A new year & a new project, but which to choose?

About Writing

Jan 01

One of the issues I find myself struggling with on a semi regular basis is the choice of a new project.

I’m a writer. I love my characters. I love my books – at least when I’m not sick of looking at them from editing. Few of my books are stand alone. Like with the new Magic’s Tears (Tears of the Masters series), it came as a wholly new idea. Excited by the project I plunged in and scribbled out the first draft in delirious fashion. With it done, it goes in the drawer for a few weeks, comes out for an edit run and then heads off to advance readers.

But what do I do while it sits in the drawer?

Easy. I’m a  writer. I write. The question of what to write next is the problem. Hot from the climactic ending of Magic’s Tears or a similar novel, I’m immersed in my latest story, plot and characters. The urge to move on to the next book of the series is extremely strong.

So what’s the problem?

I haven’t edited it yet. The first editing pass through a novel will end up making changes, sometimes massive changes, that cause ripples in the story like a rock in a pond. In the amount of time between putting book one in the drawer and taking it out again, I can usually finish or nearly finish its sequel – a sequel which hasn’t taken into account the changes I haven’t made in the first one yet. Okay, so I stay away from the sequel, right?

Easier said than done. If I manage to stay away, the next problem arises. I can’t sell sequels until the after the first book in the series sells. So my advanced readers, dare I say fans of my work, languish in a special hell waiting for me to write the next book in the series while I explore writing new series to give me another book to send out for publish. Any time I take away from new series books to write a sequel means fewer novels shopping around the publishers looking for a home. Just the same I want to write those sequels. I want to see how the story goes as much as my advance readers.

As the number of series on my desk grow, the number of sequels I’m behind on grows in bounds. I suppose I could write out whole series, but the editing and revisions would be hellish. What do I do about series like Scion Alistari where there is no planned end?

I guess the solution is to go back and forth from new books to first sequels until something sells and makes additional sequels marketable, but I’m open for suggestions.

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