Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Skipping Around

Okay, so most people probably sit down and decide what they are going to write.  They decide on a plot and characters and tell the story in their heads.  Well here's my problem, I've had this story in my head for over 20 years.  The characters have evolved, which is nice and my storyline has expanded, great.  Now I have just to pick what I want to write about.  Sounds easy right, well not so much.  I am very emotional about all of my characters and sometimes they pop their heads out depending on my mood or what my brain is doing that day.  So sitting down to write one book about all of these adventures would be impossible.  Instead I decided on a series, great.  It gives me more room to introduce these characters and expand my landscape.  The problem comes when I sit down to write the first book, because most people start at the beginning.  It sounds logical enough, until one of the other characters demands attention.  Since I'm trying to create a cohesive environment, sometimes I have to know what's coming down the road because it may effect earlier books.  It's foreshadowing wonderful? When I start planning what may happen down the road, I suddenly get a great idea or a whole conversation magically happens and the next thing I know, I'm working on book 8 when book 1 only has 2 chapters done.  Hard to publish a book when you can't finish writing book 1 or 2 or 3 because 7 has reared its ugly head and start you obsessing. 

The issue other I've run into is when I need a group of characters in later books, so it's mentioned earlier for a setup.  Then I start thinking about this new group and one of them is louder than the rest and I have to capture that character and start putting together their scenes.  For example, I have a warrior that I knew would exist but in my head really didn't have much of a personality.  He was called in when the heavy ammo was needed or I needed a scare tactic to make a point.  The second I decided where to put him, in the middle of the series as it turns out, he suddenly grows from a guy with a sword to a complicated character and his entrance into my world changed.  I never really had a huge affinity toward him before, but now I think he's a pretty great guy.  He's more of a minor character compared to the others, but the kind of guy you could fall for or at least count on as a friend. 

I now sit here with a 13 book series, for the time being.  I have a feeling it will eventually expand, I can almost see 14 in the distance...it was supposed to be 12 but I needed a good showdown.  I have different parts written for 1, which is the most difficult since it's the setup for the whole show.  It's also frustrating because I don't have all the fun and exciting characters that have made the series addicting to envision.

My husband asks me all the time what I wrote and I say that I did something in book 2 or 8 and he thinks I'm crazy.  He doesn't understand the complexity because I haven't even told him the whole premise yet.  Granted it would take a really long time explain everything, but he is content with finding out as he goes.  He hates having the ending spoiled for him when watching a movie or reading a book.  Unfortunately I'm basically on my own since I can only tell him up to Chapter 4 of Book 1 since there are missing chapters but the middle section is being worked on and I have some of the ending.  I also can't tell him about Book 2 because I have the middle and the 3/4 mark written.  So here is the rundown:

Book 1:  Beginning done, middle bumpy but I have a better understanding, a few good chapters, and notes for the rest, though I have a pretty good idea of the layout.

Book 2:  Intro is kickin, mumble, mumble, mumble, few good chapters midway, a few good chapters beyond that, know what the ending will be.

Book 3 is the furthest along but needs rewrites on the later chapters.  I have been working on it for the last 3 days. 

Book 4 has 2 good scenes done.

Don't even ask about Book 5.  I came up with a few things today. 

Book 6 has a few good chapters.  I'm in love with one of the characters, so I typically write him and decide what the rest will be.

Book 7 so far is my Empire Strikes Back.  I have cried more times while writing different sections.  This was supposed to be a novella but has become a full blown tear jerker.  It will end on a downer, that much I do know.

Book 8 was empty until I tried to go to sleep one night and envisioned the whole thing start to finish, with room for expansion.  I actually got out of bed and wrote quick notes on each section.  That was a relief since I had no idea what to do.

Book 9 another tear jerker.  This one was a surprise to me.  Because I'm writing them all at the same time and because I thought about how the characters would be introduced, it changed my whole first book in so many delightful ways.  It made things deeper and allowed for a more explosive Book 9.  Bonus:  Book 8 accidental worked in my favor and allows me to slide into Book 9 when I thought I would have a rough transition.  Go me!  My brain was on fire that night.

Book 10 I have the concept and nothing else written.

Book 12 will be tough.  I think I need to explore more of the beginning before I can handle this one.  I also changed my muse for the main character, so that should help.

Book 13 I have a pretty good opening going.

Now I have to find the time to allow everything to come out and put it together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

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