Starting Over

I’m launching another book as of March 1.

It’s a good one. Of course, you would expect me to say that, since I wrote it, but I AM proud of it. It’s called Tesla’s Ghost, and I deviate from my usual Christian suspense fare to travel into science fiction, which I love. I’ve written a few other sci-fi books before–The Kiss of Night and Infinity’s Reach come to mind. And then there was that steampunk romp called Tom Horn vs. The Warlords of Krupp.

But if you look closer, you’ll learn that Tesla’s Ghost is the first book in a series. One would think having the next book I write as the second in a series would make it easier, but that doesn’t necessarily follow. For instance, you have certain expectations. On a book that stands alone, you can do whatever you want to do and go wherever you want to go without having any repercussions. In this case, I know where I have to start, and I have a pretty good idea where I have to end. What’s challenging is what comes in the middle.

But as daunting as it is to launch another book, it’s also daunting to start another book, the second in the series. For now, I’m calling it Deal with the Devil, but I have my doubts as to whether I will stick with that title. Problem is, I already promoted it in the back of the book that comes out March 1, as in: “Don’t Miss the Sequel: ‘Deal with the Devil,’ Coming in December.” And yes, I locked myself into a deadline as well.

I have a general idea what I want to do with the plotline. I have created the major characters. I have even written a few short stories to help me wrap my head around what is happening in the story. The trouble is how big the story is. I have to keep telling myself not to try to tell the whole story all at one. Like Anne LaMott says in Bird by Bird: “All I have to do is write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame.” Trying to tell a global story with sweeping generalities is not only a good way to lose readers, it’s a road to madness. And I have to remind myself that it’s not a story about the world. It’s a story about individuals–people–who live in that world. I need to focus on the individual stories rather than the madness of the world. And that’s what it’s all about.

At least, that’s what I’m telling myself at this point. I’ll be working through storylines for weeks, if not months, to come before I start writing chapter one.

It’s my process. That’s what happens when you start over.