P. D. Wright

Wrighting Blog

Picking Your Novels

I was talking (perhaps ” grumbling” is more accurate) to töff (from FSFW) about the short story I’ve been trying to write.  The story is The Betrayal of Mihangel and my problem is the more of the story I try to write the more obvious it is that it was never meant to BE a short story.  There’s a novel worth of material – maybe even a trilogy – and every time I sit down to write I think of new ideas and concepts to throw into the plot.  It’s been driving me mad.  I have twists and turns the story can take that will make it a better read and a more realized world, but every time I try, the word count flashes through my mind and I get discouraged.

Töff, in his infinite wisdom, replied, “Yeah, but you gotta pick your novels.  You can’t write everything.”

I thought about it for a while and decided that töff’s right.  If I wrote every story that came to me I’d do nothing but write and I STILL would never feel a sense of completion.  There isn’t enough time in my life to write all the story ideas I’ve already had, let alone all the ideas that come to me as I write more and more.

It’s difficult to admit, but some ideas will never get written due to time and interest constraints.  Mihangel would have been such a story had I not decided to write a short story based off it.  Now that it’s run away with me, I realize that it can’t be a short story at all.  Since I’m already far into my first draft of Alex, it seems unlikely that Mihangel will see the light of day again until I am finished.  And then it will have to hold its own as a story idea against all the other story ideas I might want to write.

Well, Mihangel has some advantage in that it’s further along than other story ideas I have.  And I think I can finish it in one novel (though, it HAS run away with me before).  For now the project is on hiatus as I focus on finishing the first draft of my Alex project and the new short story I’ve started working on, since I still need one done by June 15th (eek…  Wish me luck).

Projects Status:

Title Length Status (estimated)
Alex Novel (rough draft) 33% complete
Ryuu Short Story (rough draft) 29% complete
Mihangel Novel (rough draft) On Hiatus

Don’t you love how my story titles are all names? Wow, all but one are guys, too. Oh well, I still hope for titles to come to me as I continue to write. I’ll leave you all with some words of wisdom from C Michael Fontes – the first words he said when I told him what my next blog post was going to be. “You can pick your friends and you can pick your novels, but you can’t pick your friends novels.”  That actually inspired me to come up with another blog post, but not for today. Maybe Wednesday. :)

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7 Responses to “Picking Your Novels”

  1. That’s a familiar problem, too many ideas and too little time. Spring Meets Winter will need to be reviewed and edited sometime, but it was more a learning novel than something that needs to be marketed. However, I was torn for a long time between The Open Door and Chimree Republic – with about 12,000 words on one and 11,000 words on the other. I wanted to work them both to completion at the same time, but that would have been difficult, so I tried to get people to tell me which one to do. In the end it was a split decision – I had to choose myself. You can’t pick a friend’s novel and they can’t pick yours.

    I can tell you this, when you finish a novel, it is a wonderful feeling. When you get to finish your second and you know it is better than your first, you start to think you can really make it. When you ponder the other characters and ideas in your head, you start hoping you will make it. If/when I get an agent, I will tell you what that feels like too. If/when I get a book deal, I won’t tell you anything because you will be a peon and beneath me. :)

  2. roh says:

    Yeah – juggling stories with the precious amount of non-work time we have is really difficult. And when they take on a life of their own (as in a short story morphing into a novel) we have little choice but to go along with it.

    I do like your new one, Ryuu. It’s very cool!

  3. Myrna Foster says:

    I know how you feel. Star Swans and Sarki started out as a short story. Then, out of all of my writing projects, I chose to finish it because it would be a stand alone novel. I really wanted to just finish something. On my second draft though though, I realized the story had a prequel and a sequel. I know that I need to get started on the prequel, but its story is separate enough (completely different characters) that I still want to finish Star Swans.

    I’m looking forward to meeting you this week.

  4. Yeah! I am inspiring (in a “pick your nose” sort of way) :)

    I have about 7 novels on the back burner right now. I constantly get ideas, then write up a brief (like two paragraphs) synopsis of it and place it in a folder on my laptop called “concept novels.”

    One day they will all be written. But now, I need to focus, too ;)

  5. Mellie says:

    Love your blog, honey – but you should name it Wrighting Blog. :)

    I’m feeling the pain of characters in my head that I can’t get out onto (electronic) paper. I barely have time to shower and eat these days, let alone write! But this can’t last forever. One day, soon, I’ll sit down and shake them out of the ends of my fingers and into my computer.

    Of course, I have no doubt that their places with be taken immediately by a new crop of new characters. In fact, I’m desperately hoping that is true!

  6. David Oliver says:

    “Yeah, but you gotta pick your novels. You can’t write everything.”

    Why can’t I write everything? If I really try and learn to write a book an hour I should be golden, right? Now I just need to learn to type 100K words an hour. Hmmm, perhaps if I had a little more Starbucks….

  7. Earl says:

    I think it’s a good idea to record your good story ideas, even to the point of starting a few pages or an outline. Maybe you’ll get back to it, maybe you won’t. I have a lot of story ideas that started out strong and sort of petered out. Some I got back to, some I didn’t. Eventually, I did commit to just the stories I was either most committed to or I thought had the most chance of breaking through into being published. Keep your character inspirations, write down as much as you think will bring you back to that world should you ever exercise your option to develop it. If your aim is to make a substantive commerical success, sure, pick your novel and develop it to its fullest, richest extent. Given what I’ve read of your work, I think that, for you, is inevitable. So yes, pick the novel you are most commited to and finish it. Get it published. You can always go back to the other good ideas. If you’ve saved enough of what inspired them in the first place you can reignite the energy that created the idea and turn it into your next finished, and eventually published work.

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