Three Books in Three Stages

Three Books in Three Stages

When I started writing Small-g City in 2006, I had no idea the world I created would inspire a series. I hadn’t written a book-length piece in years. Small-g more or less insisted on breaking the boundaries of the short story I’d intended it to be and morphed into a novella. In 2010, when I picked it up after a long hiatus and wrestled it into shape for submission, I realized the characters had a lot more to do in our world, and in theirs.

This week, I’m looking at the editor’s typeset version of Big-G City, book two in the series, due out next month. Reading the story again, I’ve caught last-minute changes and found ways to better align it with book three, Beyond Big-G City.

They say J. K. Rowling had all seven books in the Harry Potter series outlined before the first volume was published. My process has been, to put it kindly, less deliberate. Today I had to make a minor adjustment in Big-G to keep it in line with Small-g. It was a matter of changing a few words, something only a fanatical fan of both books (someone I hope to meet one day) would notice, but it would have given me nightmares if I hadn’t caught it before the release date.

The first draft of Beyond, the third book in the series, was completed last month. After reading it through and taking reams of notes, I realized it’s time to create a book of facts about the Small-g/Big-G/Beyond world. This involves organizing piles of notes and character bios from all three volumes into a usable form, an encyclopedia of sorts that I can, in theory, turn to when I have questions about people, places and things. Questions had arisen in getting Beyond down on paper:

What is the name of Zeus’ and Hera’s butler? (Hughes)

What floor of Olympus, Inc., headquarters is reserved for Continental Managers? (ninth)

What is the name of Aphrodite’s mortal world hot tub franchise? (Rent-A-Room Hot Tubs)

I culled the answers as I read through Big-G, and also discovered questions that need to be addressed in subsequent drafts of Beyond:

Does Ganymede own a brewery?

Does Veronica have more time for her cat, Bill Gates, Jr., in book three?

Will Ares ever stop dyeing his hair?

Creating a world is a rush, but it’s also a lot of responsibility. A world needs to be real and consistent within itself. People, places and things that don’t ring true within a world’s context are distracting and grind the story to a halt. The last thing I want a reader to do is search for an earlier place in a book to see if I screwed up a detail.

Book four exists in phantom form in my head. I’ll work out the specifics as increasingly refined drafts of Beyond emerge from the first draft swamp. Hint: it will not be titled Big-G City Goes to College.

Drawing Reminder

One more week to enter the “One Word” drawing announced in last week’s blog. Details here:

Unintended Consequences, a new anthology from WolfSinger Publications, will be awarded to the winner. The volume includes my short story “Transformed,” a comic-horror tale that prompted my mother, who loves me, to shake her head and say, “Sometimes I wonder where you get your ideas.”

‘Til next time, happy reading and enjoy your summer.

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