I'm working on the second book of a series I never intended to write. My main character, Brocs Harley is a repo man who got caught up in an ugly situation when his little brother is murdered. That book was called Where the Dreams End, and it was Brocs' story start to finish. A vignette into the darkest time in his life and how he dealt with it. Those that have read it, liked it. They liked the character and wanted to see him again. Hence the reason I've started working on book two in the Repo Man Series. The series that wasn't supposed to happen.
I'm thrilled that readers want to see more of Brocs, but I locked a few doors and blocked off a few roads in book one and I'm paying the price now. As I run story lines through my head, trying to figure out how to motivate my repo man into investigating another murder, I find that I don't have as many routes available as I could have. There are just some things I can't explore because of what has already happened in book one. It's making this story a bit hard to tell.
Book one of the Randi Black Mysteries, Murder at Timber Bridge, was set up as a series. From the very first I knew that there was more to Randi than one story, and there are clues to the future in book one. Little hints of mystery or tragedy to come. I didn't kill off anyone important to the future of the series, I didn't block off any roads or lock any doors. I can take Randi anywhere. The difference, Book two in the series is in edit, book three is started, books four and five are roughly outlined. It's a fun road to travel with Randi and her family. Brocs, not so much.
For one thing, Brocs is a much darker character, his baggage is a lot heavier than Randi's. Things that work in Alden for the Randi stories won't work in Stantonville with Brocs. If I had known Where the Dreams End was a series book when I first sat down to write it, I would have done some things differently, but there you go, I didn't, and I didn't.
How about you? Have you ever looked at a story line while you were writing and realized something you were getting ready to do was going to limit what might come later? Did you plan a series from the start? How much leeway does an author have with readers if you choose a road the really shouldn't be available because of what has happened before? Will readers give you some slack, or will you destroy their trust and lost them?
I've been pondering some of these questions as I try to figure out where Brocs is going in his latest adventure, The Sins of My Father. What motivates him? Why does he care so much? What can happen to him at this point in his life to make him risk it for an investigation?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these questions. Drop in and tell me what you think.