It’s happened again. One of my stories has insisted on growing beyond itself or to say it more accurately, it’s insisting on growing beyond my original expectation for it. I know this may sound odd to you, especially if you’ve never attempted to write a story, so let me try to explain, but hold onto your seat as I go a bit woo-woo on you.
As an author, I believe I am a channel to a higher power, and that higher power is the source of my creativity so in essence, I’m co-creating the stories with this higher power which I refer to as my Muse. At least that’s the case in my finer moments. In truth, it is my Muse that is the source of all my best ideas. And from time to time the story I think the Muse is offering turns out to be larger than I had originally anticipated. Over the past thirty years of being a writer, this has happened a number of times.
From Short Story to Trilogy
Take Babble for example. Babble originally came to me as a simple science fiction short story, but without a satisfying ending. I tussled with it for weeks. I even sent the story to an author friend of mine for his input. He liked the story a lot but also didn’t know what the ending should be. As I remember it, I believe he was the one that suggested that the story might actually want to be an entire novel. Of course, I resisted that idea initially, but then my Muse intervened and started pointing the way. By the time the book was finished, it had become clear to me that its growth wasn’t over, thus Rabble unfolded next. (Book 3 is in outline form.)
From Two Trilogies to One Mega-Series
A similar but different situation arose when I had the ‘brilliant idea’ (from the Muse no doubt) to combine two of my SF series into one long series. After all, they had similar themes and time periods, so why not? I put brilliant idea in quotation marks because of what I was to later discover. It was one of the most challenging endeavors I’ve ever taken on as a writer; challenging and ultimately fulfilling. Thus the FreeForm six-book series was born, and truthfully, it’s one of my most satisfying accomplishments as an author to date.
From Book 5 to a YA Spinoff Series
This time it is Rainforest Shaman, my current work-in-progress that’s acting out. It started out to be the fifth book of the Zak Bates Eco-Adventure series, but it wasn’t long after starting it that I began to wonder about it. For starters, it has some pretty mature themes taken from my own life as I’ve struggled with a diagnosis of cancer. It also has a much more involved plot with three different storylines that come together at the end. That’s when my Muse reminded me of a dream I’d had for years but had forgotten about. I always thought it would be neat to have a book series where the characters would grow in age and maturity as the readers grew as well, and I think Rainforest Shaman may be just that. In fact, the good ol’ Muse is encouraging me to allow Rainforest Shaman to become book one of a spin-off trilogy (or new YA series) of the Zak Bates Eco-Adventure series.
This is both thrilling and more than a little daunting. My connection with my Muse is thrilled by the idea while my identity has its share of doubt and trepidation, so what’s new? That’s part of the journey of being an indie author. I invite you to follow along. It should be a fun journey.
Please note: While I’d love for everyone reading this to jump over to my bookstore to pre-order Rainforest Shaman, it’s highly unlikely to be ready for publication in the first quarter of the year as I had originally planned. Still, isn’t it nice to have something in the future to look forward to enjoying?