That said, I don't like to rip into a first draft right away. I just spent two months producing this draft--the shortest amount of time it has ever taken me to really sit and write down 81,500 semi-coherent words. By the point I'm at 81,499 words, I'm basically living inside the story. I am story. So when I write that last word, I usually sit there and stare at it for a good while, wondering what the heck just happened. Is this done? Did that happen? And then I feel lost for the next day, wondering what world I'm living in without that constant story going in my head.
Needless to say, story and I have to have some time apart. A week, at the very least, for me to regain my sense of self and start functioning like a normal adult again. (Are writers normal adults? I sometimes wonder...)
No. Oh, no no no. I at least stayed true to my word. I was taking a week-long break from All Heart. We needed some time apart to think. But that didn't mean I couldn't start thinking of something else--which, I admit, I'd already started to do. Now, in this downtime, was the perfect moment to strike out on my new adventure. I copy/pasted a bunch of plot points I'd obsessively strung together in my free time into a new file, and chapter-by-chapter outlined a new book. That by itself would be one thing, but then I went a step further and I started to write it. 8,000 words and three days later, I have a new first draft on my hands.
So, for those of us who are counting, two first drafts. Two baby stories that I am determined to nurture to adulthood this year. They are wildly different--so different that I'm not sure yet if I'll be able to wrench myself out of one to return to another when it's needed, but I'm going to have to try because there's no going back now.
In the meantime, who else has juggled this madness? I know you're out there. Tell me your multiple story stories!
*Mara Dabrishus is an author and librarian at a small college in Northeast Ohio. Horse racing is her first great love, but for the past several years she's ridden dressage, learning how to spiral in, half halt, and perform the perfect figure eight. Her second novel (gasp!), Finding Daylight, was released in January 2016. For more information, please visit www.maradabrishus.com.