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).

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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.

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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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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 🙂

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  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.

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  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?

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  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.

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  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!

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  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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