Side pieces: my other writing projects

I saw the phrase “side piece” in a book I was reading, and at first, I thought it was a euphemism for a gun, but it’s actually slang for a girlfriend. I learn something new every day. Anyway, I thought I’d blog a little about side pieces in my writing — the stories I have an affair with when I’m writing my books.

I’m working on two manuscripts at once. Well, not exactly at once. I stopped writing one book to focus on another. And then I took a hiatus from one book to work on a short story and when I don’t dabble on my short story, I write fanfiction for fun and gratification (I post my fanfiction online and people often say lovely things about it).


Why do I do this to myself? I guess to keep my work interesting. I’m a bit ADD about writing. I firmly believe that any writing I do is worthwhile — counts toward my 10,000 hours and all that. The fanfiction can be written in an afternoon and scratches a storytelling itch. I get a bit of inspiration from my fandom. I jot it down. I post it. I get comments. I feel ecstatic. That’s a bit of a dalliance, isn’t it? My short story is an experimental piece of writing. I’m using present tense, first-person point of view and I’ve established a darker and sexier tone than I normally utilize. Despite being a YA mystery, it feels quite grown up and I’m excited about it. Meanwhile, my two manuscripts, both half-drafted, are hanging out on my laptop awaiting my return. To be honest, I needed a breather from them. I can’t appreciate them when I feel chained to them all the time.

Do you work on side pieces? Can you juggle multiple projects at once? It’s probably not ideal, but it sure keeps my interest.


Author: Kimberly G. Giarratano

I'm a YA author. And mom of 3. I'm also tired. Very, very tired.

11 thoughts on “Side pieces: my other writing projects”

  1. Wow, Kimberly – good for you! I can’t do multiple projects at once. Not in the way you describe. I work a story to complete a specific task – drafting, revising, editing, etc. After I complete that task, I can move to something else. For example, I know I have to draft at least 50 pages for my critique group on the current book. If I complete those 50 pages I can work on something else, but not until I’m done (if that makes sense). Otherwise I find myself thinking about BOTH projects at the same time and they start getting mixed up in my head.


  2. Great post, Kimberly! I do the exact same thing. Last year, I was working on Book 2 when I got notes back from a prospective agent who wanted a rewrite on Book 1. So I dropped Book 2 and then did the rewrite. When that was finished, I went back and finished Book 2. Then I sent Book 2 to my editor to clean up for queries, I started on Book 3 which I dropped again after getting critiques at Book Passages upon which I’m now revising Book 2 again. But don’t ask me what day it is or where I’m supposed to go. I have a copy of my office paper calendar on the kitchen counter to tell me when I’m supposed to go in and what errands I’m supposed to run. I have alarms on my phone to tell me when to eat. At work, I have to-do lists. At home, it’s pretty obvious what hasn’t been done.


  3. I juggle projects all the time. I write in different genres, and I write long and short forms. I used to switch between genres daily, writing one genre in the morning and the other at night, with the rest of life squeezed in between. Now I need more sleep! I usually see one genre through to the end of whichever draft I’m working on, but after that, I set it aside to do short fiction for a while, or to take up another novel in a different stage, before returning to the project I’d set aside.


  4. I like to work on one thing at a time. There’s no possible way I could juggle a wife and a girlfriend! Here’s a, ahem, side note for you … in today’s Denver Post there was an article about a man who had two obituaries run in the same paper on the same day. One mentioned a loving wife, the other mentioned his girlfriend. He probably died from exhaustion.


  5. Fun post, Kimberly, and love the GIF! I’m impressed by how many different projects you can juggle! I work on side projects–usually short stories or maybe brainstorming/outlining a shiny new project–while waiting for a given manuscript to settle after a round of revisions, but otherwise I get overwhelmed if I try to work on too many things at once 🙂


  6. Don’t all be impressed with me. You know what they say about multi-tasking? When you focus on too many things, you don’t do them equally well. I’m a glutton for punishment.

    And yes, Becky — I did see that story trending.


  7. I do side “reading” all the time. I almost always have at least 2 books in process at a time. Usually one is a “real” book with a cover and paper pages and everything, while the “side” piece is an e-book, no cover, no paper pages, but still a book. Rather like real life, it’s not really cheating is it to have a “real book” and a ” almost real book” on the side?


  8. I’m more of a one-project-at-a-time kind of girl. When ideas appear that have no relevance to what I’m writing, I file them away for another day. The only exception is during the edit and revision process—while I wait for comments I might start exploring some of those other ideas, then switch back to the primary project. I also usually only read one novel at a time. Gosh… suddenly I feel stodgy.


  9. I like to write in other genres for short stories. I keep saying I’m going to do short murder mysteries, but so far, I kill in novels, and romance in shorts. I write for the True Confessions magazines. I confess, it’s a guilty pleasure that is a lot of fun, pays fairly well, and as you say, scratches that itch!


  10. Yes. I enjoy writing short stories in addition to novels. I find the practice of going back and forth between the two sharpens my skill sets and allows me to experiment with other genres, etc. Many times, I’ve written a short story, completed it, and later realized when I’d returned to my longer form WIP that I had the bones for a new character or subplot I could include. It’s taught me to trust the process and allowed me t grow as a writer in directions I might not have otherwise tried. Thanks for your post. WRITE ON!


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