Manuscript Monogamy – are you an adulterous author?

Many authors advise writing only one manuscript at a time, so you can completely immerse yourself in the world you’ve created and the lives of the characters. This ‘Manuscript Monogamy’ makes sense, however in reality while writing a manuscript you may be editing another, and planning a future story simultaneously.

But what about writing more than one manuscript at a time? Not writing one while planning another, but actually writing scenes in one story, and then writing scenes in another story? In other words, being an Adulterous Author (gasp!).

Are you guilty of this? And if so, is it really a sin, or is it possible that two different stories can be written simultaneously and still have a convincing plot and strong characters? Who knows, but I think it depends on the writer. If you’re the sort of writer who’s able to switch your mind easily from one story to another and stay true to the characters, then I say go for it – go ahead and cheat on manuscript number one with manuscript number two, and even (heaven forbid) manuscript number three! Just don’t tell your characters 😉

But, if the thought of this horrifies you and you think being the monogamous type is the right way to go, then repeat after me; “I (insert name here), promise to love, honour, and obey my current manuscript, till ‘the end’ do us part.” Sure, you can jot down some simple ideas for other stories as they arise, but be warned; one thing may lead to another and you could find yourself in a compromising position at third base when you only intended to go to first. Try explaining that to the revenge-driven gun-wielding action hero you created in manuscript number one.

Anyway, what do you think? What works for you? I personally am filled to the brim with ideas I want to pursue, so it would be detrimental to my family and friends, and possibly anyone within a five kilometre radius of my house, if I didn’t at least do some work on these other ideas while writing my current manuscript. I would quite likely explode if I didn’t. Having said that, I try to work mainly on one manuscript, but allow myself to write scenes in another when the inspiration strikes. Inspiration is such a random and beautiful thing, and like the Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston movie, sometimes it’s good to ‘Just Go With It’.



About Juliet Madison

Humorous & Heartwarming Fiction ~ Experience the magic of life and love...

Posted on October 29, 2011, in General, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I’m MOSTLY monogamous. But often near the end of a MS I find myself thinking of the next one and writing down snippets that just come to me. Great post 🙂

  2. I can always write notes and even short scenes of another new novel while in the midst of the main WIP, but I can’t juggle two serious, full on efforts at the same time or they both stall out! Liked the clever take on this topic, thanks!

  3. When I was working on Lethal Inheritance I thought I would never be able to work on anything else apart from the sequels while still working on it, BUT circumstances (ie waiting and waiting for my agent to find a publisher) and my overactive immagination sent me somewhere else. Well not entirely somewhere else, the novellas I’m writing are still set in the same world, but I’m working on 2 of them at the same time now. One is in the planning stage and the other is about to be revised after being laid in the bottom drawer for 6 weeks while I finished my short stories & learned about indie publishing etc…. but also during this time, the final scene of a completely different story that’s been in the back of my mind for ages came to me as I was drifting off to sleep (isn’t it always the way!) and I wrote it down.

    I’m finding that I can slip in and out of different stories wuite easily, but I could never work on 2 first drafts or revise 2 stories at the same time, those 2 parts of the process are too all encompassing. Apart from when I’m writing a first draft, I think I could edit 2 different stories at the same time, or edit one and revise another, because editing uses a different part of your brain.

    • Sometimes it’s hard to be monogamous when your overactive imagination has other ideas. But two first drafts at the same time is a bit tricky, and I think you’re right; writing, editing, and planning use different parts of the brain so it is easier to multitask them than the actual writing process.

  4. I’m a hussy… pure and simple….BUT I do love your mantra 🙂 and at the moment I really need to practice monogamy…thanks for your post- it came right at the time I needed it!

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