Serials and Collections-My New Approach (Part 1)

Those of you who follow my blog and my Facebook group know full-well the frustrations I have experienced while trying to write Glass. Trying to get this plot to go right was like trying to straighten my hair on a humid Georgia day: no matter what special treatments I apply, no matter what “settings” I used,no matter how many times I go over it section by section, it.just.wasn’t.going.to.sit.right. And it was frustrating as hell, because I had characters who, in my mind, were awesome and whose story needed to be told. So, I finally decided to do the same thing to Glass that I do to my hair: cut it so it’s manageable and doesn’t become a huge, tangled mess.

Well, about a week ago when I finally decided that the plot as I had planned it was never going to work (shortly after the rift less than two week ago with a beta-reader and when my husband, upon reading that chapter, told me “I hate to break it to you, Sting (that’s Patrick’s nickname for me), but I have to agree with the beta-reader, at least on that part of it. I can’t understand a single bit of what you’re talking about here.”), I finally decided on a different technique. it was kind of an emergency technique. I was fresh out of ideas, and with summer break coming up, I didn’t want to waste valuable writing time. So I decided that while waiting for Glass to somehow blossom in my mind, I would extract what was originally a minor subplot within Glass, tell the full story behind it, and write it as type of a pre-novel. The concept was easy enough, it was certainly better than doing nothing, and I would still get to use some of the characters I had become so attached to.

Do you all remember those Golden Corral commercials, where the chef with wings smacks the customer with a frying pan and the customer says “Golden Corral!’ (or something like that). That’s what it felt like for me when it occurred to me that since the plot for Glass spanned from 1979 to present day, involved many different subplots (some of which I had to cut out but can now bring back!), and was basically just too much for one narrator to tell, I could write a collection revolving around these two families, the McPhersons and the Hawthornes. This has the added benefit that I can develop the backstories a little more (instead of them being just an afterthought in a bigger novel), develop the characters to my complete satisfaction, and, most importantly, tell the story I want to tell without bogging down one novel. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? The first person who can logically explain this will receive a check for a million dollars from me (postdated to be cashed in the year 33,000).

I began to write the plot outline for this pre-novel (that I’m going to call Earth) and it took me less than a day to map out the plot. I send it to my beta-readers who “approved” it, so now I’m getting started. It’s a crime thriller with a twist of romance. When a young couple is arrested for the murder of the girl’s abusive father, defense attorney Vinny McPherson (the same guy that those of y’all who read the prologue already met) finds himself amazed at the lengths these two will go through for each other. In the process of preparing the defense for the couple, he solves another decades-old crime that took place in his own family. Here are the other books in my planned “McPherson/Hawthorne” series.

2. Fire-As a child, Jeremy (the kid who was called Gerald in the original sequel), watched his mother burn to death in a house fire. Although his mother’s rapist has been identified when his lawyer grandfather was working on another case (and his paternity established), he still has to prove that his mother’s rapist was also her murderer. What Jeremy doesn’t know is that this person was acting on behalf of a much more powerful person-and that Jeremy is still a target. Vinny must reconcile with an old adversary in order to help take down a man who has terrorized both families for years.

3. Water-Vinny becomes the defense attorney for his sister Sandy, a powerful politician, who is accused of murdering her husband by drowning him in the bath tub. During the course of the investigation, it is discovered that Sandy’s late husband may have been involved in some racist assaults. Jeremy, following in his grandfather’s footsteps after taking down one of the world’s most powerful men, takes on his first case by filing a class-action suit on behalf of the assault victims.

4. Wind- When Rev. Charles Greene, one of The Brander’s most famous victims, is shot to death in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant, the city of Jacksonville breaks out in riots. Jenelle (who will be Gerald/Jeremy’s cousin instead of his daughter, and is the sister and sister-in-law, respectively, of Valerie and Jeff), along with her family, have to fight for survival during the especially nasty riots, which are complicating an evacuation of Jacksonville when deadly Hurricane Alberto approaches. Vinny and Jeremy, now working as partners, defend Jenelle when she is framed for the fatal shooting-and once again find themselves at odds with a powerful person with an axe to grind.

See I was trying to tell ALL THIS in ONE NOVEL! No wonder I couldn’t iron it out! Granted, I had to make some changes to the plot (specifically, Gerald/Jeremy will no longer be a death-row inmate. I’d become too attached to him anyways and really wanted to make him a more powerful character. Secondly, I had to change some of the family relationships. I don’t want to wait twenty years to tell Jenelle’s story. My favorite change: Vinny lives! He is the character I like the most, and I now get to make it so he’s still alive at the end of the series :).

I am also planning a Minterville series, using some of the same characters from Ice. More about that in my next post. Take care!

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