To be truthful, writing was the one area in which I have never been able to multitask. For whatever reason, I could write only one story at a time. I couldn’t even think about the plot for a different story while writing my WIP. I have tried but failed miserably. Actually, it was often quite humorous.
For those who write contemporary, it may not be as difficult. But I don’t know because I write historicals. I tried writing a historical western while working on a medieval once. It was like balancing and twirling fine china plates on the tip of wobbly poles. Only one survived.
Writing westerns is vastly different than writing medievals—cowboys and knights—how dissimilar can you get? While the basic structure of a romance is the same, culture, attitude and speech cannot compare. About 25 years ago, I had written a few books with a co-author. Because we collaborated on westerns, I decided to work on a medieval that I’d been making notes on for months. We’d take turns writing chapters: I’d write the odd-numbered chapters, she’d write the even-numbered ones. The next book, we switched so we each had the opportunity to write the very first chapter.
One day, my friend called and asked why our 1870s cowboy hero was challenged to a duel—with a broadsword worthy of a hearty knight. Strange, I thought, but soon it faded from my memory. Then a few days later, she called again and questioned the reason I changed syntax. Hmmm… I reread what I’d written and sure enough, I had done just that. It wasn’t until I returned to my medieval that I realized what had happened.
For one thing, a knight doesn’t say, “Howdy, ma’am.” I kid you not. It jumped off the page and smacked me in my face when I went back to edit the chapter. Little nuances of historical westerns had begun creeping up in my medieval. I’d find my characters speaking with a southern drawl. My western characters began to speak quite stiffly. But when I outfitted my knight in denims, I knew I had to make a choice.
To this day, I can’t even think about another story other than the one I’m working on or I’ll lose the momentum in my WIP. Of course, these days, if I have more than one idea floating around in my head, it’s like a cowboy riding his destrier into a stampede. (Yes, I said destrier.) I carry a small spiral-bound notebook wherever I go so I can jot down the ideas popping up in my head. I don’t think on them too long, at least not until I’m ready to write the story based on a particular idea. I’d blame it on aging, but you already know that for the last 40 years, multitasking when writing has not been a waltz around the dance floor for me.
One story at a time, I continually remind myself. Otherwise, I’d never accomplish finishing a single book. I’m curious. How many writers out there can write two (or more) books simultaneously? Uh…would you mind sharing your secret?
Alessandra Podesta writes illicit tales unsuitable for a young lady. Exasperated, her father sends her to visit relatives in Naples to curb her wild imagination. But in her undying need for adventure, she toys with the affections of her tutor and is forced to marry him. When she unknowingly falls into a dangerous game of supremacy between two countries, she trusts the wrong people and endangers her life.
French tutor Dante Santangelo is secretly aiding the French in maintaining their rule over Naples. When he is manipulated into marrying the visiting cousin of the Valente Family, he seizes upon the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the family, who are under suspicion of helping the Spanish. When Alessandra's life is in jeopardy Dante must choose between love and duty. Will he offer up his life to save Alessandra? Or remain duty-bound to the French?