How to Write Two Books at Once

Step one: train yourself to become ambidextrous. Step two: train your eyes to look both ways at the same time. Step three: train your brain to embrace cognitive dissonance. And voila!

Maybe that might work for you, but I've found another strategy. I write every day, but I don't always have time to work on both novels the same day. Lately, I've written five episodes of AGROTHARN during the work week and two episodes of Murders on weekends. That's averaged out to 6K a week, almost as good as that 1K/day regimen I had going for a while, way back when.

It's helped that both books aren't in the same genre, even though they both have elements of comedy. AGROTHARN is sword & sorcery in space while Murders is post-WWII amateur sleuthing. AGROTHARN is written in third-person with multiple points of view, but Murders is first-person from the limited POV of the sleuth. The writing style of AGROTHARN is very loose and shot from the hip, while Murders is more formal and old school; thus AGROTHARN is easy to pick up and draft during breaks while Murders takes more time and effort at wordsmithing. Lastly, every episode of AGROTHARN is prompted by four story cubes, while Murders was originally based on a novella I wrote thirty years ago, but now has emerged as its own monstrous entity.

To summarize, in order to write two books at once, I've needed them to be very different, and I've needed the process to be very different. Yet, at the same time, it's helped that they're both comedies, so I don't have to take either one too seriously. Crafting the tale is serious work, but the path along the way has been chock-full of foibles and follies, and that's worked well for the humorous tone of each book. 

I'm shooting for 75K with AGROTHARN, and I'm over halfway there. 50K is the goal for Murders, and I've got about 6K left to go with that one. When I finish it, I'll either start on the sequel to Dust Freaks & Demigods, which is more action/adventure with less comedy, or the sequel to Double Murders are Twice as Bad. We'll see what the muse and the funny bone can agree on.

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