I hadn’t really planned on writing two books at once this summer. Originally, my goal was to just work on Challenges of Honor. But I had about 15k words in on Klone’s Folly, and since I wanted to have it as a short novel to shop around to various presses…I decided that perhaps it was different enough from Challenges that I could work on Klone as a break from Challenges. Klone has also suffered from being put aside for other projects and I simply wanted to get the dang thing off of the hard drive and out into the world, whether as a submission project or a self-publication project. If I clear it off of the schedule, then I can get to more projects on the list.
I also wanted to find out if it was possible for me to do this sort of writing multi-tasking.
So after about a month of doing this, I’m finding the results to be…interesting. As I anticipated, when I hit a writing wall in one book, switching to the other gets me another 500-1000 words before I’m done for the day. Working on two books doesn’t seem to negatively impact my overall writing totals–I’m averaging about 2x the amount of work on Challenges that I am in Klone, but am roughly at about the same point in the book in both places. I’m shooting for a rough draft of about 60k-80k with Klone and about 90k-100k with Challenges.
Meanwhile, I am finding that yes, with two different types of books, it is possible for me to multi-task like this. Klone is a first person POV, somewhat of an urban fantasy in a rural setting. My current quick summary is that it is Frankenstein’s Monster meets Jane Eyre in contemporary NE Oregon with Sasquatch and other supernaturals and music festivals (though the opening is the only music festival piece so far; I may need to throw another one in). I’ve been going back and forth as to whether it slides into a romance, and I think it might, which would lead to the music festival reprise. My main character Reeni has just revealed herself to be a fire elemental. Hijinks ensue.
Challenges is straightforward epic fantasy, with two third person leads who are strong females with kids–and dealing with Gods, magic gone awry, a dying strong female elder, and all sorts of slight-of-hand political games involving the Gods, an ambitious colonial empire that wants to recapture a rebel colony, and all sorts of stuff. I’m writing a lot of active female leads, not so many men. Hey, it’s a self-pub project–part of my Goddess’s Honor series–and a direct sequel to Pledges of Honor. There is a market for it, albeit not a huge one. My Goddess’s Honor books and short stories keep selling at a decent rate, which makes me happy.
Both books seem to be nourishing each other. I hit the wall on one, and find that winding down with the other book seems to free up my mind to work on the first book reasonably well the next day. It also appears to be less mentally fatiguing than devoting the same amount of time and word count to just one book. Most typically, I’ll get in about 2k on Challenges, then swap over to Klone and get in 500-1000 words for the day without flogging myself along. The switch also seems to work well for summer writing, where I might be breaking up my writing day to do horse things or other outdoor stuff early on in the day, then writing during the heat of the day. I’m also finding it easier to write after dark and later into the evening.
But most of all, I don’t feel as hammered as I would if I were working on both books.
Interestingly, too, both books have seriously jumped the rails with regard to my detailed outlines. In a good way, as I’m throwing in more complications and shoring up plot holes in the process.
Will I do it again? Well, I have other, older projects that need to be dusted off. Now that I’ve finished the Netwalk Sequence, I need to get to these other ideas that have been sitting around. At last count I had about 9 book-level projects I wanted to work on. I don’t know if this concept will work on two books that I’m starting from scratch as it really helped that I was picking up on Klone after I’d gotten some work done on it already.
But that may be the next adventure of a hybrid writer.