Can You Write Two Books at Once?

This is going to be a weird week. Hopefully, it won’t be too confusing.

As regular readers of “Pleading the Phyth” know, I stack writing projects. When one book is with my editor, I work on another. So, for instance, I sent the new Wolf Dasher novel, Roses Are White, to my editor a few weeks ago. While she was working on that, I started writing the next book in the series, Ghost of a Chance. It’s the only way I can hope to keep my goal of publishing three books a year.

Well, speaking (writing, actually) of those two books, they have converged. The second draft of Roses Are White came back Friday night with edits. It’s time for me to read through it, make edits of my own, and then write the third draft.

Ordinarily, at this point in my project-stacking stage, I put aside the book I’m writing to go back to editing/rewriting the first novel. After all, it’s first on the schedule, and the process comes to an unnecessary halt if I let it lie while I finish writing the next one. That defeats the whole purpose of stacking projects to begin with.

But I’m five-and-a-half chapters into Ghost of a Chance, and I’m starting to develop a nice flow. I’m loathe to just put it down.

typewriter on fireI’m sure you can guess what stupidity I’m about to embark on. Yes, I plan to try to do both this week. I’ll edit Roses Are White while writing Ghost of a Chance.

In theory, I ought to be able to do this. At this stage of the editing process, I have to read the book again. I put the manuscript in front of me and read it from page one to the end, my pen in hand, poised to make corrections. I’ll also be reading my editor’s notes and figuring out how to incorporate her suggested changes. So I should be able to spend an hour or two writing one book and several more editing the other.

On the other hand, I’ve never tried to have my mind in two books at once before. That has the potential to get confusing. But even harder, Ghost of a Chance is a direct sequel to Roses Are White. So not only will my mind be shifting back and forth between novels, it’ll be moving back and forth through time — at least the time in the narratives.  That could get really weird.

However, I’m hoping that the two processes will inform my thinking. Editing the first book could keep me focused on what needs to happen in the second. And writing the second novel, will help make sure I foreshadow those events correctly in the first. So this could be a very good thing.

Of course, regular readers of this blog will also remember that my feverish obsession with the writing of Roses Are White during NaNoWriMo resulted in an actual fever and nearly two weeks of debilitating illness. So it seems I didn’t learn much from that experience.

Still, I’m looking forward to this week if for no other reason than it’s a challenge. How far can I get in Ghost of a Chance before I do have to quit so I can actually rewrite Roses Are White? I’d like to get about five or six more chapters written. Can I manage that?

And how many chapters a day can I edit in Roses Are White? I’d like to finish with the edit process by Monday of next week, so I can begin rewriting. Can I pull that off? Will spending this much time in Wolf’s world drive me insane?

And can I avoid making myself sick again?

We’ll see what happens. Writing is a deadline-driven business, and I’ve set a couple for myself with this week’s project.

But I’m competitive. I like games, and I enjoy playing them with myself as much as I do with others. This is a contest. I’m going to try to hit an outrageous goal — partially because it’ll be good for my business if I do.

But also because I just want to see if I can.


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