I’m Cheating on my Protagonist

shutterstock_69810904I have a confession. I’m in a long-term, committed writing relationship with the current protagonist of The Conjurors Series, Valerie Diaz. She’s great – loyal, smart and filled with integrity. I’m not ready to end our affair – we’re only two books in to a four-book series. But I can’t stop thinking about someone else. While I should be plotting Valerie’s next move, I’m fantasizing about the heroine that I’m going to write about next.

I’m afraid that if I don’t get a grip, I’ll lose the momentum I need to finish my current series, which is planned to be completed at the end of 2014. By that estimate, I really shouldn’t be daydreaming about other heroines at least until book four is drafted. But it’s tempting. My favorite part of the writing process is creating characters and planning plots. All of the characters and plots in The Conjurors Series have been developed, at least at a high level. What’s left is the execution, which I also love, but doesn’t have the same thrilling joy that only giving characters life can bring.

Then, of course, come the comparisons. Valerie’s much nicer than my next heroine, but I think I actually like the new one more. In real life we could totally hang out, whereas with Valerie I’d have to be on my best behavior. Which naturally makes me feel more guilty. They’re both my creations – shouldn’t I love them equally? Of course, I’m aware that the new heroine and I are still in the honeymoon phase of our relationship. I’ve yet to become bogged down in the day-to-day grind of hurtling her into strange and painful situations and then carefully extricating her.

How do you stay focused on your current project when the next is luring you with its siren call? Do you give in and cheat, or stay the course until your current writing project is completely finished?

3 thoughts on “I’m Cheating on my Protagonist

  1. Does your next project take place in the same world at all? You could introduce this new protagonist as a side character. Then you’d get the chance to write about her a bit, and also might generate some interest from readers in your new project. Just a thought. (I love book series that take place in the same universe, but with different characters, like Discworld.)

    When I feel tempted, I usually just start writing the other story. I might lose some momentum with the first one, but it’s worth it to be able to do some writing while I’m still passionate about a new idea. (I’m far more faithful to people than stories. :P)

  2. I do it all the time. I’ve written 2 different books at the same time. I like writing YA for girls and MG for boys, so I like to mix it up.

  3. Is it really cheating? No this is not a male justification for frivolity but rather a thought on the nature of characters. They are like friends but you can’t spend all your time with one. you need to see your other friends, get out, enjoy the world. Then you can come back fresh and with a better perspective. Its not cheating, it’s making new friends.

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