Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Think before you Jump!

If you're going to stop one project to jump into another...think about if first.  Obviously, right?  But make sure it's the right thing to do at that time.

About six months ago, I was in the middle of one WIP when an idea for another book smacked me in the side of the head.  It was an awesome idea and it Wouldn't. Leave. Me. Alone.  I had to write it down.  Sadly, that meant putting a hold on WIP #1.

Biggest mistake--I didn't write all the important points down before I switched.  Ugh!

So, if you are going to put a writing freeze on a project that you know you want to go back to, here's my must-do list before you make the change.

#1.  Write down everything you need to know about the main plot line.

#2.  Write down everything you need to know about the subplots.

#3.  Write down the tie-in connection to any foreshadowing.

#4.  Give a full description about each character, especially how they act and why they act the way they do.

#5.  Record anything that you need to about the setting.

#6.  If you have any magical tendencies or other paranormal strangenesses (yes, I just used that word), be sure to write them ALL down.

Because if you don't, you'll be just like I was when I finally went back to mine.  Lost.  Totally and completely.  Even after I reread the first half of the book, there were still important pieces missing.  But, knowing that I wanted to finish it, even if that meant adapting to my mistake, it was still important enough to me that I am doing it.

Have any of you done this?  Is there anything else you would add to the must-do list?


  1. I've never done this.. but that sounds awful!!! I hope you figure it all out hun!

  2. Yikes. I'm sorry and hope that you'll be able to figure out the lost plot points!

    As a perenial WiP-jumper, I cannot agree with this enough. A lot of times, after jumping novels for a few months, I returned to older works that I thought I've internalized only to realize I can't even remember the major plot points.

  3. Great points. I've been pulled form writing before. I try to jot down things and leave them for later. That way I'm not so lost upon my return. I'm sorry this happened to you. I'd suggest reading over what you'd written, it might spark your memory. Good luck!

  4. I have abandoned one for another. Although, my experience was a little different. I deleted (on purpose) most of my first WiP then I started writing WiP 2...the characters from WiP 1 came back and charged forward with a better plot so that is what I am currently working on. I needed a break and to hit the delete button. I hope you get back to the first and can get through the missing peices! For me, that's exactly what happened once I had distance

  5. This happens to me all the time! I start working on one idea, and almost instantly I start thinking of new ideas or ways to improve others. It's the most frustrating thing EVER! It's like the polar opposite of writer's block. The best advice I've gotten (at least until you wrote this post) was from Dan Wells, author of the I Am Not A Serial Killer books; he said to write down the important points of any new ideas you have right away, then go back to working on your main WIP and don't think about the new idea anymore. (He acknowledged that it's harder to do than say, but he says you get used to it eventually).

    Great post today. Thanks!

  6. I've definitely done this before. It's like a slap to the face. I can't remember where I was going with the plot, or character motivations or anything else. It's so frustrating. After doing this a few times, I write everything down now, as soon as I think of a new story. My notebook I take with me everywhere has dozens of stories, and what characters go where, what magical strangeness they have, and what the main point of the story is. It's nice to feel organized! :)

  7. Oh no! I'm sorry this happened. I haven't allowed myself to switch midWIP, but I know how you feel being pulled in another direction. So frustrating.

  8. Thanks everyone for your concern. I've reread the part from before and have added almost 20000 more words to it. Even though I still can't remember everything, I hope to finish it by the end of this month. And maybe, just maybe, it will all come back to me before then :)

    At least now you all know not to do what I did!

  9. I can completely relate to this. Thanks for the advice.

  10. I've never done it, but I've worried that I'd have to, and not remember all the little threads going on in the plot and with the characters. Good idea to jot all that crucial stuff down. Even stuff you THINK you'll remember. I'd be paranoid I wouldn't remember, even the supposedly obvious stuff. :)

  11. Wow. Perfect timing. Two days ago I got a new idea and it still hasn't left me yet, and today I've started to flesh it out. I'll have to write down what's happening with WIP #1, even if I do plan to outline it again. Thanks for the heads up! :)


Thanks so much for visiting! I appreciate your comments and feedback.