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Sunday, December 20, 2009

After the Worldbuilding

With the bulk of my world building done for two different projects, I'm ready to think about the next phase. Series arc and each individual story within the arc.

These are tied together for me because each individual story needs to fit into the overarching plot. I might only know two paragraphs worth of the final story in a trilogy, but it's enough to give an editor an idea where the story is going and I always know what the goal of each book is. I liken it to a framework of a house--you have to put up the two by fours before you can hang the sheetrock. As someone who leans more to the seat of the pants side of writing, this is a challenge for me.

In the trilogy being shopped around now, I knew my first hero and heroine and I had a fair idea of what their story was. This started out as a stand-alone idea, but when the hero's friends made it clear they had stories, too, it morphed into a trilogy. I knew all three men were impacted by the same incident and that their inner conflicts revolved around what had happened, but it wasn't enough to hang a series arc on. It required more thought.

It only took a few seconds to know I wanted to use the paranormal element from the first book in all three, but it seemed unbelievable unless there was some reason all three men would experience it. That took more thought, but once I had it, I had the series arc and then I knew what needed to be accomplished in each book for the series. I still needed a couple of paragraphs to blurb each book.

That's where my characters come in. Heroes two and three made an appearance in book one, the story on which I was writing chapters. I got their personalities loud and clear. It was the heroines I needed. Heroine 2 showed up and the basic conflict between the h/h unfolded and I tied that in with the series goal.

Book three was tougher. I didn't have a heroine talking to me here, so I used the series goal to figure out who she needed to be. And a funny thing happened--everything began to fit. I had her last name wrong, but her first name and job was right. That amazed me. And armed with this information, I put together a series overview and started working on the rest of the proposal.

Now, I have to do this again for two more series ideas. I'm closer on number one, but then this is an idea I had more than two years ago, so it's had some time to percolate even if I wasn't actively thinking about it. I still have logistical things to work out and lots of them, but at least I have some ideas.

Idea two doesn't have this much yet. Things might become clearer after I do more research--this is a new idea that only came to me a couple of weeks ago. At least I'm hoping ideas gel once I know more. It's frustrating, though, because I like having the framework and it's tough trying to envision the final house without it in place. And I really want to be able to close my eyes and see the finished structure. With the first idea, I do have that cohesion, enough that I can spend time working out each individual story and I want this with idea two. Now. :-)