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What to work on next?

I’m in that strange, between-projects stage.  I’m trying to figure out what to work on next.  It’s harder than you might think.  I’ve got two full manuscripts and a partial floating around out there.  Do I work on the partial, finishing more of the story, in hopes that it will be picked up and I’ll be ahead of the game?  One of the completed manuscripts is the first in a three-part series.  Should I work on Book 2?  Or should I start a novella or short story that I can finish more quickly?  These are the things that bounce around in my head.

Not to mention the story ideas themselves…

Book 2 in the series and the rest of the story for the partial manuscript are fleshed out pretty clearly in my head.  But then there are the fragments of other ideas.  Most are short little scenes.  One is a story set in space that is just plain stupid — but it’s there in my head, taking up valuable room.  Sometimes the idea is more of a feeling.  Like I see a dark, scary alleyway.  Tension is in the air, floating like the fog that hides the dark corners…  What’s the story associated with that?  I dunno, but it’s one of my blips of inspiration.

Finally, there’s the time commitment to consider.  When I start a new book, I know I’m committing the next 6 months of my life to the project.  I’d better be sure that’s what I want to do.   Going down the wrong path can eat up a lot of time.  So you see, without feedback from an agent or editor, it’s hard to decide what to do.  A solid “this stinks” or a more exciting “we want this” can make my direction so much clearer.  Any takers?

Without that, I guess I need to sit down and think.  Sometimes I just go with the story that’s consuming my thoughts, day in and day out.  This time, though, I think I need to take a more business-like approach and consider all the pluses and minuses.  It might not be as much fun, but it’s time to be practical.

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