Growing an idea

The book I’m working on is a YA paranormal.  I hesitate to call it a romance because, although there is some romance, it’s not a primary focus.  The premise is that a girl who’s lived her whole life traveling the country in an RV with her author grandmother and her mother who haven’t told her anything about where she comes from or who her father is.  When they get a call that a great grandmother she didn’t even know she had is dying, they return to the town where she was born.  It’s at this point that she’s told that everyone in the town is a witch and not only is she too a witch, but she might just be the most powerful one alive.  They also reveal that they removed her from the town to protect her from assassination attempts from people who feel threatened by her abilities.

When I first started thinking about this story a couple of years ago I pictured the society that makes up this town.  I explored the idea of a society that’s completely dominated by women.  I asked myself questions about how the men would interact with the women in such a society.  When I was done I had a pretty interesting world to work with.  Somewhere along the line, I lost all my writing notes.  That might be the single most devastating loss of a “thing” I’ve ever experienced.  That notebook had pages of notes for 3 or 4 pretty solid story ideas and dozens more pages of story seeds that could have been developed further.

Since I’ve started this project I’ve been rebuilding those notes as best I can based on what I remember.  A funny thing has happened though.  What started as an idea for a single book has taken on a life of it’s own.  The past few days I’ve started finding myself thinking of story arcs that are just too big for one book.  I think I’ve decided that what I’m actually looking at is a trilogy. 

I’m glad I’ve decided that early in the planning stages because it’s given me an amazing opportunity to make sure that I’m laying the groundwork for things that are going to happen in the second and third book from the start.  This is a very ambitious project for me to undertake.  Although I’ve always toyed with the idea of writing a series of books set in the same world, I’ve never really thought of them being interdependent on each other to tell a story.  I would liken it to Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changling books.  Each one builds on the information from the books that come before, but each one features new characters and could be read alone without being totally lost.

I’m fairly pleased with my progress so far.  I’ve plotted out about 2/3rds of the first book with a good idea of what happens in the other 2.  I need to figure out exactly how I want the ending to work and then I’ll start writing my outline.  Once I’ve got that done, I might take another day or two to make sure I’ve got a good grasp on the characters (I haven’t decided what any but my main female actually look like) and then I’ll be ready to jump feet first into the actual writing.  It looks like I might even get a head start on my projected timeline. 

I think I’m going to need all the extra time I can manage.  I have about 6 hours a day that my youngest son is occupied by school, napping, or his early bedtime.  The thing is that those blocks of time are spread out throughout the day.  I’m finding it really hard to get into the right frame of mind fast enough to make a lot of headway.  I can tell already that this is going to be one of my biggest hurdles to overcome if I’m going to be successful at finishing this novel.

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