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Tricky Tricky


I’m writing my first series.  I’ve written six, no seven now, complete manuscripts, but I’ve never taken one of the stories further into another book.  I’m quickly learning that it’s a tricky process.  You have to give some info from the last book and you simply can’t have info dumps. 


Making the story a continuation of the last, yet one that can stand on its own, is challenging.  Funny enough, I find myself wanting to end a sentence… er, funny.  Here’s an example.

My stomach twisted into the knot it always did when I let myself think about that time. I’d moved past it—pretty much had to when I’d battled the Dweller for the return of my sister’s soul.

Problem is, I want to end that sentence with “in the last book” so badly, I’m thinking of just doing it then going back to take them out. 


So yeah, this isn’t as easy as starting a book from scratch in some ways–but in others, it is.  My world is already built.  I know my characters better and don’t have to spend a fourth of the book getting to know them before going back to “fix” them in the first part of the story.  And one of the best things is getting to delve deeper into the secondary characters.  I have one that I fell in love with in DOTT.   She’s actually getting a lot of action in this book–and no, you of the dirty minds, not that kind. 

Okay, maybe a little of that kind. 😉

But seriously, I’m exploring her strengths in BOAA.  I’m also tackling a very difficult, emotional realization in my main character.  I’m excited about the psychological aspects of these two characters and their relationship.  Ready to have all the plotting mapped out completely. 

Not a pantser.

I used to be.  I would just plop my butt down and type away and then the work I’d have to do in rewrites overwhelmed me.  This works for lots of writers.  Sometimes, I wish it did for me.  But I’ve learned that when I map the story out, it doesn’t make me lose interest.  In fact, it sparks more excitement than anything.  I know what part comes next and I look forward to tackling the challenge of it. 

Today, I’ve been writing about a city at night.  I’m so far into the scene, I can feel the warm, midnight breeze, smell the slight tinge of zapped power lines.  My uh, main character, had a little accident.

Graceful, she is not. <g>


  1. February 25, 2008    

    Ah, I guess it is tricky. I wonder what will happen if you do write the sentence ending with ‘in the last book’. I bet the readers will be gaping at that one and think of the editor.

    And what are the full titles of your novels? I am lost there.

  2. February 25, 2008    

    I’ve had that trouble with Bloody Murder, what to tell to keep the reader from getting confused, how much info to give and where without stopping the story. Challenging. Carol

  3. February 26, 2008    

    I’m not giving out the title yet. I will when I sell. I’m really, really hoping to keep them since they both tell a lot about the stories. So, on here they are DOTT and BOAA right now. 😉

  4. February 26, 2008    

    Oh how you tease! Very well then! I better call here and there and help you sell, cause I really want to know.

  5. February 26, 2008    

    Question for you, Rinda. 🙂

    Did you feel any doubts about writing the sequel to the first book in the series? I mean, before getting representation/a deal? I’m curious because I’ve been in that situation – having a very clear idea of the sequel to my completed YA, but forcing myself to NOT write it because I’m trying to keep my options open re. publication. I mean, if nobody picks up TIW… what then? *sigh*

    I’ve been trying to write my adult urban fantasy that’s about a third complete, but it’s not going anywhere…

    Anyway, sorry this was long! I’d really appreciate your advice, or just knowing what decided you to stick with your series and write straight onto Book 2. Thanks! 🙂

  6. February 27, 2008    

    P.S. Re: “And one of the best things is getting to delve deeper into the secondary characters. I have one that I fell in love with in DOTT.”

    Oh! Me too!! In TIW I *love* one of the supporting characters… A couple of my readers have even said, “Why isn’t ‘X’ in it more?”

    Well, she is totally going to be in the sequel more, but I’m not writing it. And I really want to… *sigh*

  7. Anonymous Anonymous
    February 27, 2008    

    Oh yes, I had doubts. Think I brought them up here a few times.

    It’s a hard decision to make. Seems kind of risky to invest in a second book when the first isn’t sold. I actually set it aside a couple of times to work on something else, but I really love the story and just “want” to do it. For sure, I will have three chapters and a synopsis done and polished in case I do get lucky with number one.

    I just decided to believe the series will get picked up. I’m hoping one of the agents with it will either love it as is or decide they see enough promise in it to give pointers and a chance. 🙂

    My CP had book one written and I believe was finished with the rough of book two–we both think that helped get her first book deal. But I know a LOT of authors who sold book deals for series with only one of them done and ideas on the others.

    For that matter, I know authors who have sold book deals on the idea and a promise.

    If you love your idea for the second book and want to write it, I truly believe that will come through in the story–making your series more appealing to agents and editors.

  8. February 27, 2008    

    Okay, that was me. Forgot to sign in first.

    It is a hard decision. You could do what I’m doing and make sure you have three chapters and a synop for a proposal. 🙂

  9. February 27, 2008    

    Thanks *so* much for taking the time to reply! I was thinking about Rachel Vincent, too… wondering how she went about this and how much of Book 2 was written before she got her deal.

    Really appreciate this. I am definitely edging towards at least having a solid synopsis and those first 3 chapters written. Why not? I’ve just started a new full-time job (which is taking up a lot of energy and brain-space! *g*), so writing the more ‘unfamiliar’ adult project at the moment is more of a struggle.

    Maybe returning to something I *love* is just what I need…

  10. February 27, 2008    

    With the surgery, full time work and a busy teenager, going into the familiar was appealing to me, too. And I’m sure I can get Rachel over here to talk about how much of Rogue she had done.

    Sounds like you need to work on what fires you up right now. Our writing time is precious and who is to say you won’t sell that first book? 😉

  11. February 27, 2008    

    A question for me? Sure. 😉

    Stray was finished and polished (6 times over, though it still needed lots of work post-sale) when I accepted my first contract. And Rogue was completed in rough draft form.

    Since Rogue wasn’t polished yet, my agent asked me to polish up a few chapters and pound out a synopsis. I sent her four chapters and a seven page synopsis, if memory serves.

    Do I think that helped me sell three books, rather than one? I don’t know. The original offer was for two books, and honestly, I think the fact that more than one publisher wanted it was more responsible for the three book thing.

    Then again, lots of fantasy sells three books at a time.

    So I’m not sure.

    But what I am sure of is that time spent writing is never wasted.

    Before my werecat books, I wrote two other books. In a series. I never even submitted either of them, but I don’t regret writing the sequel, because I learned a ton, as with any book.

    So, if your sequel is begging to be written, I say: Write it. But then, I write whatever idea is driving me crazy at the time. 😉 So take any advice from me with a whole shaker of salt. 😉

  12. February 27, 2008    

    Hey, Rachel, thanks for taking the time to answer! (And thanks again Rinda for enticing your CP over here… ;))

    Really appreciate hearing your experience of this issue, as well as the advice to, “write whatever idea is driving you crazy.” Sounds good to me! 🙂

  13. February 27, 2008    

    I agree. Series are hard. My greatest fear is that I won’t have anything else to write about. Good luck.

  14. February 27, 2008    

    That’s really grand. I am writting a series of six books, which is divided in two trilogies and I know that most people tell me write a stand alone damn it, be msart. I am just so scared that the first novel will be so bad that I will have to abandon the whole series no matter how much I revise, because I am new at it and the idea is simply not good enough. This is definitely helping me self esteem wise.

    Wish you good luck.

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