Friday, July 20, 2012

Working on Two Books at Once: Advantages and Disadvantages

I had what I thought was a stroke of genius when I decided to start researching my next book while I finish up with Sacred Fire. Turns out there are a lot of advantages to working on two books at once, but there are also disadvantages.


Recently, I got stuck on a part in Sacred Fire I didn't know how to fix. The best thing for me was to take a step back and give myself some time to think about it, but that meant my whole day was shot. 

I twiddled my thumbs trying to decide what to do when I remembered a book I got for Christmas, "A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau." I spent two fun-filled days reading that book, taking notes, making time lines, and when the two days were over, I finally decided what I wanted to do with Sacred Fire.

Even after going back to Sacred Fire, it's nice after a few long hours of revision to switch over to reading a book. (I think research is a million times easier than revision.) It gives variety to my day and makes it more productive.


The next time I sat down to work on Sacred Fire, all I could think about was Voodoo Queen. 

The first book has taken buckets of my blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention five years of my life, and has caused me much frustration. The second, on the other hand, is new and shiny. Voodoo Queen and I don't have a history together. I can have a fresh start.

Starting my new book is more alluring than finishing my old one because it's my escape when times get tough. This is bad because I don't want to escape; I want to finish Sacred Fire and get it into the hands of an agent already.

Working on two books sometimes makes me feel like my head's going to explode. Most of the writing process takes place when your mind wanders - while doing dishes, driving, lying awake in bed. When I work on two books at once, my brain works twice as hard.

Do you sometimes work on two books at once, or do you strictly stick to one at a time?


  1. I've tried working on two at once, but I find that I just don't have enough focus or brain power to do that, lol. I started writing my second book when my first one went out to CPs but I haven't looked at since the first one came back to me.

  2. I'm always working on more than one project.
    I've found I can't really finish something unless I know what I'm working on next, so they tend to bleed together a little.

  3. I'm tackling something like that right now, revising two books and have a third shiny idea that is begging for attention. It can be quite the brain conundrum, but I try to attack the thing that is giving me the most bang for my muse so when I get to the other, my mind has had some time away and I have some fresher perspective on things I was struggling with before.

    Wishing you the best as you work on Sacred Fire and Voodoo Queen.

  4. I always work on one at a time - but that's because like you I want to get it finished and out into the world. I love the first flush of working on a new story though. When I get a new story idea I get the bones of it down on paper and put it in a folder for another day. At least I know the heart of the idea is there, and it's an incentive to finish the WIP.

  5. Even if I didn't have a full-time job, I could do only one book at a time, for the reasons you mentioned. When you start trying to sell "Sacred Fire," however, working on a second book will be a lifeline and lessen the anxiety as you await responses from your queries.

  6. I don't think I've ever worked on two books at once. I haven't touched my current novel since March, due to needing a convincing ending, and I've been writing short stories - but that's not exactly switching between the two. I think my head would be too full of one set of characters to do justice.

  7. I am in the process now of writing two books. I have learned to step away, whenever I run into a blank wall with either one and just rest..allowing the story to come to me. Whichever one speaks first, I know it is the one I will work on. I am making good progress.The books will be completed when they have nothing left to say.(P.S.)If I grow frustrated and try to rush the writing, I then lose my focus and creativity.

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