Founding a dynasty is a plenty robust task. But how can you become a world-famous writer on only one book? Sequels, my friend. It’s all about the sequels.
You’re a writer, you know how it goes. You pour your guts and stuff into your finest work, writing at such a feverish pitch that you slump in your chair when finished, exhausted, spent, and half-dead.
Well, now I’m back to that same chair, still half-dead, waiting and waiting and waiting for my editor, my immensely qualified and talented book reader, to get past page 18 of my latest rewrite. She’s been called off to something else. Something about her career…
Couldn’t you just finish the thing? You know, like, maybe just shoot an afternoon and knock it out? It’s not that long of a book…
The good news: she read the first 18 pages and had nothing to add, delete, or complain about it. In all the years I’ve known her, that’s a first.
Here’s something I discovered: are you ready? Sit down for this. First edition – you lay down the story and the characters. Second edition – you tie up all the loose strings and make the beginning sound like it will led to the ending. Third edition – you take out all the trash, the catch-phrases, the stuff that makes you cringe. Fourth edition – Line by line you make it good. Good. That’s the one that goes to your editor. This is what I’ve discovered.
For all that learning, still doth the clock tick mightily.
So, here sit I, word processor in hand, needing to write SOMETHING! I have some vague ideas about books two and three in my Winchester Penrose series – book one is that which is stalled on my wife’s bedside table.
The worst is this: I know how I want to end the series. I’ve got the closing scene right out there. Oh, that book number three is gonna be a cracker for sure.
But… what about book two? Book three could take up on the tomorrow at the end of book one. But, where fits in book number two?
So, think about this: Star Wars A New Hope – great! Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back – pretty good. Star Wars Return of the Jedi – bango! Back to the Future one and three, great! Number two: dark and scary. Indiana Jones? One and three great! Number two: dark and scary. Are picking up what I’m laying down?
But a two-book trilogy? What is that, a biopsy? A biology? Who writes just two books? It’s not a thing.
And don’t you dare bring up Harper Lee and her super-late, super not-as-good prequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. Just don’t do it.
See, my character is all about love – okay, now, stop rolling your eyes. It’s not like that. The story is about love, but not that gushy mushy stuff, nor that other love sweet love that the world needs now.
It’s about innocence and positivity.
But all of my ideas for book two lead over to the dark side – what if this guy wants to use that guy? What if the bad guy gets loose and… Like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – ick!
So, I’m seriously thinking about just plain going for it and sketching out book three in the hopes that book two will show itself. Maybe that’s the answer.
My wife (and evidently only part-time editor) always tells me to write what I know.
So,there goes that novel about being a world-famous writer…