I got a big piece of paper, and started outlining the intersecting storylines of Butterflies on parallel timelines.  I thought this would help me figure out how the five new books will fit together.

At least that’s what I thought.

From here, there are spoilers so if you don’t want details of Butterflies, stop reading!

It turns out that writing down something that I already knew was going to be convoluted didn’t make it any more straightforward.  Two of the stories are pretty clear – Mara and Gretchen have lives that are isolated from other main characters, for different reasons.  This lasts until they reach Butterfly Gardens, the school where several of the characters meet.  Arrival at Butterfly Gardens is where I wanted to end each of the three girls’ books.  While they join the school at different ages, it’s easy enough to make their books different lengths.

It’s Andi’s story, as well as the royal children and the world beyond the three main characters, that are intertwined and challenging.  The first ten years of her life are also easy, like the others.  The problem is that before Andi goes to the Gardens, she spends a year as a handmaid to the queen.  This brings her into the lives of both of the royal children, and peripherally into the court (and to some extension, the world).

I also need to go back in time with book 4 to make sure we include the stories of Damien and Izzy (the royal kids) and the things leading up to the war.

OOH!  I just had a thought, about how to split these books!  This is not the first time that blogging about a problem has led to a possible solution.   With that, I’m going back to my big piece of paper…