The Craft, World Building
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Beginning My Next Novel

©2013 Richard Lund

Okay, so here I am…I have two finished books shopping for a home, one of which is well on its way to publication. So I should finish the epic fantasy, right?

Hell no.

I’m writing the sequel to Blood Chimera, my debut novel. Because when folks finish reading that, I want them to have a book they can jump right to, or at the very least, know that it will soon follow.

Oh, which reminds me: Avast! Here there be spoilers!

Go away if you don’t want to accidentally find out details of Blood Chimera.

You still here? Okay, let’s get this shit started (as Ze Frank would say.)

So the first thing I do, the very first thing, is pick out music. Yeah, yeah, I know, but I like to have soundtracks when I’m planning a book. And this is a pretty music heavy book. There will be nightclubs, concerts and stuff as we spend some more time in Hollywood and along Sunset Strip. So let’s see…I start with some David Bowie, and then add Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga — because the villain of this book is basically an amalgam of those three anyway. Add some Doors for nostalgia. Jack’s mother Vivian is going to have a larger role in this book, so let’s throw a dash of Killer Queen and Fluorescent Adolescent (her theme songs.) I fill in the gaps with anything that stirs my fancy. It ends up being about 50 songs total. I’m not worried about order at this point, this is just mood music:

I’ll edit and muck about this as I go, add or remove songs etc. (I can already tell I’ve been dangerously remiss in leaving out the blues and jazz,) but this is just background noise. Once that’s done I hit play, lean back and do some serious thinking.

So I typically like to start with characters, and here I find that a significant amount of the groundwork has already been done — I’m inheriting a lot of people from the first book, including the main villain. Although he doesn’t appear in the first book, that wasn’t always true — in the first draft Zander Sin did show up, so I put as much effort into developing him as anyone else during initial world-building. I know there’s a few characters missing: I’ve already decided the baddie is going to be blackmailing our hero to do something naughty that will probably involve someone not yet introduced, but I haven’t as yet figured out the details. Kidnap? Murder? Robbery? So many possibilities. Also, In the first book, the villain of the piece drove most of the action, but in the second book I’m going to reverse that. The good guys are already focused on the villain of the piece, pointed towards him by book one. Now they’re actively going after him, Leverage-style.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. He’s a slippery bastard.

For this second book, I’ve decided I’m going to try Ann Greenwood Brown’s Frame Method, because I like the idea of getting the story down, as Amy Good would say, during the honeymoon period. This may be a disaster! I haven’t tried it before, so it will be utterly new to me. However, I’m going to predict that it will probably be better than my previous method of getting 3/4 of the way through the book, running smack headlong in the The Wall, and wildly flailing through a total re-write.

Yeah. Let’s never do that again, okay? Okay.

Then I move on to scenes. These are the ‘nice to haves.’ I don’t have a plot yet! I just have locations and situations that I would really like to fit in to the book if I can. (These are also, by the way, almost invariably my darlings, and there’s a good chance that at least some of these are here because I think they’re ‘neat’ and not because they do a damn thing to support the story.) This is a wish list. All of this might make it in, or none of it may.

And…I’m not posting that list here.

It’s one thing to spoiler a book that you could actually buy, but Blood Chimera likely won’t be available for months yet. I’m only that mean to my heroes! Suffice it to say, it’s a list of places I’d like to visit in the story, character arcs I’d like to see explored, and stuff I think is just plain cool.

Now to sew it all together…

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