Sunday, 8 May 2011

WIP Update: Choosing The Right Project

Before I talk about my WIP, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all those who commented on my New Blogging Schedule and Life-changing News post. I created a special award last year for those who comment on my blog and if you haven't already received it, I'm bestowing it upon you now.

I would also like to thank the following bloggers for giving me awards: Huntress for the Blog On Fire Award; Madeleine for the Fearless Follower Award; and Josh Hoyt and Marian Allen for The Stylish Blogger Award. If you haven't already visited their blogs, please do - you won't be disappointed.

WIP Update:

As you now know, from the 4th September I will be taking a 12-week break from work to concentrate on my writing. I have 17 weeks to plan and prepare. My biggest question at the moment is which novel do I write? I have four novel ideas, ranging from already writing to a rough outline.

Dreaming of Sleep is science fiction. I've already written 67,000 words, so it makes sense to use the 12 weeks to complete and edit it. However, I don't have the ending yet and I am worried it is too dark. It does have a romantic element to it though, and I'm torn between keeping it dark or making it lighter.

The Devil's Song is horror, and I've written just under 18,000 words. It is also fully plotted; I know every scene and how it will end. However, the POV is first person and there are several, including an unknown POV who is revealed towards the end. Is it too complicated for my first novel? Also, I'm concerned about which genre I want to hopefully be first published in. My instinct tells me it should be science fiction, though I do love horror.

Cosmic Seed (formerly Seeds of Change) is science fiction bordering on fantasy. It deals with a dying planet and its attempts to re-populate its species using alien DNA. I have a rough plot outlined and would see this as the first in a trilogy (I have an idea what direction the second and third books would take).

The Alternate (provisional title) is an alternate reality YA novel with a twist, which is in the early stages of development. The basic premise is what if in the MC's world alternate realities are accepted as the norm? Adults can move between alternate realities with ease but children are barred from crossing over. What if the teenage MC's doppelganger is in danger and only the MC can help her? How far would she go in order to save her other self?

So those are my four novel ideas. What do you think of them? Am I making the decision too complicated by dreaming up new novel ideas? Does it really matter which genre I'm first published in? As always, I would really appreciate your advice.


  1. Dreaming of sleep is the most logical choice. And you do have many weeks to figure out an ending so it shouldn't be too big an undertaking.

    ...although I am intrigued with Cosmic Seed. :)

  2. Dreaming of Sleep. No doubt about it. Because it comes across as a labour of love and I don't think you'd really be able to concentrate on the others until your 'firstborn' is capable of going out into the world by itself.

    I have to admit that I'm not a horror fan so I might be taking against The Devil's Song subconsciously.

    Cosmic Seed will be a great follow-up to your outstanding success with Dreaming of Sleep :)

    Not sure why, but The Alternate doesn't speak to me (maybe cos I'm long past being a YA!), even though it's a cracking idea. You'd need to have some form of 'safeguards' otherwise people would just migrate to the alternate reality that gave them the best outcome. Then you'd have an infinite number of identical characters in the same place. Doctor Who is exploring something similar at the moment and it's not grabbing me either! (I hope Neil Gaiman's episode next week will be a bit better than the new series so far)

  3. I'd say this (bearing in mind I have no idea what I'm talking about):
    Don't put off working out the ending to the first book. Spend this time (now) coming up with an ending. Having something to work towards makes all the difference, and once you start editing time will disappear very quickly. I would go with this book though.

    No.2 Multiple 1st person pov's is very complicated and there's a good reaon you hardly ever see it. It's confusing. Really not a good idea to go experimental so early unless you really have a full vision of it and it really works (12 weeks is not a lot of time to work that out).

    No.3 seems to be in very early stages.

    No.4 Seems like more premise than story. The alternate world thing is fine, but that's not enough to be a hook. The reason she needs to break the rules is more important, not sure if you have that.

    Hope thta helps (ignore if it doesn't).

    Chapter One Analysis: The Hunger Games

  4. I also think you should finish Dreaming of Sleep. It's the closest you have to a completed book - you've already put a lot of effort in. Spend this time to flesh out the ending. On how dark it is, just go with your gut. You can always tweak it later.

    This might be a good time - if you haven't already - to make a "to-do" list of all the things you need to address in your novel, and brainstorm your solutions.

  5. Your first born, #1, needs to go out into the world. If you think it's too dark, follow your gut until it feels right. If you re-read what you posted, your analysis points in that direction. Good luck!

  6. I would probably also go for your first option, Dreaming of Sleep. For one thing it sounds like completing and editing it would be achievable during that 12 weeks, whereas your other projects need a lot more work.

    But it's YOUR time and only you can decide how to use it. What will make you happiest/most satisfied? Don't forget to enjoy it!

  7. I'd say Dreaming of Sleep, but of course you must follow what you feel is best,
    I wish you luck.
    Take care.

  8. Choose the one about which you are the most passionate. I understand your need to work from a plan, but being truly passionate about your story will drive you and keep you on task...and that passion will flow over into the written words. Any of those you mention sound fantastic. I will read all of them. The question is, which one holds your highest passion? Which one keeps you up at night? That's the one you should choose.

  9. I love them all!!!!!! I can't make my mind up - but I am very fond of Dreaming of Sleep cos of poor Myron!! Take care

  10. I have to agree with what others said. Dreaming of Sleep is near to completion and at the end of 12 weeks you should (hopefully) have a finished product ready to query.

    I'm envious of your 12 weeks!

  11. I think Lisa has the answer - go with the one which excites you the most. All sound very promising though my personal favourite is probably your YA. Good luck:-)

  12. I'd say to go for Dreaming of Sleep because of the amount of work that's already gone into it... but I've personally never been one to think logically! I started two novels, got halfway through and then the idea for my new novel popped into my head and I had to leave all other work behind... good luck with what you decide! xoxo Karina

  13. Uh!!! I have no idea!!!! I thought I would work the hardest on my nano novel, but I find myself plugging away at my first wip! And it has such a terribly long way to go, whereas the nano only needs some serious editing. Sigh....really, they all sound wonderfully intriguing (I hope each of them will grace my shelves one day) and the logical choice may be Dreaming of Sleep....but you may have to just go with the one calling the loudest.....?

  14. Ellie, you have such amazingly great ideas. I can't wait to read all of them :O)

  15. Tough decision! Think about it and go with your instinct and what feels right. :) They all sound like interesting novels.

  16. Hey, Ellie, thanks for stopping by! Appreciate it and your nice comment. For some odd reason, I clicked to follow you when I already was - I'm going to let it be for now as Blogger's acting up this a.m. Hmmm, maybe he's jealous it's Mother's Day, LOL!

  17. Argh- blogger just keeps losing my comments!
    What I was trying to say was...
    I think its a choice of either finishing and polishing number one, OR using the time to do that massive bulk of work that is the first draft of a new idea - in this case, go for The Alternate

    And re: genre - I think it is important to go with your gut on where you want to place yourself - afterall, you are ideally going to be placed there for years to come!

  18. Come September, the one that pulls the hardest it the one you write. I like the sound of Cosmic Seed and Dreaming of Sleep though!

  19. There has to be a very good reason why you've gone so far with Dreaming of Sleep! Looking at the others, the YA could be well received if it hits just as the current fashion for vampires and werewolves subsides, and, from everything I've read on the subject, if you really do have enough for a trilogy on Cosmic Seed, publishers may consider you an author with "legs". Strong arguments for at least three, but at the end of the day though, it's all down to you - which one do you want to write and where do you want to be positioned in the market? You can come always back to the others under psuedonyms at a later date.

  20. I must agree, Dreaming of Sleep should be your first priority, for all the various reasons others have already stated. I guess I'm in the majority for once. I would suggest keeping it dark. If that's the way it's turning out, that is what it probably should be. Don't second guess yourself at this point.

    Cosmic Seed would be a good second novel to write. It sounds like a really good premise, with lots of potential.

    The Alternate sounds like it might be similar to something Harry Turtledove has been doing in recent years with his Crosstime Traffic series. While I really enjoy those sorts of stories with alterate realities colliding, a lot of editors seem turned-off by them lately. It might be better to save this story until you've already become an established author in the marketplace.

  21. I think Lisa makes a lot of sense, but I was also going to say what Dorothy just said: that having a well-thought out trilogy could start you off with a 3-book deal.

    I wish I could answer this as I'm in a similar position - one nearly done but run out of steam and another (different genre) champing at the bit. But my gut tells me - you got this far with the first one without having 12 weeks off so theoretically you could finish it the same way, but you have a big chunk of time to get a solid first draft of the new one.

    And hey - I like the idea of having covers prepped! Good luck, whatever you decide!

  22. Well, that's kinda freaky because I wrote a post last week on this topic -- how to know which story to pursue-- and had it prescheduled to post today.

    They are all great story ideas. The first one seems to be the one you have the most passion for (but only you can answer that).

  23. What fun story ideas. I'd be tempted to go with the one that's the closest to being completed. However, you need to go where your mind keeps getting drawn.

  24. They all sound like wonderful ideas. You need to follow your heart and write the one that you are most in love with. You know the one. Once you complete it and start the query process, move on to the next. Eventually you will write them all. Best of luck!


  25. My thoughts are go with the one you are most passionate about. If science fiction is your thing and want to write about it then start with the one your closest to finishing, if you still have the drive to finish it. If you are just pushing to finish something just to finish it then it won't happen. They all sound like amazing ideas. The trilogy may be a good choice just because it would be a more natural progression. But on the other hand a stand alone would really get your name out there. I have heard once you break in with a genre you generally need to stick with it until you are big enough to do another for this reason I would go with one of your sci-fi but if you are passionate about your horror go for it:)

  26. I'd have to say the same thing Lisa did - go with what you are passionate about. I'm in a similar situation and I'm going to go for the one that I am the most passionate about. Heck, if you run out of steam with that, then move on to the next.

  27. I'm merely going to echo what other folk have already said - you should go with Dreaming of Sleep because you're already well on the way with it.

    Try to think of an ending now, and if you can chip away at the word count over the coming weeks, then do. Spend your time off redrafting (that's the most time consuming bit!!).

    Or do something completely different. :)

  28. Four fascinating and intriguing ideas. If it was me, I'd try and get Dreaming of Sleep nailed and then move on.

    I've just read all the other comments, and that seems to be the general opinion. I really do think it makes sense. Get that one finished then you can move on. 'Tis too easy never to finish something of novel length ...

  29. I went back and read your schedule change post. Wonderful. Congrats for being able to take the time off!! If I were you, I'd work on whatever I'm most passionate about right now. I'm sure down deep you already know. You may have the need to perfect a work that's almost there, or the need to start 'almost' anew. Good luck!

  30. Finish Dreaming of Sleep. You gotta. It's the first born, right? But hey, what do I know?

    I just KNOW you'll have the time of your life doing nothing but writing. will have to clean your house and take a bath once in a while. *wink*

    Good luck. (((hugs)))

  31. I would say Dreaming of Sleep. You have already written 67,000 words, and as you read them again, the ending will appear before you. It happens to me everytime I feel the ending for a story or a book is not clear, and then it suddenly presents itself.

    All the Best, Ellie.

  32. It's hard to choose, isn't it? I would say a big fat YES, it does matter what genre you're published in first, because if you want to build your 'brand', you usually need to stick with the same genre. So think strategically.

    Now I'm off to catch up on your news...

  33. I say finish the first one, but dabble a little in each of the others, too. Think how great you'll feel with the first one finished AND progress made on the others as well.

  34. Rachna makes a good point. A reread refreshes, picks you up and carries you forward.

    Heck, you'll probably forget you wrote it. In an eagerness to know what happens next, it'll unfold before you :)

    So yup, Dreaming of Sleep gets my vote.

  35. Hi Ellie .. seems like you have loads of advice and suggestions .. having read Girl with a Dragon Tattoo recently .. not sure why you're worried about a complicated plot for a first novel?!

    However go with your passion - but you have choices and excellent thoughts .. enjoy the summer .. plotting and mulling AND WRITING .. cheers Hilary


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