Working on TOO MANY THINGS – Sound Familiar?

I have a rule – when I hit the next to last book in a contracted series, I immediately force myself to start plotting the next series. Mind you, at this point I’ve already been thinking/worrying/obsessing about it for a while. Because we romance authors don’t get the luxury of churning out a single book a year anymore (SO sad I missed those days. I mean, I’m sad that I missed the days of limo and champagne book tours, but I’m more sad about having to work so super duper fast). When I first pubbed in 2010, I did write 1 book a year. I thought that was quite the accomplishment. Boy, was I wrong!

So although I’m contracted through 2017, it is time to take the next strategic career leap. Not because it is a New Year, but because I’ll need to have the next series sold by the time I start writing the last book in my current series. And that brings us to my whine rant topic for today. Some authors – ones who are by far more awesome than me – can work on more than one project at a time. I try very religiously to not do that. I never want to risk any duplication in voice, or god forbid, dialogue.

I’m literally 7,000 words into book 3 of my Naked Men series. Still somewhat hazy about who the H/H are and getting a feel for them. But now my attention is split. Because last weekend I started sketching out the new series. A whole new set of four heroes, four heroines, which equals eight plot arcs, eight different personalities, eight different conflicts, and to top it all of, an arc for the series. My goal is to come up with blurbs for these books in the next week. I thought I had all the characters defined.

And then I thought about the PNR series I started right before I sold to Carina. Thought about how I already have 40k written in it, and it would be so much easier to shop than writing 20k from scratch on this other series in the midst of writing my, uh, contracted book. I pulled out all my notes. Skimmed through the whole WIP. Something I haven’t though at all about since 1/17/12. What did I discover? That one of the heroes in that series was an ex-soldier turned cook. Which is exactly the same thing I had just come up with as a brilliant and fresh idea for this other, ostensibly brand new series.

Crap. Crap on toast. I didn’t even remember that. If, in a perfect world, both these series sell, it would be either simultaneously or back to back. Either way, it’d be impossible to leave that in both books. I’m convinced it happened because of my split concentration. I was running so many possible plot threads through my mind, while also trying to concentrate on solidifying the new-to-me characters in my current book, that my brain folded in on itself. Yes. That is a thing.

Do I stop plotting now? Nope. I’m stuck in this timeline of getting things done. I just have to be ever more vigilant about keeping ideas original. Checking everything three times. Not to mention doing my very best to do as little dual writing as possible. How do you guys do it? Just hold your breath and hope for the best? Never cross plotting schedules no matter what? Help!


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