Cheating on Your Novel


Do you write multiple stories at a time or just focus on one? Is monogamy in writing the best approach, or is it okay to dip your pen into other inks from time to time?

Lately, as I near completing my second draft of Father’s Creed, I find my mind embracing other stories. These aren’t all what-if whims or flashes of a character or scene. I am drawn to write them and the depth of the stories are filling in with little effort. Much like what drives people to infidelity, I assume this is a sign that home life (my novel) isn’t what it once was.

Here’s some of the write-ups for my concepts so far:

After Tyrants:

Generations after the nation was ruled by a tyrant, the citizens have buried the truth of the past as a means to move on. Those who were targeted for extinction by this forgotten war have been devastated as a people, socially unviable, kept in the lowest state, not by oppression, but by being so few and self-defeating through being generally discarded by society that they can’t see an alternative. A young man questions his place at the bottom of everything and digs into why history books gloss over certain years, why news articles from the time are slim, cut, or replaced with recycled works. In discovering the truth of his people’s persecution, he begins a renewed pride in his heritage which leads to a coup over the villainy of the past and the smothering of the truth. Swept up by power and anger, the young boy eventually becomes a tyrant himself and repeats the mistakes of the past.

When the Old Heroes Die:

Years have passed without threat to the kingdom. There is no standing army, nor anyone left that values strength and courage. When a villainous group comes to make trouble, the weak and scared must remember the old ways of war.

The Cure:

22 years ago we cured cancer. 10 years ago, the bio-cure turned on us. Now, with less than a million people alive on Earth, we thought the end was inevitable. We were wrong, kinda.

Better Jerry:

When Jerry reads his latest credit card statement, he realizes that someone else is using it, and they are living the life that Jerry always wanted. Rather than reporting the theft, Jerry embarks on a journey to duplicate the fake Jerry’s frivolous adventures.

For some of these, I’ve actually started writing scenes. The Old Heroes Die story line is what I’m working on for my Exercise #2 of 2000 words, and the premise has already changed a little. I find Better Jerry takes up more of my thoughts recently and I’ve started a scene for it as well. Keep in mind that I already have the outline for my second novel, Ghost City, and I was well into the first chapter when I returned to redraft Father’s Creed.

Your brain needs to branch out, but how many branches can you sustain before pruning becomes a necessity? Not all fruit can flourish and ripen if they fail to receive the proper care and nutrients. I think it is very possible to have multiple projects, but one should be the primary and the number of projects should be limited.

I will continue with my goal of polishing and publishing Father’s Creed, but I’m not going to feel guilty for writing around town. There’s nothing wrong with having a novel in every port, but don’t be ignorant to the dangers. Don’t overdo it. You may not end up riddled with disease, but you’re sure to be exhausted.

Happy writing. Please Subscribe and follow.



  1. Hey Matt, this is an absolutely familiar theme to me. i recently published my first novel and am supposedly writing the second (of the trilogy) then, a really good opportunity came along for a short story which I extracted from one of the many other novels/novellas i have on the backburners, causing all the pots on the (writing) stove to be rearranged somewhat. For now. i hope. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

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