Monday, October 19, 2015

Unexpected Directions on the Writing Adventure Train

Switching Tracks - Commonplace?
You know how ideas snowball into something bigger? That's what has happened to my work in progress. Four months ago I typed a tentative THE END on the sequel to my Book of Mormon Romance, Secrets of the King's Daughter. As my critique group discussed a few loose ends, I wrote a prequel to better tie the two books together. After reading that, the snowball grew. A certain character took on a larger role, so I needed to add more scenes with him, fill new plot holes, and the prequel became the first chapter. Before I knew it, I'd passed the 100,000 word mark with not much to trim. I had some choices to make.

The good news is that, with the help of my critique partners, I realized that with a little tweaking, I already had a great place to end this sequel at 75,000 words, and the remaining scenes easily shifted into a third book. Looks like I'll have a series of three stand-alone scripture-based books. I feel better knowing I actually wrote the second book in less than a year instead of what felt like forever, and that I've already got a good start on the third.

The funny thing is that one of my partners pushed for my book to take this direction early on, but I wasn't mentally ready to hear about splitting the book in two. It felt like switching tracks near the end of a big project. It took the newly added scenes for my vision to align with hers. After some revisions, beta readers will tell me if it works for them as well.

Sometimes writers need a break from the genre or a set of characters. In fact, I plan to try my hand at a romance novella before going back to book 3. We don't always know what direction our writing will take us or when we'll choose an alternate path. It can get frustrating if you can't envision where the track leads. That's what makes it an adventure. Just make sure you have a plan, new or old. And perhaps a few good critique partners in your corner. Happy writing!

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