You know the process. You finish your first draft, give it some time to settle down, and then you go right back to the start and begin with the rewrite/overhauling edits (delete as applicable). You then get that done, polish it up, then look to book two once you know that all the plot craters have been filled, avoided or tactfully leapt over.
What you aren’t told to expect is book two to come sprinting into your imagination, parking itself and saying “Listen to meeeee!”.
It’s like birthing a particularly needy child.
I tried to ignore it. I tried to scribble a few contextual notes in the form of vomit writing. I went for a long stomp through some fields – something which always clears my head and lets the ideas go dance through my brain – and when I came back, this new character was still there.
I know. How on EARTH anyone is meant to juggle two novels, albeit in the same universe, simultaneously is beyond me. I can only write this character’s side of the next book because so much of my other POV is going to be changed as I rewrite my WIP. And this still did not impede the thoughts.
So I’ve started book two.
Well, part of it.
New document open, new ideas being splurged on the page. And it’s in first person (everything else is in third person – this character is so stubborn I’m even changing POV for them!) so I get to experience this particular character’s every thought. I’d forgotten what I miss when I write in third person.
This is something I have always sucked at. Categorically and without doubt. So I’m sticking with the vomit. (I talk about vomit writing a lot – see HERE). I’m deliberately vomiting bits of narrative on to the page without any cohesion because that will come afterwards. And when my new character has finished explaining why he’s sulky and hacked off at his mother for being a know-it-all power-hungry sorceress (kids, eh?) I switch back to some rewriting.
Luckily this is a brand new character. The others are patiently waiting for me to finish book one. The only character that is referenced from this new POV doesn’t speak yet so I don’t have to worry about how she feels until I sift through this initial character vomit at a later stage. I guess the secret to writing one novel while rewriting and editing another is to make sure there is minimal character crossover so they aren’t trying to occupy the same space in your head.
I can’t imagine how it’d be having them all in my head simultaneously. They’d probably all stand there judging me or something.
So in the interests of keeping up with it all, you might want to use these strategies…
- If you’re a playlist kind of person, stick to two different playlists. I’m at the ‘new’ stage with this character who, it turns out, has very different tastes when it comes to music compared to the rest of my characters. I’m going to have to widen my instrumental repertoire…
- Two different documents. I was frantically typing notes at the bottom of my current draft one document. Succumb to the knowledge you’ve started a new draft and treat it accordingly.
- Read lots in between! I’m bouncing between Crow Moon by Anna McKerrow, The Bone Queen by Alison Croggon, and Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas. With such a mix of fantasy styles I’ll read something different to me but by not sticking to one book I’m also avoiding my natural pitfall (especially after any Croggon or Maas) which is to slide towards imitating a style rather than writing in my style.
Whine about it lots on twitter.Okay, so maybe discount that last one.
Please share any tips for juggling multiple drafts in the comments 🙂