Monday, May 9, 2011

Ping Pong


Okay, I’m really dating myself if I tell you this was the first video game I knew, growing up. Atari Ping Pong. I wasn’t any good at it.

However, I’ve recently had success at ping-ponging WIPs. I’ve got two projects going right now – one at 16k words and the other at40k words. And somehow, working on them alternately – chapter by chapter -- has improved my productivity.

Which is a good thing, because I felt like I was spinning my wheels a little this winter. With a full time teaching job, my writing time is limited, and sometimes I forced it, so as not to waste a single minute. And forcing your writing is never a good idea.

I’m a lot more successful if I don’t start writing until I have a chapter all worked out in my mind. But now, with two stories going simultaneously, I can put a chapter for one of them down on paper, while planning out the next chapter of the other story in my head.

On a good week, I’ve been able to write one chapter of each. This is not going to be one of those weeks, though. (Thanks a lot, stomach flu. That was a helluva Mother’s Day gift.)

On the other hand, when I make revisions on a completed manuscript, I turn myself completely over to that story. Nothing gets in the way – no other WIPs, no television, no books. Total immersion.

How about you? Do you ping pong? Or do you totally commit yourself to one project at a time?

6 comments:

  1. I thought I could do that--until my agent looked at some revisions and was, like, "dude, this is not your MC's voice." I guess I'd muddled some stuff from working on two at a time. So ... I guess I need to do one at a time.

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  2. Pong. Wow!! :)

    I've thought of working on two projects at the same time. Hmm...let me ask you. Does it ever get confusing or are you afraid you'll have one idea for a scene that could work for both WIPs??

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  3. I commit to one project at a time. However, when taking a break from one, I'll work on a different one. But that usually involves me pre-planning a project when I need a break from editing another one. :D

    I try not to edit and write two separate projects at the same time because then it gets confusing with the voice.

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  4. hi miss dianne! yikes! sorry goy got the flu. ack! for sure that a yucky moms day thing to get. for writing i tried writing two and doing a edit on one all at the same time. my brain got all messed up and my time got messed up and so did my home work. now im just doing one thing and that editing that one. now my brain feels better. ha ha. i hope you feel better real soon.
    ...hugs from lenny

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  5. Wow, it looks like (so far) I'm the only person crazy enough to bounce back and forth between projects. I'll say that I haven't worried much about messing up the voice of the stories -- they are so different and these are only first drafts anyway.

    Now, when I dig into revisions, it's an entirely different situation. I live and breathe the story, the character, and the voice -- so there's no flitting off to some other WIP. When I'm in the midst of revisions ... let's just say my husband is lucky if I call him by his own name instead of the name of the male romantic lead! LOL!

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  6. Wow! I bow to your uncanny ability to go back and forth between projects. For now, I'm determined to finish editing my WIP before embarking on anything new. (correction: this blogging stuff is kinda new for me) But with several different ideas vying for top billing in my head, I may try working on more than one of them at a time after my WIP is finished. (hopefully, for the LAST time) Dunno, though. It sounds a lot like juggling, and I'm such a klutz, not even "Juggling for Klutzes" can help. So, we'll see.

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