Immediately after I finished the outline for the first of the Spectrum books, I sat down and wrote a plan for the rest of the series. In all, I wrote a two-page outline for the first book, a one-page outline for book two and book three, and then a paragraph each for books four, five, and six.
I’m sure there are some authors who can sit down and write a book as planned, keeping everything just as planned, but I’m not one of them. As I wrote book one, I learned a lot about the story and where it wanted to go, and while that meant the core storyline that ran through book two would be the same as initially planned, a lot of how we got to each step of the story would need to be different. After I completed writing Spectrum Blade this summer, I sat down the next day and wrote an all-new outline for what needed to happen in book two, without looking back at what I’d originally planned.
This ended up being sort of a fun exercise. While the gist of the plot is the same, the new version is a lot more nuanced, less capable of being read as a stand-alone fantasy story (which is probably good, since it’s the second book in a series…) and definitely a lot longer. The major beats are the same, but the book itself is going to be totally different from what I’d originally planned.
It’s neat how stories grow that way.
Revisiting the original plan helped me flesh out what was important, though, and helped me solidify my vision for the next book. It helped make the idea a lot more focused. It also shaped the plot twists to be a little more intense, which I hope is a good thing. It also helped me determine how I wanted to structure the series as far as POV went; while Spectrum Blade remained entirely in Zaide’s perspective, Paragon of Fire will introduce a second point of view. The goal will be for each story to help us get to know each character a little better before things come together for a higher POV count in the last two stories. Will that work? Don’t know yet, but it’s something to try.
While I’d hoped to be working on Paragon of Fire by now, I won’t have time to do anything before I need to focus on editing Spectrum Blade. I still hope to have the book out this fall, so I can’t break up my focus now. But revisiting the outline and really dialing in what I want to achieve with it helps me determine what I need to watch for as I edit book one, too, because it’ll help me lay a better foundation for the things yet to come.
I’ll be starting my rewriting pass for book one next week, then the book will be off to the editor to finish it. If all goes well, that will make Spectrum Blade ready for release somewhere around November 13, which means I can start writing Paragon of Fire the day after.
Fingers crossed it works out that way.