Archive for December, 2008

Update on the sequel… Angus and Daniel return

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries lately about a sequel to TBLP, so I thought I’d bring you all up to date.  Doug Gibson at M&S has been quietly and gently encouraging me to write a sequel and that certainly fits in with my own thinking.  Now that I know my characters a little better than I did back when they were created, I’m eager to embark on their next adventure.  With this in mind, I’ve been working on the outline for the as yet unnamed sequel.  I’ve mapped out the storyline and the major plot points and have created a few new characters to shake things up a bit in Cumberland.  Currently, I’m working on individual chapter outlines.  The sequel will generally be structured along the same lines as TBLP.  I’m aiming for 100,000 words (but who knows?) broken roughly into two parts.  As in TBLP, there will likely be about ten chapters in Part 1 and ten chapters in Part 2.  Each chapter will again come in at around 5,000 words.  (I know, it seems a rather mechanical and unromantic approach that may rob the writing of its mystery and spontaneity.  (Blame the engineer in me.)

I’ve discovered that there are many different ways to write a novel.  I’ve heard many respected writers talk about just starting with a basic idea.  They just start writing and let the characters emerge on their own and shape the story themselves while the author tags along for the ride.  Sorry, I’m not built that way.  Even though I’m hardly experienced enough to know, I felt the first time around at least that I really needed the structure and security of a detailed outline, character sketches, and chapter summaries before actually starting the formal writing.  It was a great sense of comfort to know where I was going, and with whom I was dealing, page to page, and chapter to chapter.  Yet, my outline was still flexible enough to accommodate late-breaking ideas for plot twists and the weaving together of initially disconnected side-stories.

My fear with adopting a much looser and more organic approach to writing is that I’d be forever discarding and/or rewriting huge swaths of text to ensure that the story hangs together all the way through.  I simply don’t have time for that.  I never seem to have enough time for writing so I think it makes sense for me to lay down a detailed story outline so that when I am able to start writing in earnest, I can be very efficient and focused on the prose itself rather than developing the plot and characters on the fly.  It seemed to work well for me the first time around so if it ain’t broke, etc., etc.

Our current political turmoil is a wonderful backdrop against which to be creating, outlining and eventually writing the sequel to TBLP.  A writer could hardly ask for more.  Stay tuned…