I’ve been told that things become easier as you gain experience. That is true of many things, such as riding a bicycle, reading, loading and shooting a weapon, and any other number of things. However, that simply doesn’t apply to writing books in a series.
Somehow, I thought that it would be a piece of cake to write a series. After all, in the first book you have established your cast and built your world. You’ve created an ongoing story line that will take the reader through several books. How hard can this possibly be?
What the hell was I thinking?
Problem number one – most series deal with a main character and a small group of side characters that come along for the ride. What I quite foolishly did was write about a team of people. And then even dumber – I added in all these side characters. I went from just an eight-man team to a tight-knit group of almost twenty people and they all interact on a daily basis. You need a damn scorecard to keep track of these people – and they are all talking to me!
Problem number two – each book needs to actually stand alone as a single story. That means recapping where we are and how we got here as well as giving some of the basics of the world. In the first four books, the threat by Milo and Katherine provides the “big threat.” But each book must have its own conflict and resolution, whether that’s a relationship or an event. Each book must also lend itself to the next book. That’s a lot of stuff to fit in and still keep the story moving.
Problem number three – I write on an extremely tight story timeline. Things happen quickly in my books. We don’t spend weeks hanging around waiting for things to change; most books cover a time period of only three-to-four days. There ain’t a lot of dating gone on here. My folks come together quickly and life happens. While some things in our lives evolve over a long period of time, the most significant things can come down to a single moment in time. The moment you met, the moment you first kissed, and the moment someone shot at you.
I’ve written the first four books. Two are out, one is in edit and the other is awaiting edit. When I asked some of my beta readers who they thought the next book should be about, none of them came up with the person that I thought was the most interesting. Most named a team member, but I’m choosing to come off the primary team. My ancillary characters are taking over the show, and my team members are providing back up. People I originally wrote as plot movers are now jumping up and down and waving their arms madly, screaming at me to tell their stories.
The last three days have been spent working out the timeline and plot points for the next book so that it fits within the big story arc. I’m now officially off and running on book five – I just hope I can pull it all together and bring the reader along for the ride that’s happening in my head. I’ve marked 9 December as day one since I started early this morning. However, I am doubtful that I’ll be able to pull this one off in less than thirty days. My plan is to immerse myself in the books and try to write the next three back-to-back before I take a well-deserved break from the vampires. If they’ll let me…
Wish me luck.