A Family Reunion

Now that I’ve decided to work on the scenes that I know as a way to start Chasing, I have a fun moment working in my brain.

This is a great family reunion scene between a sister and her brother.  Here is the (Butterflies spoiler alert) background: Little brother wanted to be an “explorer” when he grew up.  Big sister left home when she was a teen to become a soldier, and eventually became an officer in the Queen’s Guard.

The basic scene: sister is standing on duty when brother arrives with a large party of explorers assembled by the king, about to be assigned to a major undertaking for the crown.

The fun part?  Sister doesn’t notice brother right away, but he sees her.  This leads to a very unceremonious yelling and heartfelt reunion right in the middle of formal court.

It should be fun to write, once my brain irons out all the details.  🙂

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Opening a Valve

Every time I talk to someone about Chasing, it makes me excited to write.  This afternoon I had a lovely chat with a co-worker about the plot of Chasing.  She was excited and a bit concerned about the plot, and it helped me get excited about the story.  The creative juices are there, I just need to open a valve and get them flowing.

I still need to do my story math and decide how the plots and subplots will align.  My least favorite thing is also on the list; I have to come up with names for some of the new characters.

Once I have a few hours to sit down and write, I’m planning to dive right in.  I keep saying that, don’t I?  Hopefully this time it will stick.  Maybe it just requires a few more conversations with friends and coworkers.  🙂

The Chase Is On!

I finally started working on the scene from Chasing that has been in my head.  It’s just a tiny moment between friends, but it seems like a good way to jump back in with who these people are and their relationships.  Would you like a little sample?  I thought so.  🙂  Remember, it’s a sequel, and so it will reveal some character details from Butterflies (in case you forgot about possible spoilers).

     Damian looked up as the concealed panel in his bedroom opened. He was expecting to see Mara, so her entrance was unsurprising.  Her clothing, however, made his eyebrows lift.  She was clad in all in white, but while the important parts of her were covered in an opaque material, the rest of her body, from head to toe, was swathed in a billowy translucent cloud. 
     “It’s not what you think,” the Dark Butterfly growled at the crown prince. 
     Damian raised his hands in mock surrender.  “I wasn’t going to ask.”
     From across the room, Andi chuckled.  It always amused her to see her husband and her Dark interact.  She smiled at Mara as the woman crossed the room.  “The Sai ambassador again?” she asked.
     The petite woman in white sighed as she dropped onto the bed next to the crown princess.  “I don’t see why Izzy can’t have her women take care of this.”
     When Damian’s sister Izzy had become Crown Princess Narcissa of Saimiri, she had accumulated a few Butterflies in her service.  They were primarily tasked with providing information back to Diaea, but Izzy had her mother’s blessing to use them occasionally for Sai business.
     “You know why,” Andi replied.  “They are in Sayornis, and the ambassador is here.”  Mara grunted her reply and Andi continued.  “Besides, she’s our friend and she asked us for help.”
     “Mmm,” was Mara’s only reply.  After a moment of silence, she focused on the reason for her visit.  “I only have a little while before I need to go join the ambassador’s household, but it should be time to review the letter you told me about.”
     Crown Princess Lisandra stood as she said, “Right, this isn’t just a social visit.  Follow me; I have it in my desk.  It shouldn’t take more than a moment.”
     Damian shook his head as he watched the two women leave the room.

Running the Risk of Sharing Too Much…

With a title like that, you’re probably eagerly reading this post to see what juicy gossip I’m going to drop, aren’t you?

Sorry, no over-share today.

Instead, I’m pondering how much background to provide in Chasing.  It’s a sequel, so it is fair to assume that the reader has read Butterflies.  However, I want to write it as a valid novel on its own; this requires a bit more introduction to characters and previous happenings.

Some authors write a summary prologue that covers the required background knowledge.  (The nice thing about this is you can skip it without needing the reminder if you read the books back to back.)  Sometimes you’ll see books with introductory or review information included when we need it.  Others just leave it out entirely and assume you’ve read the first book(s).

When I started working on a scene with familiar characters, I found myself stumbling over how much to share.  This leads me to face the important decisions.  How much, if any, information am I providing?  If I am providing background, what am I sharing?  How is this information being passed to the reader?

So I’m going to turn to you, my lovely blog readers, for advice.  How much background “review” information do you want in a sequel?  Have you seen other authors who’ve handled this particularly effectively?

Story Math… Again

It’s time for me to do some more story math.

You may recall that when I wrote With Honor, I had to do math to figure out the correct king for the story.  Since it was a prequel, I had to make the timeline match with Butterflies.

This time I need to decide how much time occurs between Butterflies and the sequel, Chasing.  I am a firm believer that if your characters have made it through the war, machinations, and other adventures of a novel, they deserve to have a few years of peace before it is time for some more harrowing adventures.  In fact, some of the sub-plots require at least some time to elapse between the books.  You can’t be worried that all of your babies are girls if you haven’t had any babies yet, now can you?

I need to look at the plot outline and where we left off so I can calculate the best number of years to leave between stories.  Yay for more story math!  At least this time it’s relatively simple.

Part of Something Bigger

I have found that learning to knit provides a variety of opportunities to learn humility and patience.  Tonight I got one of those lessons; for those of you who knit, don’t try to use the yarn straight from a hank.  Wait and wind it into a ball first.  I got to experience the “tough love” of hand-winding my own yarn ball because I was impatient.

I did put this penance to good use, however, and came to an important decision about Laila’s story.  She is definitely going to be part of Chasing Butterflies.

A sequel can’t simply be an extended epilogue of the characters we already met in Butterflies.  It has to have a storyline and characters of its own.  This is not a “part 2,” it’s a sequel.  Butterflies had its own plot that was basically resolved within the novel.  Chasing has to have a plot to carry it, as well.

Think about a sequel that you’ve read that was a satisfying as the original.  There were familiar faces, but it also had a depth and complexity of its own.  In fact, a good sequel can theoretically stand on its own, although that requires a bit more introduction of characters and creative explanation of back-story rather than the assumption that readers are familiar with the first tale.

At first it doesn’t appear that Laila’s story has anything to do with the big-picture plot of Chasing.  That’s part of the fun.  Eventually we see a (hopefully) familiar face, the story begins to weave its way into the plot, and then, finally, it all makes sense.  This is part of what I’m working hard to develop for Chasing, so that it is as good as Butterflies.  I’m so glad Laila showed up to add her thread into the fabric.

Steps to a Story: Prequel to Sequel

I have been struggling the last few days to find my way with Matthew’s story.  Oddly enough, I have images in my head, I have a good solid outline of the plot now, I’ve got a good feel for Matthew’s character itself.  The trouble I am having is the actual writing.

Unfortunately, when I tried to take the time to formulate some of the first scenes, my brain wandered over to the characters for the novel sequel.  More specifically, the new antagonists for the sequel.  I want to start the novel with these two discussing the lack of spies in Diaea and planning a way to prove their suspicions that it is not true.  This is the scene that my mind began to create.

Of course, as a writer, I had to take advantage of the moment.  I switched gears, at least for one scene, from prequel to sequel.  I’ve got a rough version of that first scene written, with place-holders instead of names for now.  I’m hoping to get at least a few of the more vivid images from Matthew’s story written while they are fresh, even if it means writing out of order, and then I might shift my focus for a while and go with Butterflies 2.

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