Outlining And Planning Book Two

I’ve been working on the outline for book two of my series. I wasn’t sure where it was going but I knew at a high level what I wanted the beginning and end to look like. The rest was filling in the middle with a bunch of cool ideas.

Since I’ve been reading I’ve been inspired by certain literary devices that authors use. In particular I was inspired by how a few other authors wrote their second books and used a device of telling their backstory at the same time they advance the main story line. They do this by switching the POV back and forth between the two.

Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery meant I wanted to try it myself. So, I took that literary device and applied it to my universe and my story. I used it to fill in details up to where book one starts and also advanced one of the main story lines.

What I like about it is that the reader fills in important blanks that explain the backstory in detail. They get this satisfaction while at the same time giving them a taste of where things are going in the future. It might take a few chapters to get them into that flow of POV shift but it can be really effective when pulled off.

Let’s hope I can pull it off.

I started by outlining all of the historical story lines. This had a bunch of people and places to take into consideration as it was spread over multiple generations. Once I had that roughly outlined, I took that number of chapters from the historical story line and worked to fit the current timeline story arc into that. I know that sounds painful but surprisingly, it wasn’t. After I knocked that out I then went back for another few passes and refined, cut, refined, and cleaned up the outline some more.

It’s close to final form. I want to let it sit for a few days and read it again to make sure it lines up across story arcs and everything flows nicely. I also want to pull out some key elements and try to lay them out on a visual outlining tool to check for holes. That shouldn’t take long though. Famous last words, right?

It’ll be interesting if this actually works out when I sit down and finally put prose to page. I’ll keep you updated.

I Finished The First Draft

129,319 of 125,000 wordsIt’s been a long time coming but it’s done, the words are written! I wrote the last 13k word chunk over these past three weeks since my last post as I’ve gotten back in the groove. It took me about five years from ideation to completion of book one. I know that sounds like a long time, and it is, but I wrote the entire book over three chunks of time totaling around nine continuous months. There was a lot of outlining, researching, iterating, and even some rewriting after that conference last year.

I’m excited to move on to the next stage of this series. I’ve started outlining book two and I’ve started the editing passes for the book already. I’ve already had a critique parter read the first four chapters but I need to find more. If you’re a fellow writer and interested in swapping manuscripts drop me a message.

Status Of My First Novel

It’s been quite some time since a I’ve written about the status of my novel here. I’ve mentioned it on my twitter account but haven’t yet posted an update here. I thought I’d take a moment to give an update as well as what my current thoughts are around publishing.

A few of you might remember my first blog post 4 years and a few month ago where I mentioned I was going to start writing a book. Yea, it’s been that long. I’ve been much more diligent on twitter documenting my progress. Here’s my tweet from over a year ago when it started writing again after a few years on hiatus. Even that was after a long multi year gap of not writing.

The drought between starting and restarting the first time was due to career interruptions, a cross country family move, and loss of focus. I repeated the career interruption this last time around but with only a four month gap in between. WOOT! I hadn’t lost focus this time, I just wanted to give 100% of my attention to my new job and onboarding.

Well I miss the creative expression of writing and want to use it as an inspirational outlet like I did last year. It positively impacted all aspects of my life and I want that back so I’m back to writing again.

116,854 of 125,000 words

So where am I with my book after all this time? I’m currently 116,854 words into my targeted 125,000 words. To the right is a look at my Ulysses.app goal tracker.

This first novel is book one of a planned trilogy. I know, high first publish goals right?

I refined how I was approaching the trilogy last year. Originally I was going to write the books as open ended continuations of each other but after attending a writing conference last year I changed my approach. Now I’m trying to give the first two books reasonable ends. I’m not closing out all of the major plot lines but the reader won’t be left not feeling some form of closure.

As far as releasing them I’m on the fence a bit. I’d like them to succeed but I also know I’m not a super fast writer and my beta reader pool isn’t huge. My options right now are:

  1. Write each book, edit it, and release it when it’s done. Optimize for release and then write the next book and repeat. It’d say this would put me at about a book a year (with my current rate of beta readers and editing). The first could be done by this summer.
  2. Write and edit the first two books and put them in the can. Once the third book is “close” to complete then release the books staggered by a month or two. This would all me to maximize their release and likely reader purchase. I can also optimize the covers, marketing, etc. it also allows me to write it all the way through and just parallelize some beta reading. So long as I don’t need any mass rewrites this could be ideal.
  3. A combination of 1 & 2 but only hold the first book until the second is close to ready. Then release them back to back and preorder the third. This is hoping I could knock out the final book in say 6 months. It’s risky but could get something to market sooner.
  4. Don’t do any of these self publishing routes and try to query publishers & agents and enter the 2-3 year queue of praying authors. This is the least attractive option to me. Even if I decide that self publishing isn’t for me, I’d now have a back catalog to sell from and I’d have learned something. Publishers rarely touch trilogies from new authors anyhow so I’d have to come up with something completely new to query with.

I’m leaning toward #2 or #3 right now. My goal is success without fizzling out which is what happens often with the first option. Readers can lose interest and getting them back is hard. This is especially hard without a back catalog of books and a glut of reading options on the market.

If you have any thoughts I’d love to hear them. In fact if you’re interested in my writing or blog for that matter you can signup for my newsletter. I’ll be sending out regular non-spammy updates about once a month going forward and you can be sure that my books will be mentioned.

I’ll be updating and posting here more regularly again on my progress and process going forward. Thanks for reading!