Series Are Tricky Beasts

Progress on the new book is going well. I’ve assigned it the somewhat cheeky title, “Take the Bai Road” for now and I’m pleased with what I’ve gotten down so far. It’s a very different book than “Bai Tide,” though, and has so far been a fantastic writing exercise.

“Take the Bai Road” is the second in my Bai Hsu, Asian CIA superspy series. I’ve never written a series before. The benefit to having been a reader my whole life, though, is I’ve read plenty of series and have a pretty good idea of what to do.

For example, back story. Back story is always kind of a tricky beast to work with, what with it’s relevance and tendency to slow down the story, but it’s of particular importance in a series. You as the writer have to assume that some of your readers have read the previous book in the series, but some haven’t yet. It’s a fine line between supplying context and bogging down a story with unnecessary information.

For another example, an overarching character arc that spans multiple books. It’s a larger character arc than I’m used to plotting out, so it’s been a great opportunity to expand my scope of familiarity. I have definite plans for who Bai is and where I want him to end up, but getting him there over many books is easier said than done.

mexican-cool-cactus-152853131I also feel like “Take the Bai Road” is a different story than “Bai Tide” was. “Bai Tide” was easy to write, it practically wrote itself and I didn’t need to do much in the way of rewrites when it was done. “Take the Bai Road” will need some doctoring at the beginning, I think, but it’s too soon to say for sure.

What I know for sure is that I’m 22,000 words into the first draft, which means I’m 1/4 of the way through. I like what it is and where it’s going, and it’s giving me a great chance to practice my Spanish.

Just in case you don’t follow me on Facebook and Twitter (I can forgive you for not paying attention to my every digital move, don’t worry), “Take the Bai Road” is Bai’s next mission after the events of “Bai Tide.” The plot can be summed up in three words: Cartels. Conspiracies. Chaos.

Wes says I’ve been speaking Spanish in my sleep. Does that mean my dreams are the writing equivalent of method acting?

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