Let me give you a quick picture of what I have put on my writing plate for the next few months.
My first published novel, The Dark Lady, became a trilogy last year. Now I’m trying to get the word out, using a virtual book tour and trying to remember to update some of my blogs. Readers who I’ve met face-to-face are asking for volumes two and three so that is always a good sign.
My second published novel, The Queen’s Pawn, is undergoing the same process. I’ve written book two (untitled) and it is now in the editing process. I’ve started book three but been sidetracked the last couple of months. That is something I have to get back to shortly before I lose my train of thought completely.
When I wrote both of these first two novels I had no idea whether they would ever go beyond a single volume. I don’t do extensive pre-plotting but fortunately had enough ideas to carry the story forward. My advice to beginning writers who are not plotters is to make certain you have plenty of notes as you go on to subsequent books in the series. You don’t want to have to re-read your first book to catch up on the details you will need for the second and third volumes.
I also write a series of fantasy detective novellas, The Housetrap Chronicles. Number seven will be out in a few months and last winter I started on episode eight. I haven’t touched it in months. I suspect I will have problems getting back up to speed. The danger in allowing a story to languish while you work on others is you may lose interest. Already I am brewing up the plot for number nine. As a caution I’d recommend working on one thing at a time, unless like me you are easily distracted and thrive on confusion.
While all of this is going on I have several manuscripts that have been accepted by publishers and now will be going into the editing process. I’m aware that some writers view this as a form of torture, where “other” hands tear and shred their precious work. Think of it more as a co-operative process. Do you have a very good reason for leaving in a particular scene? Then say so, outlining your reasons. If the editor disagrees, accept the verdict and move on. No matter how many times I review my own work I am always amazed about the number of my serious sins an editor will uncover. Difficult as it may be, attempt to learn from the comments and try not to repeat your mistakes. Each publisher may have a slightly different philosophy. Your editor knows what these house rules are and will help you work your manuscript into an acceptable format.
Lastly, one of the best pieces of advice I ever received from a well-established author had to do with how well we treat those involved in our industry: authors, publishers, editors, critics, readers, etc. Don’t get argumentative, feud, or fight with others. The aggravation and damage to your reputation is not worth it, demeans you, and will ultimately hurt your reputation. This doesn’t mean you can’t have or state an opinion, just be careful how you go about it. If you can’t take outside criticisms, don’t read them.
Enjoy writing and reading, I certainly do!
The Dark Lady Trilogy (Volume 1,2,3)The Queen’s Pawn (Volume 1)
The Housetrap Chronicles (Volume 1 to 7)
Alex in Wanderland,