Are You Polyamorous With Your WIPs?

It happens to the best of us.  We’re booking it through writing a book, then – WHAM! – it hits you like a box truck going under 11-foot-8.

You have another book you want to write even more.



You’re so close to finishing that book.  You’ve got to stay on track, got to get that done so you can start editing, submitting, publishing, etc. etc…

In this case, you decide to keep working on that book.  It hurts – your mind feels the pain of trudging through a story you don’t want to write.  You must simply hope the story doesn’t suffer like you are.

If you’re close enough to the end, this strategy works out.  You’ll reach the end triumphant.  But, if you’ve got a little longer to go, each day causes you consternation.  That other book’s still lingering, dying to be written.



Finally, you must give in.  It was just too much, and you felt like continuing the original story was going to fail anyway.  Sure, first drafts all need editing, but you wouldn’t want to look forward to what you’d have to edit…

Just a couple chapters, just enough to get that new idea down, and you’re back to your old story.  If you can write just a little on this ‘other story,’ then you’re much more likely to come back to it and remember what a great idea it had been.

But there’s a risk with doing this.  Sometimes, those chapters are like a gateway drug.  This new book is so enticing, so fun, and offers new challenges and plots.


Ok.  You can handle two books at once.  You were so far ahead with the first one, anyway, that they’ll end up finished at about the same time.

You’ve got the skills.  You’ve got the will.  Now all you need is a little more leeway with that timeline you’d originally had to get that book finished.



That first book was never what you wanted anyway.  That book was predictable garbage.


So don’t feel bad for leaving it for something new.  Sometimes you just need a break, and sometimes it’s simply good for you.  It’s better to write something new, something less likely to be published/finished/loved, than to write nothing at all.



I recently went through this full cycle.  I was almost done with American Chimera, my latest novel-length project, when I got completely distracted by something that doesn’t deserve to see the light of day.

Have you ever cheated on your novel?  Do any of these steps resonate with you?  Let me know in the comments!

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre


“All dis for jus’ a speakeasy.”  Detective Banks spat, surveying the grisly scene by the garage.  “Deez gangsters are despicable.”

A beat cop with Tommy gun in hand nodded.  “Yeah, all four of the shooters had to’ve been real bad guys.”

“All four of ’em?  Where you pullin’ that number from, kid?”

The beat cop shrugged.  “Nowhere.”

“Old ladies in the ‘partment cross the street says four cops did it.  You know anything ’bout that?”

“No.”  The beat cop sneered, held his Tommy gun a little higher.

Detective Banks spat again.  “Case looks unsolvable.  Now, clean this mess up.”


This was written for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction challenge for February 14th, Valentine.  And what can be more Valentine’s than the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, save for the martyrdom of saints? 

Historical Info: On February 14th, 1929, some of Capone’s south-side gangsters teamed with a couple corrupt cops to slaughter 7 enemies in the North Side gang.  Though there were suspects in the murder, none of them were ever arrested due to lack of concrete evidence.  In this flash, I make the connection between rampant police corruption – which Chicago had at the time – and the unsolved mystery.  

Secrets – #Senryu

heart shaped red neon signage

My heart beats so fast
What ignites this keen craving?
Your hidden secrets?

Let me uncover
The essence of your power
And relish in it.

By gaining your trust,
I become vulnerable,
Naked, and open.

My heart beats so fast.
What ignites this keen craving?
My spilled secrets?


I wrote this scandalous thing for the Valentine’s-Day ready Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday #123. The synonym words are in bold.  This is four senryu, and I’m not sure the repetition at the end is really allowed, but I thought it gave exactly the feeling I wanted it to. 

Photo by Designecologist on