The second book in the Dimension Norræna trilogy is in print. Today is the first day that I am starting to put my promotion plans into action. Step 1 involves updating my blog, the website, Facebook pages and starting the Amazon adventure. At the same time I keep writing every morning and adding chapters to the third book.
I thought since I followed the 90 Day Novel outline for the first and mostly for second book that I’d do it that way for the third. Not so easy. Some of the suggestions and advice I have come across in writing the last book bear taking a look at.
- Keep your characters traits the same through all three books. Sounds easy, but it’s not difficult to put a character in a scene, behaving a certain way that just isn’t a part of the character’s nature. I haven’t had a problem with that, although my main character, the hero so to speak, is on a learning curve so the arc of the story requires her to develop abilities and skills that she never had to begin with.
- Know your ending. That’s a big one for me because I didn’t have a clue about my ending in either of the first two books and now in chapter 27 or so, I finally am glimpsing final possibilities for book 3.
- Keeping a bible of your series. I hadn’t heard of this until recently (apparently lots of others have). So as a novice I have blithely proceeded without doing this. But I think it’s a great idea. I might do it now. (Okay a little late in the game) but it’s a good way to learn. A series bible is used to keep track of your characters. Their ages, birthdays, appearances, wants and fears, strengths and weaknesses, habits, favorite food, physical aspects, etc. It’s so time consuming to have to scan pages looking back for some information you can’t remember like what color eyes your character had and now you need that or in my case remember the spelling of a foreign name or place. A much easier way is to fact-check your series bible while doing your copy-edits.
- In the first book, which has its own beginning, middle and ending, you are building the start of the total story. Each book after has to build bigger. The final book needs to have something grander, larger, more life changing than what the first story was about. Since I don’t have the ending complete in my mind, I have found it more difficult to be satisfied with the ideas I’ve come up with. Are they big enough? Splashy enough? I’m honing in on what will happen, but it’s definitely not fine-tuned yet.
- Although Book 2 is a bridge to the last book, and springs from the first book, it can’t be all set-up and planning for the third book. It needs some power of its own. The hero might have a dark time, some suffering, some points of no return— even if he, himself is unaware that this is what is happening. He has to overcome what’s in his way. This sets up the final book more effectively, prepares the reader to want to know what is yet to come.
- Dangling threads: Your whole book might be done and you love it, think you’ve covered all the bases when your editor says: “You need to probably consider answering this thread you have that you did nothing with. You can’t just tease the reader and then not follow through.” Now you have to go back and re-write- maybe change aspects of your plot or find a way to paint yourself out of that pocket or eliminate the thread completely and re-write what you thought was a done deal.
- You’re coming to the conclusion of the entire story in the third book. Adding a lot of new characters, or new sub-plots makes the story more complicated. If you have secrets, hopefully they were alluded to—thrown in the first two books so that they lead into the answers in the third and final book. Technically, the word is if you did the first two books right everything is in place to tie up the story in book 3. Then again if you have a twist or more than one, more detail may be required. But the reality is, this is the conclusion and you are wrapping things up, putting the book to bed. Of course— like me— you might have crazy thoughts like what if this becomes a longer series. Ummm—maybe not.
When this is all done and I can make a set out of the three books, I’ll be thrilled. And I plan to celebrate—have a little party, but not without some regrets that it is done—that I have to leave my friends and their world. That will be a little sad. Guess I better start thinking about what I want to write next.