Normally, I stick to one.
I’m working on two different one’s at the moment, Icarus Sun and Model Citizens: Unmasked, and though it’s a rare case for me to work on two it’s worked out pretty well so far. But I think that’s because they both have their strengths and weaknesses for me.
I enjoy writing Unmasked more than I enjoy writing Icarus Sun, mostly because the majority of writing Icarus Sun is actually rewriting. I’ll write the basics of a scene, then decide it’s too long or too short or doesn’t account for X factor of the story and I’ll go back and rewrite it. There’s a lot more to keep track of with Icarus Sun so half of my time is going back and rewriting it to accommodate for the fact that the story really isn’t supposed be told from one perspective, or one possible side. So whenever I write one scene I’m never just writing one scene, I’m writing at least three different scenes that all take place around one event. Which can get really, really tedious.
With Unmasked I’m just kinda going for it. Throwing my hands in the air, checking my plot outline to make sure everything is in order and diving headfirst into the story because the main plot doesn’t require as much excruciating attention to detail 24/7. It’s a much simpler story so I can focus a lot more on just writing it well and having fun with writing it well.
Then, there’s the flipside of that. I like the story of Icarus Sun more. It’s more complex, I can put more time and detail into making the little things connect and mirror each other. I care about it more because I have to care about it more for anything to make sense and not just be a jumble of loosely connected ideas. Especially so because Icarus Sun actually started out as two entirely separate ideas, then I cut one in half and sorta slapped it onto the other, and have spent the rest of my time knitting together the seams of the two. It’s more of a puzzlebox to work out, and I love puzzles, so I love creating Icarus Sun’s story more, because Unmasked is simple. Unmasked had a very simplistic premise and, though it’s gotten much, much more complex since I started flushing it out more into Model Citizens: Unmasked then it’s original form of just Unmasked, it’s still pretty simple.
Then there’s character draws of both of them. Icarus Sun has characters that I’ve loved and developed for a long, long time- even before I started writing it… But so does Model Citizens: Unmasked. I have characters who I love to write and write about in both of them, which always pulls me back to each.
In the end, I write two stories right now because I don’t think I could write any one of these by themselves.
I’d probably get tired of writing and rewriting, envisioning and revising Icarus Sun if that was all I spent my time on.
I’d probably get bored of the story of Model Citizens, and try to complicate it more or make it more interesting, losing the original premise altogether if that was all I spent my time on.
I already sort of saw it happening with Icarus Sun, which was why I started writing ‘One Page Stories’ to distract my attention, just let it flow freely without worrying too much about whether or not I checked my ‘Plot Points’ document to make sure I’m keeping in line with and setting up everything that I’ve already plotted out ahead of time. When I found myself liking Unmasked enough to continue it on I rewrote it and changed most of the plot so that it would hold my interest but… Well, I didn’t overcomplicate it, I had Icarus Sun as my complicated and strange kid while Model Citizens could just be my free-running wild-child of a story.
So, normally, I write one. I write one story that’s somewhere in the middle of the two, always constraining myself from keeping it overcomplicated, but also trying to let loose enough to write what I wanted to write.
I’m writing two because I wanted to write the stories as I thought they should be, and to give myself the ability and freedom to write as I wanted to without changing what I wanted to actually say. So this is actually an odd time for me, writing-wise, but I might suggest trying it out for anyone who struggles with keeping to their stories.
Because it’s really, really helped me.