By the time you see this post, I will hopefully still be excited about this announcement, since I will be in the throes of editing. I just typed the final chapter on the prequel for my Power of Four Series, entitled Twist of Fate. Yup, as the quote by Mr. King suggests I have opened the door to my writing cave. So far, the draft is coming in at around 36,500 which is a pretty nice size for a Novella, but I am anticipating by the time I am done it could come in anywhere between 40,000 and 42,000 words. About half the size of Playing with Fire.
I thought it might be fun to list some of the reasons I thought it was a good idea to write a prequel after writing 3 books out of a 4 book series. Especially since most folks probably wondered what the heck I was doing. I know for sure I did! I also thought it might be helpful for other writers to see what I learned along the way.
So first, the main reasons why I thought it was such a good idea in the first place, had to do with Motivation, Purpose & Elves (yes you are reading that right).
Motivation: I really needed to know the why behind what Erebos (AKA Shadowman, Roy) was doing. He has changed a lot throughout the three books and I wanted to understand what makes him tick. I also wanted to understand how he got the poop end of the stick in the first place, although honestly he sort of asked for it (but don’t tell Zilla I said so). This prequel allowed me to dive deep into the period of time when he came into his powers and helped explain how he got into deep water with the magick in the first place (Pun intended).
Purpose: So there has to be a point to all of this right? I really didn’t want to get to the end of all of these books and have the reader say… “Is that it?” Or worse yet, “Really?” Although to be honest that may still happen. But, since I have heard various versions of the above statements regarding other book series, even movies and television shows, I’m trying hard not to add to the frustration of the masses. Therefore, after the motivation was set, I needed to understand how each of the character goals ties in with the individual motivations of the other characters. Most importantly, I needed to understand what greater purpose they all serve. Confusing I know, especially if you haven’t read the series, Hell, I wrote it and I’m still confused! Bottom line, the entire series boils down to a simple purpose for all of my characters and for me – Balance. It is what we both seek. Without it, we create chaos and with chaos comes cataclysmic events of epic proportions. Okay, maybe not that bad and sorry to go all preachy on you, but that is exactly where my head is at nowadays. Seems to me that if we truly listen to the earth we live on and the people we co-exist with, we can learn a lot about cause and effect. Simple…and yet, sometimes not. But pretty much my series wrapped up in a nutshell.
Elves: So hopefully you are still with me and so glad this topic got your attention! And yes, I totally mean Elves of the Orlando Bloom variety. So, I challenged myself at the start of this project to draft characters based on discussions I had with my friends, and Orlando’s name popped up since you know… Lord of the Rings and well…did you see him in that? Anywho, the final element I need to write about is Earth, and who is more in tune with nature than an Elf? We’ve had Lycans, Scottish Werewolves, and the three Fates, but so far no elves. Since the time was coming fast when I would have to pull the final story together and include one, I thought I better get on it. It takes a little while to develop a character and really get to know them. To understand how they would react in a certain situation or what they might say, so I wanted to have a little time before I dove into the final book, to get to know our leading man. I have to admit, he won’t be for everyone, but it is only our Heroine’s opinion that matters as far as I’m concerned. It is her HEA. He won’t be meeting her for a while, and when he does he is sure to be extra crabby but cut him some slack. He’s just coming out of a 74-year stint in isolation.
So what did I learn along the way? Loads!
It was faster: Writing a prequel after the first few books allowed me to draft a story with characters and a setting that I was already familiar with, so the writing went a little quicker. I also challenged myself to tell a story in less than 45,000 words, since this book is intended to bring folks into the world I’ve created. I stuck with firm self-made deadlines, anticipating that I would need to start drafting the final book almost immediately. I have found that making deadlines really helps keep me on track.
Valuable tool: Because this book is a Novella, and overall didn’t take as much of an investment of my time and energy, I won’t feel as bad giving it away for free which is entirely my goal. My plan is to use it as an incentive for folks to sign up for my newsletters, which I hope to start sending out in early 2019. If you haven’t signed up and are interested, you can link to my MailChip Here. Everyone who signs up will be getting a copy of Twist of Fate, as soon as I figure out how to get it set up 🙂 Already on there? No worries, everyone will be getting a copy who is on my list.
Tweak of Book 1: Sea of Dreams was my first book, and I have learned so much along the way from the fabulous writer friends I have met. What this means is that my most recent work is stronger than my last, and I want to be sure that the prequel leads into a book that is just as tight and well-paced as it is. After getting Twist of Fate rolling, I will be revisiting Book 1 with my editor and seeing what changes can be made to increase the tension. The challenge will be to have my editing and writing hat on at the same time since I will also be working on the first draft of book 4 at the same time. My plan is to pull together a June 2019 launch for the final book, so wish me luck! Or send wine. Or do both!
Writing this prequel has been an exercise that I have fully embraced and that has benefited me in more ways than I can count. It has helped me to nail down everyone’s motivation and fully understand the message I have been struggling with for the first three books. I am completely ready now to dive in, to tell this story the way it should be, without leaving any unresolved plot bunnies. Time to tie up some loose ends so that I can go on to the next shiny object in my journal! Can’t wait! Have some fun stuff planned for future books!
Have you written a prequel? If so, how many books into a series were you when you drafted it? Would love to know!
Happy writing! XO