The Perils of Multiple Works in Progress

I have developed somewhat of a completion problem when it comes to my longer stories.  I have four half completed novels or novel-length projects.  I’ve turned into somewhat of a writer with ADHD unfortunately.  There also seems to be this magic point somewhere in the 25,000 – 30,000 word range where I bog down.  As another blogger described it, that seems to be the point where the beginning is too far in the past and the end is too far in the future to be able to see either one.  I also find that, with each of these works in progress, I begin writing them in a certain style and I can carry it on for a certain amount of time and then I find myself worrying that I am no longer maintaining that style so I grow frustrated and wonder if continuing on is worth it.

So, I move to another story … and get to the same point and, well, history repeats itself.  That has now happened with each of these four works.  The biggest problem is that I really, really like each of these pieces and I want to find the path forward to finishing each of them.

Here’s another problem.  Each story is told in a different way.  Story one is a collection of interconnected short stories.  Story two is told in the present tense with a set of different events and stories winding to a thrilling climax.  Story three is told in the first person from one character’s perspective, tracing the history of his life to where it all ends.  This story is my effort to write a story as poetically and elegantly as I can.  Story four is my most recent effort.  A story told in first person from the perspective of multiple characters.

I’ve been working on story four almost exclusively for the past year and I have bogged down on it.  I started thinking about story three this past week and wrote a bit on it a couple of days ago.  Yesterday and today, I started thinking about the portion that I’m working on and came up with a way to really add some ooomph to it.  In the context of my last post here, writing it vertically instead of horizontally.  I haven’t actually put the thought into words on a pager, but as I think about it in my head, I find myself thinking about it in terms of how I have written story four, rather than story three, which is written in a much crisper way than story three.

So, yeah, I need to try to figure out how to not only change my mental framework from story to story, but also to make sure that I don’t lose the style for each if I’m going to switch back and forth among them.

Wish me luck!!!

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About kingmidget

About the name. I was the youngest of four. Until I got to kindergarten, I didn't have much to say. All I had to do to get what I wanted was to point, and a sibling, or loving parent, would fulfill my request. As a result, my father coined the nickname -- King Midget. At least that's the way the story goes. I am a father, husband, friend, and lover, writer, runner, pizza maker, baker, and many other things. What I am not is my occupation. It is my job that pays the bills and provides for my family. But, it does not define me.
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10 Responses to The Perils of Multiple Works in Progress

  1. sknicholls says:

    Best of luck with that. I find it a great challenge to work on more than one piece at a time. I’m currently working on an important short story. I’ve put it in front of my three novel projects. Talk about stalling…I’ve rewritten the beginning about six times. I have the second scene, but my opening keeps evolving. I think is is more difficult than a novel. More to say with fewer words.

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    I’m a one-project-at-a-time kind of gal. I can work on other things if I have to (speaking in general terms, too, not just writing), but I prefer to put all my focus into one thing until it’s finished. Life doesn’t always work that way, but so far for my writing, I’ve mostly stuck to one thing except when I have to go back to a previous work and do some further edits. But plenty of writers do what you do, and even though it may take longer to finish one thing, you have so much more work product in the wings than the rest of us.

  3. I do wish you luck! I have a similar problem – I’m trying to finish off a book and I have got to a point in the plot where it really doesn’t hang together properly, and I don’t know how to retrofit it so it does! It’s very difficult!

  4. I know that peril. I’m going back and trying to finish some of my WIPs. Good luck with everything in 2015!
    -David

  5. I wish you luck! I get bored with my longer novels. But I find if I go to bed thinking about the story, sometimes the next step becomes apparent to me in a dreamy sort of state.

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