It’s difficult to admit some things sometimes when it comes to your work. You don’t want to be seen in a bad light, and have it reflected on your abilities and skills. This being said, the recent release of Fear of a Successor Wife isn’t entirely what I had intended it to be.
Whether it’s with age, the high levels of stress and anxiety due to Covid, I was struggling to keep track of every detail in the monster book I’ve mentioned before. I reached a point where I was halfway through (around 160k words) I couldn’t remember if I’d mentioned some details to reinforce an event that happened in the story. This has never happened to me before, and it was sobering to find a limitation I’d never encountered before.
I wasn’t about to let this stop me. I split the story into two books rather than struggle endlessly with trying to keep track of everything in such a long story. If you’ve read any of the Joan Hudson Series books before, you’ll know I often like to have a warm-up story in the beginning. This gets you comfortable with the lead character before getting into the meat of the story. In 8mm Model, Joan has to fulfill an assassination for the Order she works for. In Desperate for Divorce, there is the somewhat silly Piss Door Caper, where she first meets Bunny, who appears in later stories.
Each of these warm-ups is a complete story that leads to the main plot. It just so happens the warm-up for the monster book was over 60k words long. Now released under the title Fear of a Successor Wife, you get to meet and experience the wonderful Carla Levant, who is one of my favorite characters that I’ve ever written. And guess what? In the next Joan book, you’ll be seeing a lot more of her as the plot continues. It’ll take a while for it to be released because it’s still 100k words and less than half finished.
It was the difficulty in realizing this limitation, as was the decision to release them as separate stories. Since then I’ve been spending time learning some programs to help me keep better track of what information is revealed and where. I’ve already planned out the plot and subplots and Story insights using a flowchart program, and it has become a lot more approachable. Biggest lesson in all this is: Never let a chance to adapt and learn pass you by.
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