This post contains spoilers for several of my Kingdom Come novels, which are not yet published. Heck, some of them are only in rough draft or outline form.
Maybe it’s the kind of post that should be kept private, but I find I do some of my best ‘thinking’ through my fingers over a keyboard. And by the time the novels are published, this will be an old and forgotten post. Maybe I won’t even tag it…
I came to the revelation this year while writing The Jubilation of the Southern Cross and Hearthsong that my Kingdom Come novels work best in sets of two to five or so. JSC and HS are a pair that could easily have a third novel added. Then I took Under the Radar off the shelf, and realized it could be broken into as many as five or even six stories. In fact, separating Under the Radar into several novels essentially saved the story. A lot of what I’d written worked best as backstory, for two characters in particular. Sprinkling that backstory through several other novels makes for a much better overall story. The challenge is to make sure the individual stories are complete, interesting, and don’t repeat too much.
This revelation continues to prove to be a good thing for almost every Kingdom Come novel that I have. Overshadow was an attempt to write the entire story using only two POVs, concentrating primarily on one character and secondarily on another. But a couple of the ‘extra’ characters are very interesting, and they’re part of the HEA. I could easily write a companion book to Overshadow focusing on two different characters. And Cara would like that… she knows I choose one of her pictures for a particular character (Stark) and she sometimes asks how it’s going.
I’ve debated many times which story to query. I almost queried Dogs, Cats, and Allergies shortly after its first round of editing, when a critter pointed out how unwieldy the back cover blurb was with eight main characters. That’s understandable. That’s also difficult to avoid, with a polyamorous erotic romance. Right now, JSC & HS will most likely be what I query, with or without part three.
Good! JSC & HS will be the first. But what next? I’m working on Under the Radar and I won’t bore you with the titles of the individual books. I love this story…Scharona is close to my heart, and when I started writing Kevin (who began as a real a$$) I fell in love with him all over and realized he isn’t the a$$ everyone thinks he is.
But the problem with Under the Radar being next is that it includes The Fall of the Adelaide Faire.
The FAF is not a novel. It’s an event. See the word “spoilers” up there? This is one, but not really a big one. It’s in at least one blurb. I do not have a separate story arc that covers all the KC stories. (Well, I do have a story that brings some stuff together in a satisfying way, but that’s down the line…) My KC world is analogous to Regency England in the historical romance genre. It is the setting. There were rules of society, customs, ideals…not to mention the physical location. And there were historical events…who was King or Queen? What wars were going on elsewhere?
The FAF happens about twenty or thirty years after the colony’s 500 year celebration. (Overshadow happens during the 500) A huge starliner, the Adelaide Fair, crashes into the planet. I will not go into details here. There’s too much. What’s important is that this event touches the lives of just about anyone whose story happens at that time. It starts with Charity (whose picture is The Lady of Shallot above) who is the one noble who should be the leader of all the rescue and recovery efforts, but she is giving birth to her first child when it happens. The Scar is centered around several characters involved directly in the rescue and recovery. In the beginning of The Scar we meet a background character who will be a main character in Under the Radar.
So…maybe Under the Radar shouldn’t be next, even though it’s what I’m working on right now. It should come after The Scar.
Now that I’ve rambled on, I think I’ve found my answer. Dogs, Cats, and Allergies should be the second story/miniseries published. That works…for one thing, the way it’s written, it’s already broken into three books. I know that Dogs and Cats together met the NaNo goal of 50,000 words and then some. I need to check. Most importantly, the entire story wraps up literally days before the FAF.
OK. I feel better now that I have a plan.
But there’s an important step in here I need to work on, and work hard…
- That starts with querying the agent of awesome.
- Before that, I must polish JSC & HS to be worthy of the agent of awesome’s attention.
- They are sitting on the shelf now, and they must for at least a few more weeks.
- In a few weeks, I can do revision one, then send revision one to Beta readers.
- While JSC & HS are with beta readers, I will do revision one of Dogs, Cats, and Allergies
- When JSC & HS come back from betas, I will do revision two. (and possibly three, if after doing R2 I find there’s something major to tweak.)
- Then it’s off to my special catches-everything proofreader (hopefully Heather’s available!) and a last round of polish.
- Next, writing the query, which might also need some critique and revision.
And the big step of putting it in front of an agent’s eyes, and hoping for the best.