On to the Next Case

detective-tales

Progress Update: I’ve completed the first chapter (1,686 words) of the next book in the Memory Noir series.

Yes! Progress at last.

Last fall, even before The Memory Thieves was officially released, I knew I wanted to write more books set in the world of that story. I turned at first to the idea of bringing back the main character. Writing a series of novels with a recurring protagonist can be a great thing, but that just didn’t feel right for Jacob. Sure, I could have written a prequel before the events of The Memory Thieves with him, or used any number of other tactics, but they all would have felt forced. Jacob’s story was complete at the end of the first book. End of story.

I thought about continuing with another character, having them step into the protagonist role, but none of them really came out the other side of the story in a position to become my new protagonist. I did write a short prequel story following one important character (which I’ve mentioned before), but it was just a story. A short slice of additional characterization. That wasn’t the road forward.

Fortunately, I realized that it wasn’t the characters I wanted to keep, it was the world. Once I accepted that, some things started falling into place. I pulled back from the world and really looked at the “rules” I had set up for extracted memories, brainstorming how those properties might fit into a noir/crime story. Based on what I scribbled down, I matched those ideas to the kinds of characters I’d like to write about in that world, and boom, I had a list of plots. Titles even popped up after a little more thought.

My original plan was to write “The Redacted Detective” next. I even came up with a rough cover for inspiration:

The Redacted Detective

The issue then became that every time I tried to outline the story I would get stalled. I shifted to the other storylines I’d brainstormed, trying different things. I finally settled on a different plot, “The Recollection Game,” which involves a serial killer and a female protagonist who works with memories. I tried outlining that one beyond a few chapters and got nowhere. I got discouraged. I felt something like this:

lazybook

Then two days ago, I found some motivation I didn’t know I had and made a decision. I was going to start writing the story just like I did The Memory Thieves. I’d write¬†¬† the first couple of chapters by the seat of my pants, and THEN outline. That first chapter just flowed. I finished it in just a few hours, and (not to sound egotistical) I think it’s good. I think it’s really good.

So, I’m going to write the next chapter in the next week or so, and then figure out the exact outline of the rest of the book. Why not, It worked before! Unlike The Memory Thieves, I’m not planning on putting up the novel on Jukepop or releasing it as a serial. I don’t have a set schedule. This one will need to be a bit longer and carefully woven to work, so I want to take my time and not rush it.

Why? Because I want to end up with a finished story that makes me feel like this:

ben