Sunday, September 06, 2009

Deciding What to Work on Next

I'm on the second round of edits for SELLING HOPE, and *should* have them back to my editor this week.  But then, what next?  I've been researching two stories simultaneously, one a middle-grade road trip tale, the other a nonfiction picture book.  I've concentrated more on the mg story to this point, because, well, it's what I know - I lurve middle grade historical fiction.  (This one is half contemporary/half historical.)  My heart is in this project, but I'm currently struggling with the plot. Sometimes that can be good - some of my best solutions have come only after wrestling with the plot.  And authors are constantly told that writing 3 or 4 books of a similar type (ie, middle grade historical) is smart in order brand oneself.    

But my head says that the picture book can be researched faster (yes, even though it's nonfiction) and I have a very good feeling about its marketability (in other words, I think publishers will really like the idea.)  And it's not that I'm totally emotionless about this book - far from it.  The idea of it, and how I picture it being executed, gives me that itchy writer's feeling of "Yes! That must be written!"  And, too, maybe it would be nice to change gears for awhile - you know, get the sparks flying from a different piece of flint.     

So - which one to work on next - the heart or the head? The sloppy, messy, heart-driven book, or the practical, marketable change-of-pace?  How do *you* decide what to work on next?  And by all means, voice your opinion on my next project in the comments section!  Please?  ;-)  


Kimberly Pauley said...

I think that's why I'm in a picture book fury right now. I do have 2 or 3 novel ideas (in the same type of humorous vein as Sucks to Be Me but NO vampires) but I kind of wanted a little fun break.

The un-fun part is having to find an additional agent or a publisher that accepts unsolicited MS since my agent doesn't do PBs. *sigh* But I'm still having fun writing them.

Kristin Tubb said...

Yes! Pbs are a great way to break up the longer-writing cycle. I love how visual they have to be, too. Forces you to think action, not description, and jump to the problem and its solution.

Good luck with the agent/publisher hunt, Kimberly!

JHeacock said...

I say go with the PB, for 3 reasons: first, I think it's harder to force plot than, say characters or fleshing out details. It has to fit perfectly with the other parts of the story, and if it takes more time, so be it. Second, working on the PB may help you on plot because, as you note, it forces you to think action, not description. That's a good mindset for creating plot. And finally, it's clear that you feel more driven toward the PB, and ultimately, isn't desire and interest the engine that drives your storytelling?