Monday, January 27, 2014

Writing a Trilogy

I suppose my title says it all but I am so surprised by this development in my writing life. I love reading series (whether they be trilogies, quartets or longer) but never thought I'd be writing one. And yet I am 85% of the way through writing the draft for book two of my trilogy. When I started writing book one I thought it was a standalone. It wasn't until about halfway through writing that book that I realized I had the makings of a trilogy. One of the secondary characters leaped off the pages and into my imagination. He was very insistent that he had an entire story of his own to tell. It was very difficult for me not to start writing about him and his lady love immediately. Yes, I knew exactly who she was to be, as well. However, I did make a bunch of notes about them for when their time came. As I finished the first book I realized I was going to have to make a few big changes to it in order to move smoothly into book two. That's all right though, I told myself. That's the purpose of revision.

Then I went straight in to writing book two. Once again, about halfway through the draft, I became aware of the characters for book three. Which means even more changes to book one - so I'm glad I hadn't revised it yet. I decided I'd write the first drafts of all three books and then go back to book one and begin the revision process.

While writing book one I wrote it as I always do - in whichever order it came to me. If something is completely out of place, that's all right, I'll just go back and fix it later. But I realized that this is really annoying to me. About the time I had this realization I read a tweet from an author I love about certain chapters always being a pain to write. It got me to thinking that she must write her books is sequential chapter order if she had that sort of knowledge about her process. And this stuck in my head. To the point that when I started book two, I decided it would be written in order from beginning to end, chapter one to the last period of the story. And guess what? Writing this was is AMAZING! I cannot believe how much more focused I have been while writing this book. Have I gotten ideas that normally would have taken me off on a tangent? Yes. Have I allowed the tangent(s) to occur? No. What I have done is to make notes on the idea in order to fill the scene in at the appropriate time within the story. However, at 85% into the draft, not one of the tangents has been necessary. I find this very interesting. I am certain that I will continue writing my books in this sequential fashion going forward.

I'm getting excited about book three as book two is winding down. I'm even excited about the revision process for all three which is a new feeling to be sure. How about you? Have you written anything that has surprised you lately? Or has anything about your process changed for the better? Please share with me. I'm so inspired by writer's habits.

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