Tuesday, August 9, 2016

F Is For Finally

Jennifer talks about reaching The End...

Actually, I’m talking more about reaching milestones in my writing and less about The End.

I tend to work on several manuscripts at the same time. It could be because my attention span, since the advent of social media, rivals a flea (and not in a good way). It could also be because when the ideas race through my head, they’re not always for the same story. Or maybe working on multiple things actually works for me. I’m still not completely sure.

Whatever the reason, I do it and I’ve adapted strategies along the way to help me.

A few years ago, I attended a workshop by Roxanne St. Claire where she spoke about her writing style. A pantser like me, she doesn’t fully know her characters when she starts writing. Therefore, she writes to page one hundred and stops. Then she goes back and edits those pages. Next, she writes to page two hundred and stops. She once again, goes back to the beginning and edits. Finally, she writes to the end.

It was an intriguing concept, because it combined writing and editing, so I decided to try it. I’ve done it for a few books now and it seems to work. But I’ve added my own piece to it.

Every time I stop—at page 100 or 200—I let the manuscript sit for a little and move onto a different one. Sitting and gelling is important before you edit anyway, and this gives me a specific time to do that.

Currently, I have one manuscript sitting at page 200 and “gelling,” I have one that I’m writing up to page 200 and I have one complete one that I’m editing. It’s a little crazy, it requires specific concentration, but it seems to work for me. Because at each milestone, I can congratulate myself on getting there, so I feel productive, and my tasks are divided into smaller bits that are easier to grasp.


It won’t work for everyone. It probably sounds crazy to most (it is!). But if you’re looking for something new to try, you might want to give it a shot.

11 comments:

  1. Similar to my process, especially the working on multiple projects at the same time. I guess we just have to do what works for us and not follow another's formula.

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    1. Unless that formula works. Then totally steal it and make it your own! ;)

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  2. I can only work on one story at a time, as I need to concentrate on one set of characters. Every time I open a chapter, I look back at what I wrote the day before, and often revise it or add/delete things. Once I get to the end of a chapter, I re-edit the whole thing.

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    1. Sounds like a very logical approach (and I know it works well for you).

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  3. Wow, that's quite the balancing act. I have IDEAS for several different projects in my head most of the time, but I usually only work on one at a time. Although sometimes I do stop (aka give up on) one and move onto something else.

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    1. I didn't set out to do it this way. It just sort of happened.

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  4. I admire what you do, Jennifer, but I could only work on one book at a time. I wish I could work on more than one but I'm not sure I'd be able to concentrate successfully.

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    1. I'm hoping when my life becomes less crazy, I can move to less stories at one time.

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  5. Congratulations on managing your system, Jen. It makes sense, and
    just might work for me the next time I get stuck.

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