Plotting a Series . . . Like Riding the Tiger

When I decided to pull the original manuscript of Dark Rainbow's End into thirds, I thought I was a little nuts. I remember the day pretty well. I'd been rejected by pretty much every publishing company on the planet and the last one stung a little bit. A four hundred page book they said they thought was a little rushed. Rushed? How could four hundred pages of anything be rushed? Anyway, after I was done with my pout, I opened the file and started to skim through. As I skimmed a crazy idea began to wiggle its way to the forefront of my brain. Maybe they were right?

So, I opened three blank word files, named them very cleverly: "book 1," "book 2," and "book 3" and ripped the manuscript into thirds. Then I saved the original file the way it always was and took a close look at the twenty-seven thousand words and change that I had of book one. It was always a matter, for the trilogy, of filling in the blanks. I knew where the story was headed. I knew where it ended. We just needed to flesh out what was already there and add a few side trips.

Writing a series, though....? A little bit different. Theoretically, there doesn't have to be an ending. Or I can take as long as I'd like to get there. Each of the books I've planned (so far I have four books and two novellas planned) are stand alone stories, related to the others, but not dependent on them. There are recurring characters and familiar places, but you should be able to pick up a random book from the middle and be able to read it no problem.

That's a lot more difficult than the trilogy. The trilogy was finite. This...I can't see the end yet and that kind of worries me. I worry that I'll lose the thread of the overarching idea. I worry that it'll get repetitive and stale. However, it can also be a fabulous ride for however long it lasts.


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