All along I've wanted the freedom to go a bit
I'm having a lot of fun right now plotting out the details of The Far Beyond, the second book in the trilogy. The overarching story is all planned out, of course; I have the climactic scene of the third book so scripted in my mind that when I think about it, it plays in front of me like a movie... a big, bad, over-the-top effects movie like a cross between Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. :) I have the big scene in The Far Beyond laid out too, but a fair bit of how we get there remains open--and that's a good thing.
Until the writing started, I have to admit I was a little afraid that The Far Beyond might be a disappointment to some readers. It probably will be the shortest volume of the trilogy, but even so, I was afraid the content might be a little thin. For one thing, while The Just Beyond rides along on grand science and philosophical themes and Beyond All Else is going to be a full blast cosmic spectacle, The Far Beyond's story is highly personal. Michael isn't out to save the world or figure out why the universe seems to be going crazy around him--he's just looking for his brother. He'll have plenty of surprises, and the TFB narrative is critical to what happens in the last book, but it's very focused and at first, I thought, ran the risk of feeling a little subdued.
No more. What's come to me in the past couple of weeks is an outline that steals some of the thunder from Beyond All Else to make the second book more adventurous and complelling. And that's really exciting for me, because my greatest joy in these last two books is the opportunity to paint on a blank canvas. All along I've wanted the freedom to go a bit Alice-In-Wonderland, and now, instead of putting that off to Book Three, I've found a way to get to it sooner. Book One of course was largely set in the mortal realm, and while plenty of wild stuff goes on it all had to be reconciled with what readers know and perceive about the tangible world. In the second and third books I get to make up whatever I want--the only limitation is that it be consistent with what was revealed about the Afterlife in The Just Beyond. As it turns out, that only scratched the surface... and now the second book is going to present much more of the Afterlife's underbelly and its context in the divine battle than I originally thought. I can hardly wait to get into it. :)
Which I'd better go do. The new PC is mostly set up now and I'd really like to finish writing TFB sometime this summer. It's not a stretch, the book will definitely be shorter than the first one (for one thing the publisher thinks the TJB manuscript was too long) and I learned a lot over the course of last year about how to write fast and efficiently. I also want to have some substance to post about and publicize to build an audience for the second book once the first one is published and (hopefully) people beyond just my family and friends are reading and getting excited about it.
The one thing I'm not sure about is how much of the plot to reveal. My small readers group is going to get the whole thing, of course, receiving each chapter as it comes out for comment and critique, but I don't dare reveal the whole thing or even any plot spoilers on the Internet. I'll figure it out, though. I've found this novel-writing thing is teeming with unexpected delights to discover along the way, and it's best just to smile and let them happen. :) - Mark