This isn’t about stories featuring dangling parts. If you googled that word and came here, this post is not for you. It does feature the word testicles, but only once.
Now that I’ve firmly buried the lead, let’s begin.
What do I mean when I talk about dangling stories? Basically, stories for which I have written a considerable amount of content before dropping them in favour of working on something else. I currently have two such novel projects, both of which I really want to finish. Letting projects dangle like that is not a good thing, but I’ve done it many times before and I know I’ll do it again.
I always have good reasons. I stopped work on Armagged-Dawn (sequel to Apoca-Lynn, on sale now!) so I could devote all my energy to finishing a short story for an anthology. I plan to leap straight back into Dawn, but I’ve got to get back in that story mood first. I stopped right in the middle of a fight between two main characters, and it won’t be too problematic to get back into their mindset and keep going.
Other stories are not so easy to return to, but very easy to drop. It took me three years to write The Cupid War because I kept getting distracted by other ideas. Some stories are a lot easier to write than others – the funnier it is, the easier it flows for me. Cupid was more ‘grown up’ than Apoca-Lynn or The Five Demons You Meet in Hell, and didn’t give me quite the same buzz.
And yet, I was determined to get back to it. I knew Cupid would be something special. I’m delighted I was able to jump back in each time and keep it going – conventional writer wisdom states that stories can go stale if you leave them out for a while. It really is hard to limit myself to just one story at a time – ideas for new and more exciting stories keep spurting from my head.
And those of you who googled Really Hard and Spurting From My Head, bad luck and try again.
You see? I’m trying to write about an important writing topic, but I really want to be making dick jokes.
I’ve accepted now that multiple stories at the same time is just how I write. It has worked for me thus far, but newer authors should figure out what they are doing first. The danger with having too many stories on the go is that you might never finish any of them. Nobody cares very much that you wrote half a story, for example, or the first line of a poem, or Act 1 of a screenplay, no matter how good it might be. If you let creative projects dangle, eventually they’ll fall off. You need to grab that dangling bit and harden it with creative effort, then thrust those efforts repeatedly into the hole in your plot until you bring it to a satisfying climax!
There, got another dick joke in. 😉