The initial one of these exercises was the work on my first published novel, The Dark Lady. I had an ending of sorts when I finished the book with a sack-full of loose ends left dangling. If you had asked me what happens next I would have put on a wise expression and nodded, “Don’t worry, I have that covered.”
Then the inevitable happened. The publisher asked what happens next and when will it be available?
I had the characters and the setting. Fortunately, after living with these people for a few hundred pages I could guess at their motivations, actions, and project what might happen next. I did end book two by bringing back an unsuspected character to play the major villain for the finale. If you would have asked me about that move while I was writing book one you would have gotten a very blank stare and a “huh?” Now I just pretend I’m clever.
When I finished The Queen’s Pawn I at least jotted down two sentences, one for each of a following book if I ever got that far. Although I did feel that Pawn had fewer loose ends than Dark, but you never know.
When faced with that trilogy I had to outline how I was going to expand a sentence into a novel. My detailed planning involved writing a single sentence for each of the projected chapters until I had enough for an entire book. I’m now well into book three, keeping a careful eye on the word count and shaking my head at the marvel this may actually work out.
I actually wrote a complete trilogy once from beginning to end. It now lurks deep in a closet and I’m afraid to show it to anyone.
Someday I may have to reform and stop writing this way, but I think it is more fun. I never really know who may turn out to be a villain or who might reform and change sides. It does act as serious motivation for me to get down to work and finish a manuscript. I’m always curious to find out who did it and why.
The Dark Lady Trilogy (Volume 1,2,3)
The Queen’s Pawn (Volume 1) (as yet untitled volume 2 due out shortly!)
The Housetrap Chronicles (Volume 1 to 7)
Alex in Wanderland,