Sunday, August 8, 2010

Searching for the right project

As most of you know, I finished my first novel a few months ago and have been mired in query hell ever since. I've started three new projects since then and shelved them all -- including my political thriller that now sits at 20k words.

The first thing I started after finishing The Devil You Don't Know was what I thought was going to be the sequel. Then it occurred to me that it might be a bit, um, presumptuous of me to begin a sequel to a book that may or may not get published. Frankly, it seemed like a waste of time.

But the opening scene, a school shooting, was by many accounts one of the best things I've written since taking up fiction writing three years ago.

What to do?

Well, the weeks off this summer seem to have proven fruitful. I had the most wonderful idea for a new book that can use the opening shooting scene (which I posted on this blog a few months ago) in its entirety.

I suspect I was putting so much pressure on myself to succeed at the next book that I was being overly cautious about what to tackle next. I've decided to keep the other two and finish them later. But I'm pursuing the new book, which has a working title of Empty Spaces.

Sometimes I think my problem is that I have too many ideas. Each one seems new and fresh and exciting, but after a few weeks of writing it, I think of something better. Sigh. I know I need to pick one and focus on it (while continuing to query TDYDK).

So. That's what I'm doing. How about you guys. Do you have trouble deciding what to write next? Do you only work on one project at a time? Or do you have several cooking at any given moment?


  1. It varies with me. Currently I'm finishing up a novel in editing, planning in November to write another for NaNoWriMo. I've got the idea in my head but not doing anything till I get revisions done on this. Can't wait actually.

  2. oh MAN! i have so many ideas fighting in my head all the time- it's all to-the-death cage matches in my brain! i'm trying to finish the rewrite on my first one before i give in to one of the others! good luck with your new one!!!!

  3. I didn't have this problem when writing my first book, and I thought I was all set for writing the prequel, but then this week I got an awesome idea for another book. So, for the first time I am torn about writing the one I just started or trying out the new idea. I don't like this situation one bit!

  4. When I was querying MASQUERADE I thought I should finish one of the other Regency's I had started but found I wanted to do something less British and started G&T. I'm almost done and ready to query soon. After that, who knows, no ideas yet. But I do know, now having gone through and survived the query process, that I'm not going to waste my time waiting to hear from agents like I did. I'm going to write like a mad woman b/c Monster Baby will be in school full time. lol.

  5. Have I told you about my NIFL folder yet? I can't remember. It's my Nifty Ideas For Later folder. When I'm tempted with a distractingly fun concept (hi, like, every five minutes with my distracto-brain), I write out the most general outline I can-we're talking less than an hour, just to get down the basic concepts. Then it goes away into the NIFL folder, and I can come back to it when I'm done with whatever I'm working on. This also guarantees me a whole stash of ideas to look through when I'm finished with whatever I'm working on.

  6. I have ideas for at least 8 or 9 books, and I've mapped out a order for the first three (number one is done and in query-land). I think my third one may have better luck than my second for publication, but I'm putting it off because the longer I write, the better I'll get--I hope. I do have a sequel in mind for the first book, but if I do write it, it'll have to work as a stand-alone.

  7. You definitely put too much pressure on yourself! All writers do that!

    "Sometimes I think my problem is that I have too many ideas"

    Yep. I have that same issue.