For me, a story is rarely told in just one book. I love teasing out the details, making the reader go, “Oh!” when another little gem is dropped on them. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be what so many book lovers expect. It seems that modern authors have a tendency to write single layer stories (and there’s nothing wrong with this!) that run straight from point A to point B. I, however, want to take the scenic route.
Sometimes the good guy really isn’t. Other times, the bad guy had respectable motivations. Maybe an aspect of the world is a bit different than the people living there have always believed. Sometimes, the characters simply don’t know. And that’s the thing. When we write from the character’s point of view, we can only show the reader what it is that the character would KNOW.
This brings a whole lot of challenge to me as the author. Now, for those who know me, you’ll realize that’s a wonderful thing! I love challenging myself. I love setting myself up to fail, just so I can learn from it and grow to be better. This also makes me aware of my own weaknesses, though. As an example, I can not write a weak female character.
Destiny Pierce, the lead female in Flawed (cover art above, planned to release in June) is about as weak as they get. Oh, sure. She has a snarky comeback for everything, but she spends more time hiding from her demons than beating them back. Compare that with Mackenzie, who is as sweet and mild-mannered as they come, but tackled cancer head on. I think Mack wins that round for inner strength. The best part, though, is when I can make a character grow, like Riley. She started out so over confident and brazen but ended up actually learning that she had to care about more than just herself to succeed.
I think this is why I’ve enjoyed writing the Eternal Combat series so much. Each of these girls is broken. They all have a story worth telling, from PTSD to arrogance, without missing a beat for domestic violence, childhood trauma, and poverty. By writing in a series, I get to tie one woman’s story arc to another, bringing in a fresh story to distract the reader while the bigger, deeper, darker picture keeps on going. And yes, there is always a bigger picture in my series. It seems I can’t just do the “well they know each other” type of serial romances. I evidently suck at it.
Maybe it’s from being a fantasy author as well as writing romance? Maybe it’s my own personality leaking into these stories? I have no idea, but working out all the twists, the intertwining arcs of each novel, and then those novels to the series? Yeah, it’s a drug I can’t seem to get enough of. I just wonder if I’m the only one that enjoys it this much.
Tell me, do you prefer a complicated series plot, or are you happiest when you can simply take things as they come, and not try to chase tidbits through a book? I’m honestly curious, and would love to know how others feel.
Sadly, I don’t promise it will change but might convince me to try something new. It would be like a challenge.