As an author, I like to have more than one project going on at any particular moment. One project I’m writing, and usually at least one I’m editing, with others in queue for beta reading and further editing. And of those projects I’m working on, there are three different series.
I suppose part of it is not wanting to feel like all my eggs are in one basket. Since I have more than one project, if a review doesn’t like one of my characters, I shout in my head, “Ha! Just wait until you see the next series! I’ll show you!” I mean, I would never post that sort of thing on a review site, but telling myself that makes me feel better.
I am frequently asked how I keep that many stories and characters straight. The first answer is always that all of my characters are so different to me, how could I possibly get them confused? The logistical answer is keeping track of who has brown eyes with a touch of green and who has brown eyes with flecks of gold in a massive character file.
And the real answer is I’ve done summer stock theatre. For the non-thespians, what that means is that I’ve performed two shows while rehearsing two more. When you’ve been living that many lives at once onstage, doing it on the page becomes much easier. There was one unfortunate incident during my time in summer stock when I had four shows worth of costumes hanging in my spot and for the life of me could not figure out which show was happening onstage.
The wardrobe mistress came into the dressing room and found me crying. He put me in a costume he thought might be right and shoved me out onto the stage. And you know what? It all turned out just fine.
After surviving that, having more than one story in my head at a time is simple. The only problem is when my fingers try to type the wrong name for the protagonist. But hey, that’s what revisions are for.