With the conception of A Stranger’s Child, a contemporary continuation of the Pandora myth, I wrote my first novel with series potential. I’ve always been an idea author–too many ideas to stick with one premise. That’s why I enjoy flash fiction so much, cycle through a ton of ideas with a bunch of short stories! Several are available for you to read here.
As I map out books 2 and 3 in The Pandoran Legacy series, I consider the baseline (book 1) while weaving intricate threads between the novels. I’m excited about the world I’m building! A series gives you the opportunity to dig deep into character histories and motivations, to create a world familiar to the masses yet specific to the story, and to embark on the long game of over-arching plot lines.
One of the panel discussions I attended at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference was about writing a series. The three authors that participated were Darby Karchut, author of several middle grade series including, Finn Finnegan, Laurell K. Hamilton, author of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, and multi-series romance author, Jennie Marts.
One question in particular really resonated with me–
What happens if you write yourself into a corner?
The three panelists each had their own answer.
One of them said she is always a book ahead, that way if something changes in book 2, she can address it in book 1. By the time book 1 goes to press, she’s working on book 3 and adjustments can be made in book 2 as needed. She tries not to need them.
Another panelist confided that her characters would NEVER let that happen.
The third response was my favorite. She countered the question with another, “Isn’t that the point?” You write yourself into a corner so you can figure a way to write yourself out.
I really like that answer. It’s challenging. It’s freeing. And, in a way, it’s optimistic.
Maybe that corner was the challenge you needed to get you to the next level of your ability. Maybe that corner was necessary to a future plot line. Maybe writing yourself out of the corner proves that you’ve got the chops for this gig.
Stories are all about conflict and resolution. When you think about it, writing yourself in and out of corners is pretty much the definition of being a fiction author.
We make the rules,
We break the rules,
We take the rules
Wherever the story needs to go.
Up, over, under, through…tracking a trail of words through the metaphorical hallway.
The options are only as limited as your imagination.