I wrote more than 156,000 words over November and December. During NaNoWriMo I wrote about 60,000 which was almost all of Part I of my novel. I kept writing, diving into Part II. It turned out to be more than long enough to consider both parts to be separate novels. The Jubilation of the Southern Cross is 71,500 words. Hearthsong is 84,500 words. I’ve left it open for a Part III if I feel like it.
Writing polyamory is definitely a challenge, but it’s one I adore. I tried to keep the focus in this book to just a couple of characters, and for the most part I succeeded. Of course, the first book is about three people forming a relationship. That’s not too much of a stretch, even for pronoun use (any author who writes same-sex love scenes can tell you how difficult pronouns are!) I intended when I got to Part II (which turned out to be a second book) to continue focusing on these three and one more, with a couple others who are important yet never get a POV. I did that, even though there are a host of secondary characters I try very, very hard to ensure don’t get in the way of the story and confuse the reader.
I’m not sure I succeeded.
Writing a polyamorous story gets complicated. It’s very difficult to do by focusing on just one character. Focusing on two or three, even four works, but if the relationship has more than four people, someone is always going to get second billing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be an issue.
The other thing about writing polyamory is that, once your characters get their HEA (That’s ‘Happily Ever After’ which is a requirement for romance. It can also be defined as an ’emotionally satisfying ending.’) there is still the possibility of their relationship-unit having a further romance with another individual or group. For a writer, that’s gold, because it means I can write a sequel using the exact same characters! Usually in romance, the only sequels are writing the individual pairing-off stories for a series of siblings or friends.
My original intention, from my first Kingdom Come novel until this most recent work, was to write a story that was completely contained in just one book of 50 to 100 thousand words. Now I’m thinking that I’m better off having sets of stories, either 2, 3, or 4, that tell the stages of the romance. For example, Dogs, Cats, and Allergies (NaNo 2010) was three parts that could be three books. In Dogs, three characters get together. In Cats, four different characters get together. In Allergies, these seven meet each other and an eighth ties them all together. (Note to self… Dog Lovers Drink Coffee, then Cat Lovers Drink Tea, then Allergies and an Unhealthy Addiction to Softdrinks)
I’m going to polish and query The Jubilation of the Southern Cross and Hearthsong before any of the others. But then I can’t decide which should be next… Dogs, Cats, and Allergies could work. There was a reason I hesitated about that…now I can’t think what it was…shoot.
One of my favorite stories is Under the Radar (AKA Scharona’s story) I just took out the rough draft, and it’s 89,000 words. That’s with a very bad, rushed, and not-really finished ending. The main issue is that a lot of what happens in Scharona’s adolescence is very important. But it takes up way too much time. However I could split her story into parts, and spread it over several books, each of which would be a complete story.
Under the Radar references a very important event in the Kingdom Come Universe. Although the various sets of stories can each be read completely apart from the others, they are set on the same world, and certain events (like the 500 year celebration for the colony) The same event is central to The Scar. And one of the minor characters in The Scar shows up in Scharona’s life after the initial romance(s)…
Another issue I need to keep in mind is the repeated themes in my story. I have at least two stories that use ‘Younger woman idolizes older man, then as an adult realizes he’s not all she fantasized him to be, but loves him anyway.’ I also use the ‘woman moved to KC from another planet and experiences polyamory for the first time.’ I have several stories where at least one woman gets pregnant.
So…ack! I’m still stuck at what to do next. But the good news is, I don’t need to decide right now. As long as my mind is away from The Jubliation of the Southern Cross, it’s good.
Then again, it might be a good idea to get my brain out of the Kingdom Come universe altogether. I have the Pangalactic Sojourners and Victoria Pontifex series sitting unfinished. My Biblical Speculative Fiction The Genesis of the Incorporeum comes out in an antho soon, and I’d like to write another Incorporeum story for the next antho in the series. I have an urban fantasy short story The House on Paladin Court that I like, and has received several very kind rejections. I’d like to finish The Bachelor on Paladin Court and write The Baby on Paladin Court.
I also have in mind a short story called The Joined that purposely takes a completely different turn from the Kingdom Come novels. The ‘rule’ I made up for the KC universe is that starships should be vastly huge things because the same (very expensive and hard to maintain) FTL drive will move a freakishly huge object just as easily as a very small one. So I decided to design a world where the opposite is true. Only small ships can travel between the stars because the wormholes created to jump those distances can’t be too big or they rip stuff apart and get wild and wooly. Also, in Kingdom Come I never, ever mention aliens because, if I did, the books would suddenly be about how humans interact with those aliens and not about how humans interact with each other. In the world of The Joined there are thousands of alien races.
I need to keep notes on all these stories. I can’t write them all at once. Hopefully, this stock of starters I have right now will keep me going for a long, long time.