“Not So Fast,”Book 1 says to Book 2.

In a previous post, I talked about how I’m writing my first sequel, possibly series, and I keep discovering things which I am sure series writers knew in their kindergarten years of writing: slow down!

The reason for the slow down is that I now realize that book 2 affects book 1, or at least can affect book one. Silly for me to thing it was the other way around. Yes, of course, book 1 is the driver of book 2, but by the time I started writing in book 2, it became obvious as the sand on the beach which I’m currently staring at that I could make book 2 better by changing some aspects of book 1.

This is where outlining comes in, which by the way, I don’t do. I can’t stand outlines. Even if I took the time to write out where I wanted my stories to go, or the overarching aim I’m shooting for, it would be a waste of time. My brain is too scattered. It’s too inconsistent. It’s driven by new ideas in new directions every single day. I would most likely deviate from my outline on day 1. So  what’s the point and what’s the solution?

The solution is simple. Slow down.

My book 1 has been finished for a long time. I could have already published it, but I’m glad I didn’t. Once it’s published, it’s locked in. So as I write book 2, I’m able to dip back into my book 1 plot and make changes which won’t be fully realized until book 2. Yes, I’ve already done this, and it’s a big deal and will make the overall series of books, whether 2 or more, much better because of it.

Bless your  keyboard if you are one of those lucky ones who has an organized brain driven by an outline. Good for you! However, if you are a writer like me, and tend to have a tangled mess up there, the best way to protect yourselves is to slow down. As new ideas come to you, you’ll be able to adjust your previous unpublished work.

The longer wait will be worth it in the end.

Writing and Driving

I was in Kuala Lumpur this weekend on an amazingly fun softball trip. During the 5-hour drive home, I decided to do some writing.

No pen or paper. No gadgets. No voice activated recordings. Just me in my thoughts, navigating a tricky plot sequence of my third novel.

Thinking is the part of writing that you can do anywhere, even when you are supposed to be doing something else. I must admit. My mind can often wander into that far off land I’m creating with my Scrivener software, and I often do so to the great detriment of what my present task actually is. Thoughts can be so vivid and distracting, can they not?

From my experience, I have two ways of thinking. Sometimes a thought will just come to me and it becomes an instant action item – I must write it down or I’ll forget it. But today’s writing (by thinking) and driving wasn’t like that at all. The process today emphasized more of a layered approach to writing. What do I mean by layered? Well, from the way I reckon, writing is all about having layers and layers of thoughts which eventually shake themselves through a tightly fitted mind sieve until only the most salient and beneficial elements emerge. Today, I was just throwing some possible ideas in the sieve. When I finally get back to actual writing, I’ll remember the general ideas of what I hashed out at the steering wheel and that will help me formulate my final direction.

Even without a computer, one can have a productive writing day.

By the way, I also had productive driving – quick trip, with no incidents. And a series win in softball. Productive all around.