So I finished the first draft of Book 4 of Daughter of the Wildings and was planning Book 5, when one night it came to me, as I was brushing my teeth, that there needs to be a sixth book in the series.
panicked, wondering if there was enough story left to make up a whole
other book. But as I thought about it that night (I usually lay awake
late at night working out plots and story problems in my mind) and sat
down and did a bunch of scene brainstorming and story development the
next day, I realized that yes, there does have to be a sixth book, and
there's plenty of story for two books instead of one. So a Book 6 there
I think I've known, way deep down, for a
long time that it would take another book to finish off the series
properly. For a long time I had envisioned the events of Book 5, which
moves the story from the frontier - the Wildings - into the civilized
land of Granadaia, as being the climactic events of the series. But that
just didn't seem right. The series is called Daughter of the Wildings,
and it's about that uncivilized frontier land, its unique magic, and the
connection between Lainie Banfrey (the Daughter in the series) and the
land and its magic. Finishing it off in Granadaia without coming back to
what is the heart of the series would be an unsatisfactory ending that
doesn't fit with what the series is about. The more I thought about it,
the more I realized that the events in Granadaia are the leadup to the
climactic events, and not the actual climax themselves. The story has to
come back to the Wildings, to the threats to the land and the people
that have been building up through all the other books, and to the real
significance of Lainie's unique power and her relationship to the land,
and also integrate Silas fully into that relationship, in order to tie
everything together and bring the story to a meaningful and satisfying
As I thought this through, I thought that maybe
the Granadaia part and the return to the Wildings part could just be
two halves of the same book. But the more I developed the storyline, the
more it became clear that the two halves of the book are also two
totally different story lines, each with its own central story problem,
instigating events, development, and conclusion. I aso realized
that if the book was going to be an equivalent length with the previous
books in the series, I was going to have to skim over or leave out a lot
of important stuff, or else the book was going to be twice as long as
the other books.
Therefore, the obvious answer, which
waited for that brainless and bored moment of brushing my teeth to hit
me upside the head, is to split "Book 5" into two books.
think I'm about ready to start writing the last two books. As with the
other books so far in the series, there's this feeling of jumping into
the deep end without really knowing how deep the water is or what's
waiting in there. I know where the books start, and where they end, and
have a general idea of what happens in between, but very few details are
clear. But so far it's worked out well, so I just have to make that
leap of faith two more times. I think I'll just write straight through,
without stopping between books 5 and 6, since I'd already been planning
them as a single unit. With hard work and a minimum of interruptions, I hope to finish the drafts of both books by October.
yay! More time with Silas and Lainie! And none of this is even taking
into consideration my idea for a possible follow-up series.
Note on the story blurbs for Daughter of the Wildings:
All six are up. I apologize for any cheesiness, especially in the last
few. Writing blurbs is hard, especially if you're trying not to give
away any spoilers. And I want to stipulate that in my books, suggesting
that the hero and heroine end up together is not a spoiler. In addition
to being fantasy, my books are also romance, and to be a proper romance
(as opposed to more general love story), you have to have the Happily
(even if things aren't easy) Ever After. It's expected, as a hallmark of the genre. (Plus I hate unhappy endings.) The question isn't if they end up together, but how.
In the meantime, edits on The Lost Book of Anggird are progressing apace (I'm planning a blog post on the worst writing advice ever and how it nearly killed Lost Book), along with the first major revision of Sarya's Song.
Maybe I'll do a post on that too, how I struggled with it for years,
then applied some very helpful story-planning techniques, and now have
the least-broken first draft I think I've ever written.