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?