Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tackling the Sequel

With The Evolution of Janie done for now (well, except for minor revisions and those nits that keep popping up) I've been working on the sequel, The Reconstruction of Janie. I already have an idea of where the story is going and I even think that my trilogy may be pared down to just the two books. So knowing where I'm going is wonderful, and even having an idea of where it will end is even better. The hard part is where to start.

Due to changes I'd made to Evolution my previous start to the sequel just wasn't going to work. So, I took a stab at an alternate opening, Janie and Marcus facing the council, that way I could recap what happened in the first book. Problem! It then felt more like the next chapter in the book, and like an info dump. Definitely not what I was going for.

I've had an idea that ties very nicely back to the opening chapter of Evolution, but I'm still torn. Where do I draw the line with the recap of info? Having an info dump is just too tiring, not just for me but also for the reader, because really if they wanted to know right away what was happening in the sequel, shouldn't they read the first one? I hate getting a sequel and having to wade through a retelling of everything that happened before, so why would I, as an author, want to do that to my readers?

At this point, I've managed to find a spot to start. What I've written with the Council scene will stay (with a bunch of cuts) and will come after my new Chapter 1. What I had from a year ago will also stay, although I'll need to do a lot of edits and revisions (five chapters of plotline that I'm keeping is too much to toss).

So, knowing where I'm starting is great, right? That's what I thought, then I began to wonder how I will distinguish Reconstruction from Evolution. And really, that's through Janie. The Janie of Evolution, starts off alone and weak, and by the end of the book she's facing her father and mother and has a sense of self-worth. Janie in Reconstruction is stronger and refuses to allow anyone to take away the confidence she's gained. Janie isn't what's giving me the problem now. In my head her voice is right, it's telling me exactly what she wants to say and do. The problem is my own voice trying to come through for Janie. I've been trying to tell her what to do and I've hit a road block because it's apparent that it's not flowing. The only thing I can think of to do is tell myself to just shut up and write. Which is exactly what I'm going to do - finish chapter 1 right now.

On my iPod:

Cleaning out my Closet by Eminem

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