relatively unimportant moral dilemma
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    relatively unimportant moral dilemma

    Hey there guys, this post is edited as it has been brought to my attention that it was ironicly difficult to read. i left the original post in there, incase you wanna read it.

    So, I have a small problem that i would like to run by anyone who is interested: I am a budding writer and i am currently writing my first full length novel (i have written short stories before and have a single poem published in a 'poems for kids' kind of book), over the last week i have begun developing ideas for a second novel, a novel that i am more interested in writing than the first.
    So the question is: have you ever written a book? and what advice would you give me as far as putting the first one on the back burner and starting a new one goes? would it be considered as bad form or what?
    thanks in advance

    (yeah, im currently writing a book, (i wanna keep this breif so i won't go into the details of what it is about) I still like the characters and themes in the story, but i have what i feel is a better idea for another book and i want to write the second book more than i want to write the first, so my question is, should i abandon my current book to start the next one or should i finish it (which will take months) and then do my other idea?
    i am 32034 words in to the current book, so like 4 chapters? mabye 5?
    yeah, any help would be appreciated, ofc its a pretty unimportant problem but yeah, i could do with some help lol.)

    Last edited by Barefoot; June 12th, 2011 at 02:39 PM.
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    Given the grammar and spelling of your post, I would not read a book written by you.

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    Is there a law saying you can't work on more than one book at a time? If so, I'd better get myself a new ID and head for the hills, because the Book Police will be breaking down my door as soon as I post.

    Seriously, unless you're writing towards a deadline, there's no law saying you have to keep writing a story that's just not working for you, or wait to start a second one until you've finished the first. I'm sure many artists here have more than one work going at a time - one in sketching/development, one midway along, another that just needs a final going-over or whatnot. Writing's no different. It's not like matter and antimatter: the world won't explode if you let two projects overlap. Personally, I find it helps to switch off between stories once in a while, if things get too bogged down or the brain-flies keep buzzing in another direction.

    You also might be better off at a writer's forum with these kinds of questions. The NaNoWriMo forums have been pretty helpful, in my experience.

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    That was unnecessarily mean Jacob.

    Anyways, I think your should go with whatever idea you feel more excited about which is the second book apparently. You can always go back to the first book if you want later.

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    My advice would be to finish what you started.

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    No offense but if writing is your profession, then ANYTHING you write should be up to the same level of quality. Imagine if you had to draw things publicly for whatever reason, and were a professional artist. If you only put effort into your professional works, and when you drew publicly you didn't give a shit and barely drew stick figures with your eyes closed, it would seriously devalue your artwork and your artistic credibility. When politicians have conversations, they do so still under the role of politician. Any negative encounter could be a damaging one.

    So the point? Write well if you want to be a writer. Consider it practice if you will. At the very least, I have never heard or read an interview with a writer I enjoy that was not up to par with their written works.

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    What Farvus said.

    Allowing yourself not to finish what you started will end up with you having heaps and heaps of unfinished stuff and bunch of glossaries, but no finished work to show.

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    Upto you I guess. May as well start the 2nd if you'll enjoy it more, then come back to the 1st after.

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    thanks to Brightdreamer, JJacks, farvus, mossi and B u r l.
    it seems that most of you think it's ok to start another peice of work before you finish the next, which is what i was thinking, i just wanted some other opinions, if you've ever written a full length book you will realise that you get attached to charecters and feel bad when you leave them without carrying finishing their stories. also, like what mossi said about having piles of unfinished work, that was something i wanted to avoid.

    As far as jacob kobryn is concerned, i do wish the world wasn't so full of pricks.
    does the fact that i said "i want to keep this breif" not show you that i am trying to write quickly?
    do you really think that i am going to muster my full literary prowess to post on a forum?
    so far i have been lucky not to run into any arseholes on this site, but there is a first time for everything.
    I'm sure that in the real world you aren't such a wanker or you would be too crippled to type from all the beatings you would undoubtedly recive.
    you seem like the kinda guy who would go through this text to find any typos or mistakes and point them out, so please feel free to do so.

    i can also assure you that my books are written with much more care than my forum posts and are, as a result, better to read.
    i seriously hope i never run into you again, you do not seem like the kinda person i would get on with, but whatever.
    it's all very well saying that you should write well everywhere, but do you really have to be an arse about it when you say it?
    i'm not like i cant take critisism but there really isn't anything to critisize. i cant talk for any other writers out there but for me, my work becomes good gradually. so i write say six pages in rough, then i go back over it a few times untill it eventually becomes something good to read and exciting.
    i acctually happen to really like your work. but hey, be an arse, lose respect, kinda how it works.
    i might be being a bit harsh but you cant just act like a bastard and not expect to get a few insults along the way.

    Last edited by Barefoot; June 12th, 2011 at 02:25 PM.
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    If you want people to put care into reading and responding to your post, then you should put the same effort into your post in the first place. Just sayin'. I'm not a native-speaker and I guess I could get away with a lot playing the "Im juz some pour foraigner" card if I chose to do so, but why should I? I can write well in English, I'll put it out there to be read.

    That said, I'm a writer too and currently at 213k words for my current book. (First one I finished at 290k.) It's your call entirely. If I had finished every last story I ever started, I'd be stuck with a lot of ideas that I noticed quickly didn't work. Sometimes it's better to drop a story and pick it up later than to force your way through it. That's what happened with my current story - I worked on the premise and basic idea three years back, then dropped it because I felt I wasn't up to it. Wrote my 290k monster of a NaNo novel in between, then picked the story up again and developed it for a month or two until I got my kickstart writing the first 175k during November last year.

    Sometimes stories need to be released into the back of your head for your subconscious to work on. Maybe you'll have a new, more interesting view on it in a few months. Maybe you'll never remember it again. I know I got very uninterested in my first novel after writing it and before bringing myself to edit it for the first time. I got tired of my characters, tired of the plot, tired of everything. I needed to let go for a while to get excited about them again and finish working on the thing.

    So it's entirely up to you. I personally can't work on two things at once, I can only leave one story alone to pick up later, but handling two full-fledged novels at the same time? No way. Short stories are different again. Maybe you can juggle two books, maybe not. Give it a go and see if you miss the first story.

    Last edited by Kjesta; June 12th, 2011 at 02:58 PM.


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    Considering that 5 chapters is more than enough to shop the book to publishers, I say take a break if you're experiencing writer's block and start sending it out. If no one is interested and writing it isn't pleasurable anymore, then move on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyNSWOrLD View Post
    does the fact that i said "i want to keep this breif" not show you that i am trying to write quickly?
    do you really think that i am going to muster my full literary prowess to post on a forum?

    i can also assure you that my books are written with much more care than my forum posts and are, as a result, better to read.
    You want people to give you their time to read your post, think about your problem and then take the trouble to post a considered reply.
    All for free and given to a stranger.
    If that is what you expect then I would have at least thought you would have shown them the courtesy of making your request as easy and beautiful to read as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyNSWOrLD View Post
    would it be considered as bad form or what?
    To whom?

    if you've ever written a full length book you will realise that you get attached to charecters and feel bad when you leave them without carrying finishing their stories.
    Well, you'll probably feel just as bad when you have to re-write parts of the story and discard characters completely in favor of the story. Most (at least published) books take several re-writes to be polished, and like Kjesta said, sometimes it's just good to let something sit around before going back to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mossi View Post
    Allowing yourself not to finish what you started will end up with you having heaps and heaps of unfinished stuff and bunch of glossaries, but no finished work to show.
    I'd say that no matter what you do, you'll eventually end up with tons of unfinished stuff, and though I don't think everyone should discard everything half-done once they lose interest, it's not good to always force something out if the end product (and the creator) suffers from it.

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    Like it or not, Jake has a point. If you want to write successfully, you have to love and care about language. All the time.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Like it or not, Jake has a point. If you want to write successfully, you have to love and care about language. All the time.
    I've had sleepless nights over whether to pull two sentences together into one or not and carry a red marker with me to correct shitty spelling in toilet graffiti. Trufax.



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    would it be considered as bad form or what
    Nobody cares, unless they have paid you an advance and are expecting you to finish the first one. But they haven't soooo... nobody cares.
    When you send whichever one you finish first off to an agent, they seriously will not care about the other, unfinished one. You don't even have to mention it. In fact, why would you? You aren't a big name, so...nobody cares.
    Do whatever the hell you like! Work on them both at the same time if you like. You aren't getting paid for this, you might never sell the thing, you may as well enjoy yourself.

    (source...many friends work in publishing. )

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    @Kjesta "I can only leave one story alone to pick up later, but handling two full-fledged novels at the same time? No way." I'm the same way which was why i was a little apprihensive about starting a new book. it's not that i have writer's block, i know what i would write next etc, i just want to write the other story much more. I just wondered if it would be considered selling out or something.

    @erinc i have never really tried to get a book published before, so i thought the story should be finished before i send it to people, incase they want more of the book i dont want to keep them waiting, y'know what i mean? also, if i do send it out and i get someone who is interested, but i have decided i dont want to write it, well, that's going to cause complications.

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    i see what you mean about my original post being a little difficult to read, so i have altered it and spent more time on it

    here's just a little background info on the writing of my OP:
    i wrote it on my phone because i was just out of the door, i was hoping that by the time i got back home i would have a few opinions which i did, which is great! (i would have written it while i was out but there was no wi-fi or 3G, so it had to be fast). As for my "angry a jacob" post, i only read his reply (it was the first one) and i went strait for the reply button, without realising anyone else had posted, as you can imagine it was rather heat of the moment so i apologise if i was rude, but hey, you can understand that when i post a relitively innocent (to my mind) new thread and the first reply i get is so negative, that i'm bound to be pissed off.
    thanks to Chris Bennett and Elwell for being the voices of reason, i would probably still have been pissed off if they hadn't pointed out where is was lacking in brains, haha.

    despite all this however, the original post was not about my literary skill, but about whether or not i was being a sell out. which brings me smoothly to TinyBird and Crowbones's enquires of who it is i am selling out on: that would be writers as a whole, the real question was about if it was a normal thing to do or not.

    so...yeah... thank for helping out guys, it was really helpful to have a few other points of veiw and i think that i will probably just start the new book and let the other one simmer for a while.

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    5 chapters is more than enough to shop the book to publishers

    uuuhm I'm pretty sure that's not true for most fiction writers. Especially unknown fiction writers. They won't take on something that might turn out to be crap (after waiting months...years even for it to be finished and then edited and rewritten as necessary) when they could just deal with stuff that is already finished NOW that they know isn't crap. Plus, whether stuff gets published depends on the market and trends at the time. Also you will probably need to go through an agent to sell your book and they want finished work.

    ETA I didn't ask who you were selling out on...you aren't selling out on anyone. It is extremely common to do this. It is a normal thing to do. In fact, it is a non-issue really...

    Is it selling out to work on two paintings at once? I mean I started this drawing the other day, but then I had an idea for something else so I lef the first one half finished and drew this new thing before finishing the first one because it seemed more fun. Have I sold out on artists?

    Last edited by crowbones; June 12th, 2011 at 04:37 PM.
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    Elwell and Jake are right, even if you don't like what they're saying. People who are great at something care all the time, even if no one is watching. They do it well because if you let yourself slack when it's "not important" then you only build up bad habits you have to correct later. Doing the wrong thing when it doesn't count only makes it more likely that you'll do the wrong thing when it counts.

    If you're just doing this for fun, do whatever you like. Start 50 books and only get to chapter 5 on all of them. Have fun! If you ever have hopes and dreams of getting paid for this, or even getting praise for it, though, then it's time to be honest with yourself about what you need to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crowbones View Post
    uuuhm I'm pretty sure that's not true for most fiction writers. Especially unknown fiction writers. They won't take on something that might turn out to be crap (after waiting months...years even for it to be finished and then edited and rewritten as necessary) when they could just deal with stuff that is already finished NOW that they know isn't crap. Plus, whether stuff gets published depends on the market and trends at the time. Also you will probably need to go through an agent to sell your book and they want finished work.
    Then I must apologize for being misinformed. I was told otherwise by an agent in the past.

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    I was told otherwise by an agent in the past
    It might have been possible in the past, IDK. Some agents might try it or be able to do it with some authors. There are always exceptions.
    I wouldn't bet on agents or publishers waiting around for years for someone to finish something though. Neither of them will make any money off an unfinished novel, no point wasting time on something that might not even happen.

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    ALL of your posts are difficult to read, which doesn't bode well.

    People who write well care -- all the time -- about punctuation and capitalization and how the words sit on the page (or the screen). They read and polish and read and polish and go back and cut words and read it again. Is it too colloquial? Is it too formal? Is it too cute? Should I break that paragraph or is the whole thing getting a bit choppy?

    And that's just a forum comment.

    Related note -- a friend of mine just self-published a sci-fi book and it's doing better than he expected (plug here). Self publishing in the Kindle age is no longer the kiss of death.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Your dilemma has nothing to do with morality.

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    I'm definitely not trying to be a prick, but when did pressing the shift key equal "more effort"?

    That's my main problem here. I actually don't even care about typos or whatever, but if capitalizing your sentences isn't just second nature to you, then I definitely worry about your literary career.

    Best of luck...

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyNSWOrLD View Post
    (I)t's not that i have writer's block, i know what i would write next etc, i just want to write the other story much more. I just wondered if it would be considered selling out or something.

    @erinc i have never really tried to get a book published before, so i thought the story should be finished before i send it to people, incase they want more of the book i dont want to keep them waiting, y'know what i mean? also, if i do send it out and i get someone who is interested, but i have decided i dont want to write it, well, that's going to cause complications.
    If you already know where you want to go (or where you think you want it to go - stories can be slippery buggers and shoot off in unexpected directions, so maybe your current frustration is a sign that you ought to reconsider where you thought it was going), then you might want to take the time to jot down a quick outline to "hold the thought" before jumping to another project.

    And, from everything I've read, having a finished story is pretty much a must if you're a no-name trying to break in to publishing, especially in fiction. With the pressure on to produce quick results rather than nurturing new authors to full flower, editors apparently often don't even want diamonds-in-the-rough anymore, but more like diamonds-nearly-finished-and-just-needing-a-spit-polish, so it's probably worth your while to not only finish but second-draft, third-draft, beta-read, and edit/grammar-check the living spit out of whatever you decide to submit.

    I'll reiterate my recommendation to check out the NaNoWriMo site for more on writing stories and getting published (or self-publishing, which isn't without its own potential pitfalls.) Very supportive of people at all levels of writing skill and interest, from amateur hobbyists to dedicated would-be pros.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    ALL of your posts are difficult to read, which doesn't bode well.

    People who write well care -- all the time -- about punctuation and capitalization and how the words sit on the page (or the screen). They read and polish and read and polish and go back and cut words and read it again. Is it too colloquial? Is it too formal? Is it too cute? Should I break that paragraph or is the whole thing getting a bit choppy?

    And that's just a forum comment.

    Related note -- a friend of mine just self-published a sci-fi book and it's doing better than he expected (plug here). Self publishing in the Kindle age is no longer the kiss of death.
    What stoat said.

    Sometimes I write freely, and everything flows like Zen water. Other times, I pause, and reset, and repeat that two or more times, and when I proof read (And I proof read EVERYTHING I write), I find out I've been using the same word over and over again. I've never had any creative writing classes, or technical writing for that matter, but that's something I've learned by just plainly reading an writing everyday, making sure I get everything right, and it's all downhill from there.

    If you've got Arthritis or Dyslexia, it should be understandable. But what you've posted? I'll reserve judgment if we see some of your "proper" writing.

    And why are people posting more and more things from their mobiles and iPads? Is there some new craze going on where poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation, is just "cool", and proper reading, flowing English is "Soo yesterday"?

    Damn kids and their iPads. I'll stick with my towering computer case, 2 monitors + a 12" Cintiq, and keyboard. Screw all this "new" stuff - and get off my lawn! And NO, you can't have your base ball back.

    "Never regret thy fall from grace, O' spirit of Icarian flight, for the greatest tragedy of them all to face, is to never feel the burning bright"
    Believe my lies, for I tell the truth about them. Or would you rather me lie about telling the truth?

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  35. #28
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    What would the book(s) be about?

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  36. #29
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    You are not a sell out unless you are intentionally compromising your morals for success. Morals and whether or not something is "normal" should not bother you at this point. Go with the flow and just keep writing.

    I write short segments of the plots I have, and string them altogether eventually. There is no rule that says you must focus on one project at a time, and even painters hold different projects at a given time.

    By the way, I am curious about your story. What are you writing about?

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  38. #30
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    Apple has produced writing software for both the iPhone and iPad (and it exists in the android market as well) which many professionals use on a daily basis. It doesn't hinder their writing ability, so why should it hinder yours?

    Honestly I'm not trying to be "mean," (the basis of this forum IS the constructive critique, which I think I gave) I'm just trying to illustrate a point. Try to maintain a model of professionalism. Writing sloppily on a forum doesn't make you a bad person, but it doesn't make you a good writer.

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