Okay, I promised I would blog regularly about the evolution of a book series. I'm doing my best to keep my word. So, to help me along with this, post questions in the comment section and I'll try my best to answer them.
Book 1, Before the Scarlet Dawn, is now in the capable hands of my new editor Ramona Richards at Abingdon Press. It is ahead of the due date, but that is mainly because I started this novel exactly a year ago. Now I am working on Book 2, Beside Two Rivers. I hope I am not being repetitive, but this book originally began as a stand alone. Barbara Scott, the editor at Abingdon at the time, gave me some plot ideas and I started to rewrite those first chapters I had sent to her. Then it occurred to me this needed to be a series.
Anyway, I am saturating myself into Darcy's story in book 2. It has started off a bit on the humorous side in regards to the family she is living with. A nervous aunt, an understanding uncle, and five female cousins. She is unlike them all, except for having some of the traits of her Uncle Will, who is her father's half-brother.
I had to set this novel aside in order to write book 1. What I am doing now is revisiting the over 200 pages I wrote, and editing them as I go. This gets me back into the story. Then I'll pick up the pace to finish the book.
Here is a tip for writing a series. As you write book 1, keep a log in your other notebooks, of events and scenes that have those characters in it. This way when you are writing books 2 and 3, you will be able to transition to them easily.
For example, Darcy sudden recalls an event from book 1 when she was a child, but only in part. This scene will play a major role in book 2 when Darcy questions what it means, what exactly had occurred that day, and how she deals with what her father told her. It certainly struck fear into this child's heart.
'Darcy shut her eyes and forced back one memory. That of her mother lying still and pale. She could not see Eliza’s face, only a flow of dark hair. She remembered the firm touch of her father’s hands, the sound of his voice, and the words—You’ve heard of Hell, haven’t you? Well, that’s where your Mama will be.'
It is a terrible thing to tell a child, but such were the times she was living in. Since it was a major event in her young life, I have had to reflect on how it effected her, and how this plays out in her life as a young woman.
So keep a good record of events for the subsequent books. It will make writing them much easier. You won't have to jump back and forth between your manuscripts, nor will your readers ask why they were not included. If I fail to include what I shared with you from book 1 in book 2, the story would lapse in authenticity and flow. However, do it with a delft hand. Do not rewrite the scene, only mention it in a way that moves the story forward---briefly in either narrative, which should be very short, in or dialogue. I'm not suggesting flashbacks. They are lengthy and bog down the story. Avoid them, because the reader's interest will be in the unfolding of events in the present.
A brief mention of an event (backstory) that occurred in your character's past that has had an effect on them in the present will add depth to your character's motivation, illuminate their struggle, and explain who and what they are.