Back to the drawing board…

If you’ve been reading some of my more recent posts, you’ll know I’ve been shifting information from later books in my War of Six Crowns series to the second book. Not info dumping, mind you. Just… enough to make things more interesting all round. 

But. 
Okay before I get into that, I should explain to the readers who recently joined. Once upon a time I wrote a book called Doorways. While querying and submitting Doorways, I contemplated (and possibly should have followed through on) self publishing it. As a result, I wrote the sequel while Doorways was out being queried, since I saw value in having the sequel ready to edit after publishing the first book. 
However, the publisher I sold Doorways to insisted I split the book in two, effectively turning a four book series into a five book one. Doorways became The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice. 

But. (And now we’re all on the same frequency)
Splitting Doorways means adding information and changing focus and all sorts of things to its two halves in order to make them books that could stand alone. 
Which has put a bit of a wrinkle in my plan. I like TVK and THC like they are now. And honestly, I think they’re much stronger books than Doorways was. What I didn’t expect was that I’d go to the sequel to THC with the view to rewriting it, and discovering that I’d have to draft it again from scratch. 
Again… let me explain. I always write two drafts to a story. The rough draft, where I form the foundation of what the story again, and the rewrite, where I take what I’d learned in the draft, form a plan, and write the story around the plan a second time. (Main reason being that all my roughs are hand written. So I always have to rewrite in order to get the story onto the computer in order to edit.) 
What all this means is that basically, nothing that I’d written in the sequel (let’s call it Wo6C3 because it has no name yet) can be used in the rewrite, because none of the major things originating in TVK and THC are being addressed. Which means I’ve had to put three months of rough drafting into my publishing plan for Wo6C3 when I thought the rough draft was done. 
Which, if you know what my plan for the next five years looks like… is just annoying. Oh well… a writer has to do what a writer has to do. And sometimes, I just can’t plan for these things. 
So… at this moment, drafting Wo6C3 will be my priority for Camp NaNo. (All while editing THC.)
Anyone else find that editing one story makes the sequel you wrote obsolete? 
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21 thoughts on “Back to the drawing board…

  1. Ugh, I do feel your pain. I had a similar problem with the sequel to Reborn. While book one was with my critique partners, I started outlining and writing book two. When I got comments back, I realized changing a character's status would change quite a bit of book two, so it screeched writing book two to a halt until book one was done and published, so now I know how to fix book two, which requires a new outline and a new draft, for the most part. Good luck, Misha!

  2. Yes, I agree, Cherie, with a series, what happens before (is published) affects what can be written in what follows. Can be a pain, but it improves the overall story arc and readers appreciate it. Good luck as you move forward!

  3. Good luck, Misha! Haven't faced this exact issue, but it's often challenging to strike the right balance and pick up important threads for Book 2. Sounds like you have a plan!

  4. Dividing a book into two is so much more than just saying, Okay, there are 30 chapters. Book 1 will end after chapter 15 and book two will start with chapter 16. Shuffling things around, presenting information critical to the storyline at appropriate times, and keeping plot threads from book to book flowing, and more.

    I believe your dedication to doing it right, Misha, will pay off for your readers and their enjoyment of your series.

  5. That is frustrating, but I'm sure the series will be all the better for it. Taking the time and putting in the effort to make things right always pays off. I love how your plan is so detailed 🙂

  6. I've never had that happen but I know for a fact that no writing is ever wasted. It feeds the engine, directly or indirectly building the story you were meant to write.

  7. I had a similar problem with my series, as I'd already drafted the second book before I got an offer on the first one. Once edits came in, I ended up having to do a complete rewrite of the second book because so many things had changed – but it made it a much better story. Best of luck! 🙂

  8. Sometimes, working the way you're kind of being forced to work allows for changes to both works that will tie them together better and make them stronger than if you worked the original way.

  9. Yep. I had to completely rewrite one of my YA novels because an agent told me my voice was too young for YA. That also meant I had to rewrite books 2 and 3, which I'd already finished. I learned not to write book 2 until book 1 was at least purchased!

  10. I feel your pain. It has happened to me, and I'm still struggling through it. Changed one of the details about the main character that had a trickle effect into everything that followed. Had a panic attack over it. At least the revisions now feel so much easier, even though I've had to scrap over 20K in writing… *sigh*

  11. I am so sorry you are feeling so frustrated. I would be too. I am editing book one and hope to fix book two when I do it's editing in a few months. Though, I already know a few plot points and characters don't match that of book one and will need serious changing. I know you will find a brilliant solution that will fit your writing perfectly.

  12. I split my first book into three separate novels, and yes, had to rewrite tons and tons as I revised the first book of the series. And sometimes, writing on the sequels made me change things in the first book.

    Good thing the first novel in the trilogy hasn't sold yet.

    Sounds like you are diving into the project with a will to “go with it” though, and that should help get through all the rewrites.

  13. The Memory Wars was originally going to be a 6-book series. Books 2 and 3 became Silent Oath when I was asked to do a complete re-write on the sequel to Locked Within, and combine my ideas for the two books.

    With a massive chunk of the series' plot truncated, I decided that I would turn Books 5 and 6 into the final part of a trilogy, and scrap my plans for what was going to be Book 4 entirely.

  14. oh yeah, editing one story OFTEN makes the sequel obsolete. On the other hand, I feel like thinking about the sequel is one of hte main ways I ever get any depth into a novel–because I usually incorporate all of the sequel ideas INTO my current novel.

    Good luck, and it'll all work out.

  15. I did discover some of that when I finally finished Champion in the Darkness and realized that about four chapters of Champion in Flight didn't make sense – of course it wasn't a four neat chapters, it was four chapters worth of material scattered throughout the book. Yikes. However, I still think I started out my next draft farther ahead than I would have without the original rough draft. (not sure that made sense when I typed it, hope it does)
    I might be joining you at Camp NaNo – will decided in the next day or two. 🙂

  16. I feel your pain and frustration! Wow…I am sorry to hear this~ But I know you can make it work-you are very talented! Handwriting-I am jealous!
    I can't read my chicken scratch! I look forward to hearing more~

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