on story webs: this is what my brain looks like

I hope this doesn’t blow anyone’s mind, lol!

I’m tweeting all the time about my 23-or-something books in progress. This is to let you know that I’m totally not joking.

For a while I was talking about Leslie’s story, which I thought was going to be the next book out the door, but Leslie is being difficult, so now I think Corbin’s book will be next. If any of you remember, both Leslie and Corbin were secondary characters in Exactly Where They’d Fall — Leslie had a much smaller part as one of Drew’s cousins, and Corbin played a larger role in the story as Amelia’s friend. You even got to meet Leila in EWTF, though you’ll probably remember her as Corbin’s friend, “the earthy brunette”. Leila’s book will likely be finished soon after Corbin’s book is done.

I’ve been meaning to append a note to the back of EWTF (there was a vague note about “though this is not a traditional series, you will see these characters again…), which will attempt to explain what I’m doing here. What I want to say is: these books are part of a complicated and sprawling web of interlinked stories, novellas, and novels, spanning forward and backwards in time, and flowing through several friendships, families, and romances. While each story is whole and can be read independently, they can also be read together as part of a larger web of human connections.

And if that doesn’t do the trick, everything makes better sense with a diagram!

(click for bigger)

See? So think spin-offs rather than sequels. Jodie is the only character who gets what could be considered a proper sequel.

Some of them are more certain than others. See “Anna (?)” — I think Anna probably has a book. I’ve written down a couple thousand words of notes for her, and I even have a scene written for her book, but it’s so far off that I’m unsure about it. I probably won’t decide for sure until after both Leslie and Moira’s books are finished. Moira’s book is much more substantially drafted.

Looking at it now, I think it’s sort of fateful that I finished EWTF first, so that it could end up here in the middle like this. It was certainly not the first of these that I began writing — that was Danny & Lexi’s book, Paper Birds (which is still coming too… some day.) So I’ll admit I had no idea I was about to do this when I released EWTF first, but I am glad it worked out that way.

And likewise, since shelving Leslie’s book (temporarily), I’m beginning to think it’s better that I did, for now, because I’m not ready to work on Moira or Anna’s books yet. And seeing it all laid out in a chart, I have a feeling readers would prefer to read one whole “branch” of the web before I move on to other branches. So later, when I am ready to work on Moira and Anna’s books, then I can release Leslie’s book too, so readers won’t have to wait ten years to hear more from that family.

But I’m sharing this diagram because I know a lot of readers for EWTF have said they wanted “more” after having read EWTF, and that it felt sort of unfinished. Well, personally, I do consider that book finished and resolved as far as the core story is concerned, but perhaps people are picking up on the “wanting more” because there definitely is so much more to tell! I’ve always enjoyed working with a large cast of characters, watching to see how they complement or conflict with each other, and especially how the outcome of one’s actions can affect another, sometimes spinning off a whole new story of its own. I hope you all find it interesting too!

I was never sure if I should have billed EWTF as the start of a series, because it isn’t one, really. It’s different, and bigger, and more complicated than just a series. But it is indeed the start of something.

3 thoughts on “on story webs: this is what my brain looks like

  1. In all the times I’ve heard you talk about your books, I somehow missed that Jodie was getting another one! I think I also missed that you’d managed to tie Danny and Lexi into this universe as well. I still think this whole idea is incredibly cool, even if your brain must be spilling over with all the ideas you have!

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