making on your stories. You are an inspiration to us all!

  5. I think I get so engrossed with my characters (even when I'm editing, as I am now), I can't leave them and think about another set of characters! Once these edits are done and the ms submitted, then I will draw in a deep breath, say farewell to those characters (and the hero I've fallen in love with) and find another hero! See, I can't two-time my hero LOL!

  6. Oh that's funny, Paula. Watch, someone will come up with a study that relates how you write to how faithful you are!

    And Debra, I'm trying to get my butt in gear for October!

  7. I have outlined a story while I let my WIP breathe, but I don't know if I could write two at one time. I think I am more linear.

  8. Well, we'll see how well I did when I get to edits! :)