My friends know that I can’t do anything the easy way. Sigh.
In this case, that means I’ve been working on the next books in the Unbound series out of order. Not on purpose, mind.
I’d envisioned a sort of split storyline for the second book, where something occurs early on to make the heroes realize they need to split up to accomplish their goals. I was going to do a back-and-forth with the chapters, each following one of the two sets. Think the Empire Strikes Back after the attack on the rebel base–the heroes end up in different places. Only my characters would come back together for the last act, to solve this book’s problems as a team.
I had what I thought was a fairly solid outline–18,000 words of outline/beats (detailed planning). I knew where they started, I knew where they needed to end up; I knew the major turning points for both storylines.
I stretched out my fingers and I dug in.
The Problem Starts
Knowing I couldn’t possibly write it going back and forth, I started on one set’s adventures, meaning to finish that, then go back and write the other set. I was very happily writing away–the crew was telling their own story, really, I was merely recording it, and I wasn’t paying much attention to word count.
Then, one day I realized I was about 60,000 words into the first storyline, and that wasn’t even half of that storyline…if the second half went the the way the first had, and that storyline was only supposed to be half of the middle of the book–well, holy cow…
That would have made the second book a tome, even by my standards
So I had to make a really tough decision:
- scrap what I’d planned (and all of the wonderful things the characters had told me they needed to do in this story), and start over,
- leave the readers hanging with not one but two cliffhangers
- or…well, split it into two books.
Once I decided to split the book into two separate stories, I realized the storyline I’d been working on couldn’t be the second book! For story reasons, it needed to be the third. So there I was, several months into a draft, realizing I hadn’t been writing the second book in the series–I’d been writing the third.
And to Top it Off
Both storylines take off after the end of the first act that I’d written, and that is the still the first act of the second book. Which means now, after the first act of the second book readers won’t see half of the characters again for the entire rest of that book. And the third book will pick up there, not at the end of the second. So in the third, I have to gently bring readers back to that point for the third book’s opening.
What That Means for Releases
Well, book two is a bit delayed. I made myself stop working on what’s now the third book, set it aside, and I am now drafting the second. It was quite a brain-twister to do that, but I just couldn’t justify finishing the draft of the third book before completing the second. I’m making headway–this story is quite different from the others, in setting, in limitations, in goal, and all those differences take time to adjust to.
…that I can pull this off. Merika, Kor, Thorn, and Tynan are very sure these events need to happen, and more importantly, need to be told in this order, so I, as the humble storyteller, have my hands rather tied.
Incursion is back from the editor and is still scheduled to be released at the end of summer, but book two, (new title: Contingent), will not be ready for a mid-fall release, like I’d planned. I’ll get it drafted this summer, but then it still has to be revised and go to the editor, and have the edits incorporated and…well, you get the idea.
The good news is that book three won’t take nearly as long, since it’s 75% complete, the first draft anyway.
For Future Reference
Don’t do this! Good grief, it makes things complicated. But it does mean that I have excerpts for two more books, which are posted here with full-face images–be warned–and here, without full-face images.
Have you ever had a situation morph on you like this? What did you do to solve the problem?