Monday, April 13, 2009

torn between two novels and feeing like a fool

I seem to be torn between two novels and have no idea what to do.  I have about 150 pages on both. I want to do both--I will do both, but I have no idea which one to do first. Both ideas are compelling to me, but as I work on one, I start to have my usual "what the hell am I doing" moment, and then I shift to the other.  And back again.  But I worry, does this shifting mean that I am not immersing myself deeply enough into the characters? Is it okay to be waffling like this back and forth as long as I am writing?

Clea Simon just told me to keep writing, that the novel will reveal itself to me, but I cannot get either one into any sort of line and I am baffled what to do.  Do others write two novels at once? I wonder if this is an outgrowth of my also writing scripts as I write my novels--a frustrating new ability. 

How do you ever choose???? Both sets of pages are far too messy to show anyone, so I don't even have that option yet.  Should I show people I trust two synopsis and ask which one sounds most compelling at this moment? Or should I just keep writing and see what happens? 


Jeff Lyons said...


The truth is you're always writing multiple things at the same time. You do it, we all do it. Nobody really writes one thing at a time. It's just the illusion we focus on one thing. So... just let it be. Keep writing both until one demands your attention. One will. Or not. Maybe they both want to be written in tandem... happens to me with scripts all the time. One will lift up and grab you by the throat at some point and then you'll know. Until then, just keep moving. This is a good problem to have.

And... who's got the gun to your head that you have to decide this anytime soon? :)

J :)

Caroline said...

Very reassuring. Thank you, Jeff. I feel a bit less like tearing through a box of chocolate cookies.

Clea Simon said...

what Jeff said!

Jessica Keener said...

Jeff has wise words.