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Hi Susan!

I was wondering if you would have good advice for me.
For a few weeks now i have gathered up a plot, characters and background information of various forms of supernatural creatures in my story. At the moment i have written a small amount to this story (after working intensively on ideas) and now i have begun slowing down a little as I've come up with other brilliant ideas for another story.

would it be a good idea that if i become stuck, on this story i'm working on at the moment, i could possibly work on the plot of this other story and gather up it's characters? while i do that i could possibly re-work my brain and come back to my first story again.

or would this be not recommended and be too distracting?

Hello J:

Many writers use this method to combat boredom. That's the trouble with figuring out too much in the beginning; if you go too far with "gathering," you risk bleeding all the excitement out of the story, and a new story naturally feels more compelling.

All you can do is try it and see what happens.

Much depends on your attitude as a writer. If you enjoy exploring ideas more than sitting down and writing, you may get stuck following your ideas and never get around to writing anything. Most beginning writers enjoy gathering, but when it comes to doing the hard work of actually writing the thing, they run out of steam. Gathering is lots of fun, but actually writing the story takes discipline and hard, lonely work. Take Stephen King for example. Every day, no matter how he feels, he writes from 9:00 to 6:00, with a short break for lunch. It's no wonder he's so prolific!

When it comes to the writing, you have to treat it like a job you are not particularly fond of but you get up in the morning and go to anyway, and stay at it until quitting time. Here's the good news: while you are doing this hard work, exciting ideas will still come to you, and that part's fun.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high scores over 1350+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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