by Lucy Marsden
I can't walk and chew gum at the same time, so I can't imagine what I was thinking when I took on that second story.
Actually, I tell a lie.
My critique partner dared me to do it, and I was feeling frustrated with my Work In Progress at the moment, and the temptation to escape my soul-searing lack of imagination* was overwhelming—that's what I was thinking.
You know how it is when you've got a story idea in your hand, bright and shiny as a new penny. It's all fun and possibility. It's researching, and running amok on Pinterest for pictures of the setting and characters, and putting together soundtracks for your hero and heroine, and not worrying at all about how you're to tell the damn thing. It's my favorite time during a story, before I feel as though the lovely, shimmering thread of it has been snagged, and knotted, and suspiciously stained, and generally pulled all out of shape by clumsy handling.**
So when, as I say, my critique partner issued her challenge, I leapt into all of the above with a gladsome heart, only to find...
My first story wouldn't let me go. Little by little, despite my bouts of frustration and heart-felt profanity, I had turned a corner with it. My characters were becoming real to me; they were pushing for what they needed, pushing back against each other, and the story was truly going somewhere.
And I decided that I didn't want to walk away from that to chase the shiny, not when I could feel my first story beginning to tell me what it wanted to be. So I let the second story go—not forever; it sends me postcards now and again, and points me to pertinent articles in travel magazines—it'll be waiting for me when the time is right. But for now, I'm choosing not to split my focus.
What about you? Have you been energized and inspired by the challenge of juggling multiple manuscripts at the same time, or discombobulated by the necessity of jumping back and forth?
Lucy Marsden is a romance writer living in New England. When she’s not backstage at a magic show or crashing a physics picnic, she can be found knee-deep in the occult collection of some old library, or arguing hotly about Story.
* Cue the violins.