The Sunken City Capers series is now complete! I published The Cleaners’ War Book 5 last month and was planning on taking a well-deserved break until the new year before picking up my next project. Except, that’s not how writer brains work.
I opted instead to reread MK1 with an eye toward outlining book 2 and beginning to draft before the new year. I figured it would be a low effort to refamiliarize myself with that world and figure out where to go next. Boy was I wrong.
Three things were immediately apparent. The first was that the writing was choppy and in desperate need of a smoothing pass. The second was that I really needed a series bible before being able to sit down and brainstorm book 2. And finally, the third thing was that the character arcs were not hitting on all cylinders as they needed to be to make the book work.
I smoothed out the worst offending sentences as I went, but didn’t spend too much time here as the text is likely to change several times before publication. The actual smoothing pass will come once all three books are complete and will be an absolute nightmare to complete—but that’s a future problem.
I’ve known for awhile I need a series bible and even looked into it once before, but taking a step away to finish Sunken City Capers and coming back to this world brought the need into sharp relief. This is a sprawling multi-POV space opera. There’s a lot going on, a lot of different technologies with their own rules, artifacts, societies, characters, etc. I’ve spent some time on how to organize the budding series bible and even printed out a copy of the novel to reread again with multi-colored highlighters to help pull what I need, but I haven’t started that effort yet.
Instead, I’m focused on mapping out the character arcs for the two main characters. I’m rereading “Creating Character Arcs” by K.M. Weiland and taking the time after every chapter to answer all the questions and really think about it. I’m only one chapter into the book and the first set of questions, but it’s already helped a lot, so I’m convinced this is the right path.
With all this work to get MK1 into shape, it seems unlikely that I’ll be drafting book 2 by the new year. But I was supposed to be off anyway, right?