I’ve drafted three out of the four volumes of The Warstone Quartet and I’ve got a start on the last novel. Why am I drafting all of these books at once… before I publish the first one? I finished writing Sunstone, book two and found that I wanted to put the Sunstone character in Moonstone, my first volume.
Originally, these were going to be standalone books with the characters all showing up in the last novel. As I wrote, I realized I wanted them in all of the stories, even if it was a walk-on part. So I decided to draft all of the books, since the times basically overlap, to align with each other. It’s easier to shift things around in draft mode than it is after I’m about ready to publish or even after publishing one of the novels. I’ve added a couple of new characters and changed the motivations for others. I think this technique is working for me.
I did outline all of the novels after I drafted Moonstone. The outlines act as guides to keep the plot firmly in my mind, but the muse sometimes takes hold and I depart from the script. The end remains pretty much the same.
How is it going? I think it’s going just fine, but perhaps I’m not the best judge, so I’ll write it that way and have an alpha reader tell me how much I have to modify. I’ll have something around 400,000 words in the quartet. That’s 1,200 pages, folks.
When I have this much invested in the entire sweep of the story, I get a bit anxious. The last book, Darkstone, is more than a continuation of the three books. The first half is a biographical story of the principal antagonist, who is just a name in the other books. Then it folds (hopefully seamlessly) into the events leading up to the big conclusion. Perhaps my alpha and beta readers will reject it all.
In any event, it’s quite an adventure.