Everything has a shelf life, even story outlines

Even when I was a child, I often dreamed in episodes. What is that, you might wonder? Well, I would have a nice, long dream one night. The following night I would dream its sequel. Weird, right? I agree, it is. The first time this happened to me, or my first memory of such a thing is from when I was ten. And since then, I have done it often. So, guess it was no surprise that when I sat down to write my first novel, it spawned into a multi-book series.

I decided very early on that Maia’s story would be told in five parts. I had a nice sketch of the storyline broken into five sections right before I started drafting the first part. It was definitely as easy as it was fun in the beginning. The workload was not as much as it is now, the story was just getting started and the characters were young and not as complex. Writing the first book was a challenging project because it was my first time writing, but other than that, keeping track of the story threads was not too overwhelming a task. The second and the third parts simply flowed – I was having a ball.

Then, I had to slow down a little – I had  to start thinking about publishing my novels, my work life was getting rather demanding, and a new baby waltzed into my life. A few years passed by in the blink of an eye. Finally, when I was ready to get back into the business of writing again, I encountered one of the biggest challenges – I had not looked at my story sketch in years and in the meantime, the characters had grown so much that the old story did not make much sense anymore.

What fun! I was aiming to write a 1000 words a day, and here I was stuck with a story that had expired. It was frustrating. I wished I had taken up a less complicated project, or rather a smaller project. I wished I had drafted all five parts without taking a break in between. I wished … Oh well, I realized there was no point simply wishing – I had to rework the story for parts 4 and 5. And so I did. I had to sequester myself from my daily tasks, banish every old idea from my head and think fresh. Two days later, I had completed the outline of part four. Now, I could write my 1000 words. YAY! What a relief, at least for a few months.

Note to myself – when Maia’s story is all told and another character shows up demanding your time, remember they can only have book each. No more series, no more dreaming in sequels.

—  Author of “Maia and the Xifarian Conspiracy.” Now on Amazon.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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