What do you do if you get a better idea for a novel while you’re writing the one you’re on? Should you go write the new one, or should you show a little persistence and finish the old?
Ron posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page:
After months of research and Snowflaking I started writing my first novel, an action oriented spy story based on true events with a lot of twists in the plot. I enjoy writing it, but a new story has emerged in my head and it really wants to get out. It’s about a recently divorced father trying to get a grip on his life, but falling in love with his teenage son’s girlfriend. No exploding helicopters here.
Though I’m neither teenage nor divorced, I really enjoy snowflaking this new story and all the Powerful Emotional Experiences I can put into it.
My dilemma and question for you is: should I finish my spy story first or should I go for the second, possibly more inspired story?
Randy sez: There are a couple of factors you should consider here before you abandon Story #1 for Story #2:
- Author readiness. Just how close to getting published are you? (You might want to read my article on the publishing roadmap before you answer.) If you’re a Freshman or a Sophomore, then your first novel is very unlikely to get published. So there’s no real point in switching to a new novel. Save it for later and finish the one you’re on now.
- Story quality. Just how much better is this new idea than the one you’re working on? It sounds like an interesting idea, with shades of American Beauty and various other movies and novels thrown in, but unless it is staggeringly better than the story you’re writing now, I’d say you should stick with the one you’re on. You don’t want to get into the habit of abandoning every good idea you ever have as soon as a new one comes along. If you do, then you’ll never finish anything. Finishing is always a good idea unless you’re working on a story that you already know is hopeless.
So Ron, unless you’re an advanced writer AND this new idea is amazingly better than the old one, I’d say to put it in the bank and save it for your next story. That’ll give you some motivation to finish the one you’re on.
I have an “idea file” that has several different ideas for books in various stages of composting. This guarantees that I’ll never run out of ideas.
What do my Loyal Blog Readers think? Have any of you ever abandoned one novel for another? Why did you decide to switch? What was the result? Post a comment here and tells us all about it.
I’ve been out of town twice in the last two weeks. The first time I went to Houston to teach a one-day conference for the Northwest Houston RWA. The second time I went to Denver to do a similar one-day conference for the Heart of Denver Romance Writers. Both weekends were great fun and I met a lot of new people. I got to hang out with my friend Margie Lawson and I met several of my Loyal Blog Readers. So it was wonderful, but also exhausting.
I’m glad to be home now for the rest of the year. I don’t foresee much travel during the next several months. Which means I’ll have a bit more time to blog. August through October are always my busy season.
If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer in public on this blog, hop on over to my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page and submit your question. I’ll answer them in the order they come in.