Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Series Potential?

I didn’t deliberately write my finished manuscript, The Stone Man, like this. I wasn’t planning for it. Often, when I’m approaching the end of the story, I’ll have three different paths I could take.

1: “The nice path” - where everybody is happy and they resolve every issue. The hero gallops toward the setting sun while little Dorothy wakes up from her delirium-induced dreams about an Emerald City as the detective sits in the bar enjoying a stiff martini with the grateful madam whose case he solved.

2: “The not-so-nice path” - where the vigilante places the flowers on the grave of his family as the other vigilante rests his dying body near the little girl he helped save while the other vigilante hides himself in the heavy trench coat knowing the law will chase after him for the rest of his life.

3: “The strange twisting path” - think of the original movie “Planet of the Apes” where the humans discover they were on Earth all along. Or the movie “Sixth Sense” where Bruce Willis discovers he was dead all along. Or the James Bond movie franchise who has discovered that no matter which actor plays the role or how many villains the spy shoots, it’s the sex scene that the viewing audience wants to watch all along.

Each of these paths has one thing in common for me. They have true endings. Once I write the last word, I place the story away and start with a brand-new idea. I never look back.

Can you guess which path I normally take? Of course it’s the “strange twisting path.” I love those unexpected endings. Nothing gets me giddier than to discover that what I had thought at the beginning isn’t how the storyline plays out. Now, I knew (kind of) how the ending would be with this manuscript. But the other day when I really looked at it, I realized something.

I combined all three paths in a massive story pot involving a little sadness, a little happiness, and a lot of weirdness leaving me surprised. After I reread the ending, I scratched my head at another interesting fact.

“Yanno, I could continue with this. Fast forward the whole storyline to another point and write another manuscript using many of the original characters.”

Well, once this idea lodged in the gray matter there was no way I would get it out. Like a massive brain worm burying in deep, my mind cast the characters’ images into my daydreams as I watched the scenes. That was the end of it. Once I can “see” the story, the idea isn’t going to be leaving anytime soon - not unless I type it out.

Sigh, so much more to write about if only I can get an agent.


  1. I say, go for it! In the very least, it's writing practice; in the very best, it's on reserve for when the first book gets picked up!

  2. If you've created characters that can live on and be written about again, you've not only got the makings of a series, you've done a great job on the first one. If the characters live and breath in your head, you did it right!

    (This comes from a guy who has never written a book, but who does love sequels :-) )

  3. Beth: True, and I need all the practice I can get.

    Suldog: Thanks.

    They certainly do live and breath in my head... and back talk... and do some weird stuff.

  4. On with the series, writer woman!

  5. At least you have realized just how you do things. I'm still working out that part. Ride the wave while you can :)

  6. The best-seller list is populated with authors who have created interesting recurring characters. Stuart Woods, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, to name but a few.

    Go for it!

  7. "Can you guess which path I normally take? Of course it’s the “strange twisting path.” "

    The classic case of art imitating life! Or is that the other way 'round? I get SO confused...

    Back to the subject at hand... I agree with Jim.

  8. Thanks everyone! See, the only major, which is to say that it's interesting, dilemma I have is that one of the characters is kinda... um... alive/dead/a-living-statue-able-to suck-the-life-energy-out-of-other-people.

    Yeah, seeing the story isn't exactly the same as having things worked out. Yet...

  9. Unlike Haley who "sees dead people", you "see story lines". Keep it up and write write write.

  10. Sounds like your mind is hitting on all cylinders. Keep hammering and you will be surprised at how it turns out.
    Coach Oren

  11. Thanks, Coach O and Theresa! It's going to be an interesting experience.

  12. great blog!

  13. Mark: Thanks, and thanks for stopping by!

  14. Be brave Michelle, an agent will come along sometime! In the mean time, all you can do is keep writing and keep hoping.



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