You Can’t Be Series-ous! #AmPlotting

For almost 2/3 of my life, Derek’s lived in my head. For those who don’t know, he’s the main character in my big books. I decided his story could be told in 4 installments, which included the discovery of who he is, the consequences of his actions, trying to right all the wrongs, and finally achieving peace.


About 18 years ago, Cameron stalked into my brain. (It’s actually really crowded in there, but people get disturbed when I tell them about the voices in my head, so I don’t mention it often.) He was meant to be only a supporting character, but then we both discovered he was more than he seemed. Over the past decade, his role in Derek’s story expanded to the point that he directly influences it, including the villains planned for book 4.

Last week, I determined I need to figure out the events of book 4 to make sure I had all my squirrels in a row for book 2 (Isto, which is my current WIP). I started down my usual route of exploring character goals and dilemmas, and the events needed to get me to the end. I realized it was going to take a while before Derek achieved his peace. He had to deal with family and PTSD first. Bringing in the villains before Derek’s breaking point was going to muck things up, but bringing them in after felt like I was jumping into a completely separate story arc.

That’s when I came to the terrible realization: This series needed another book.

A few choice swearwords left my mouth. You see, I had my book covers finished for my four-book series. They follow a theme relating to my elemental clans. Lucky for me, I do have five elemental clans. Unlucky for me: the only unused clan has nothing to do with the events of the now-book-5.

That hijacked my brain processes into MUST-FIGURE-OUT-COVERS mode and I spent the weekend logicaling my way through titles and symbolism in a mental shell game. The unused clan fit best with book 3, so book 3’s cover got moved to book 4, book 4 to book 5, and an new cover was created for book 3. But then the titles no longer made sense with the symbolism, so the titles for books 3 and 4 swapped. Then I needed a title for book 5 and I didn’t have a good option that would fit on the cover. So, I created a title that would fit and jumped back into book 2 to integrate it into the story.

It’ll be amazing if I finish this series within my lifetime. On a positive note, I’m finally into rewriting my big battle scene. Once I finish that, I’ll reread the story again before reaching out to beta readers with what will hopefully be an improved draft that won’t require major story changes.

Have you ever planned or written a series? Do you spend time figuring out events for future books? Have you had a character hijack your story?

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

10 thoughts on “You Can’t Be Series-ous! #AmPlotting

  1. That’s good you were able to title and cover swap. I had the outlines for all five books of my series done before I finished writing the first one and managed to make everything fit into place with overlapping characters and time frames.

  2. Everything I write my Muse wants to turn into series. Yes working on more than one series currently. Sometimes I work on future events but Muse has a tendency to one o put them all into the one I am working on, so I jot down ideas here and there. I don’t just set down and say let’s figure out future ideas but maybe I should.

    Hijack me? All the time. Or demand I work their story instead of the one I am working on. Have to watch those villains and side character not to take over too.

  3. I love your thinking and how your characters speak to you. I wish you luck on this new addition in your series. 🙂

  4. Anna

    The closest I’ve come to writing a series is leaving a book open enough to pursue it if the opportunity came up. I think your epiphany is a mix of a curse and blessing. At least you have a direction and much, much more art to work on.

    Enjoy the ride.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  5. Perhaps you should wait on the covers. You never know if a book 6 might make itself known 😉

    But it’s good to realize that some things need to happen now so that things make sense later on. That’s where I’m at with plotting at the moment.

  6. So, that little realization would’ve given me a heart attack. Or something. Obviously, it’s terrifying at first because there’s that part of your brain that thinks the whole thing can’t be fixed (it always can!) Yeah, you had to swap covers and titles and throw a whole weekend into reorganizing the overall structure…but what a blessing to have that final light come on and KNOW what you need to do.

    Happy to hear you’re steering yourself in the right direction! And yes, you’re totally finishing this baby in your lifetime. That, I have no doubt 😉

  7. My characters always hijack my books. I rarely get to steer them beyond a few nudges.

    Glad you managed to work out the covers.

  8. So it got a little complicated! You can do it.
    I write simple, so I don’t have to worry about characters and plots messing up my plans.

  9. I only have a general idea of how the next books in my series will go. It’s a little scary because I don’t know if it will work. It’s amazing how long these characters have been in your head.

  10. I have total faith in you. No epic masterpieces were ever tossed together. I’m sure all of your efforst will pay off in the end.

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