Monday, August 3, 2009

Chain: Keeping the home fires burnin'

Rejoining the blog chain, Terri asked: Do you focus on one project at a time, or do you have many irons in the fire at any given moment?

To that I say, weeeelll, it's a little of both.

Regular readers who visit here know I've been revising Long Road for almost two years now, but I don't expect that my next project will take nearly as long.

Since Long Road is my firstborn (in a literary sense, anyway), I've spent a lot of the revision time honing my skills, learning how to create suspense, how to weave in subplots and how to discern which scenes are necessary and which scenes are frivilous.

This is stuff I will know once I start writing Whisper, which at this point I'm merely researching, outlining and establishing characters. (BTW: I have an official name for Whisper's MC. Anyone care to guess? Think child of hippie-chick, but not as far out as Dweezil and Moon Zappa.)

I've purposely prevented myself from writing sections for my latest project for two reasons.

Number one: I don't want to drain the creative juices I need to see Long Road through to the end.

Number two: The longer I wait to write, the more vivid the scenes become. The more vivid the scenes become, the easier they burst forth when I do sit down to write. (Kind of like when the bell rings and the kids come rushing out of the school.)

The only issue I have with irons in the fire -- and this is pretty teensy-weensy -- is I have a tendency to start reading several different manuscripts, books or stories at once.

I'm a slow reader (hey, I like to soak up the words like meat in a marinade), so when people ask me if I liked something that I was reading a week ago, my face turns a couple shades of red as I admit I'm only halfway done.

Fortunately, those are the only irons melting in my fire.

How's yours? Christine is up next. And don't forget to see what Sandra had burnin' on her blog.


B.J. Anderson said...

I'm the same way with books. I start a couple at a time and take a bit longer to get through them. :D

Anonymous said...

I totally understand the time it takes with the first one. Amazing how much we learn in this process - isn't it?

TerriRainer said...

You and I are in the same boat, so to speak, but I quit revising and moved on. With each post I am becoming more sure that I need to revisit my first and FOCUS!

Thanks Kat, and LOVE the picture.

:) Terri

Cole Gibsen said...

I hear you about letting things sit in the fire. I'm a fast reader - but a sloooooooow writer, partly because of what you said. I like to get the juices cooking!

ElanaJ said...

I really need to pull some of my irons OUT of the fire. I like your approach, Kat.

Michelle McLean said...

With books I am a one iron in the fire type girl...mostly. There have been exceptions to that, but for the most part, I sit down and finish one book before starting another. But I am a fast reader, so this generally isn't a problem :D

KM Wilsher said...

What a great pic!
Nice post. I am such a slow reader. . .or I don't have a lot of time to read. So at 15 min a day it takes a while to read a book :)

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm kinda crazy when it comes to writing. I'll finish writing a novel (the skeleton) then go on to edit a different WIP (that I've written a skeleton and maybe fleshed out a little) for a while.

Then, go back to the one I'd just finished...sounds crazy, but I love it. It keeps the juices flowing to be writing all the time.

As for reading. I slip that in as much as I can. I'm good for a couple novels a month--depending on the novels. Like, right now, I'm plowing through the Charlaine Harris novels at least 2 a week. Only two left....whoo - hoo.

Anyway. Great post!

Sarah Bromley said...

I like your approach and the idea of working on one project, resisting temptation to write a new one in order to let the scenes grow stronger. I don't know that I have that kind of willpower. :)

Annie Louden said...

Ugh, I take months to read a book anymore. And I have like 20 started. I didn't used to be this way, before the Internet ruined me.

I wish scenes would grow vivid in my head as I'm waiting. If I'm not in the act of writing, I tend to forget it all.

Sandra said...

Sounds like you're managing things so that both books will turn out to be strong!

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Great answer and you made a good point. I've going back to working on my first wip and it is a learning experience. My cutting teeth novel. I like your #2 comment about waiting longer to write. There are times I've written the scene a half dozen times in my head so by the time I sit down to write it, it does just burst out.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oooh, I am doing the same thing with my next WIP, just slowly letting the scenes develop inside my head.

I actually cannot read several things at once - I'm more of a gobble one book down at a time type person;)

Shaun Hutchinson said...

I'm totally with you on reading more than one thing at a time. It's not uncommon for me to be reading half a dozen books at once. It's nice to know I'm not the only one :)