That is a point emphasized in one of the bossiest and most point-by-point practical books I’ve read on novel-writing.
You Can Write a Novel by James V. Smith Jr.
He approaches the process from a strictly utilitarian point of view; if you are hoping to be published, think in those terms from the beginning: Here, let’s rate your idea. Is it strong enough to sell? No? Throw it out and try again!
Anyway, I’ve been thinking in terms of two books for months now, but Book Two has been much more hazy than Book One that is getting more-done every week.
Seeking to re-clarify things for myself I backed up and tried to name my three story strands– the magic number, remember?– and actually found them this time.
- Linnea’s journey from abused single mother to strong defender and cherished wife
- The journey of the mysterious stranger from slavery and isolation to freedom and community
- The almost love-story of another pair of secondary characters (yes, I’m sure anybody will guess. It’s part of the fun of prediction, isn’t it? Knowing you’re right).
Once I had these clearly before me I could look at what I had bumped to Book Two for the wrong reasons. When those pieces were added/returned to my current document it suddenly clarified the question of what Book Two was actually about.
Currently it’s nearly a complete thematic opposite, which is fascinating to me, considering how important I see the original themes.
It also made this finishing process a bit easier because now all of my three strands are happening where we are now, and the time line of the second book may be fitted to this one, rather than trying to write them simultaneously (I was drowning).
As a side-note the compilation bumped my word-count by a solid 10%. This can be good or bad, but I’ve determined I’m not going back to iron out the added sections until I reach *The End* of my current track.