Holding Back

Not so long ago, I had an interesting conversation with my agent regarding beginning an interconnected series as opposed to reinventing the universe with each stand-alone novel. For the record, I prefer the stand-alone, with perhaps the occasional cameo from a prior, often secondary character, but I was tempted to veer from the plan and work on a true series. She gave me some advice that really resonated for me.

Don't ever start out to write a series, she said. When writers do that, I find they tend to hold back, saving the good stuff for the future books. The problem is, there won't be any future books if you don't pour every ounce of energy, every good idea, into what you're writing. If readers respond, you can always find some way to continue. But if readers shrug their shoulders and move onto the next book, your "series" is already done before its started.
So as you settle in to work this week, ask yourself, am I holding too tightly to the reins of my imagination? Am I "saving" my plot's horsepower for something in the future? If the answer's yes, try turning loose and urging the story to a gallop.

Tomorrow, I will wager, your imagination will lead out a fresh, new horse for you to ride.


Gillian Layne said…
This was so spot on, it's scary. I think I was doing this without giving it any real thought, which is embarrassing to admit as I haven't even sold anything yet.

Great advice! :)
Thanks, Gillian. Glad you found it helpful.

The imagination's a wonderful thing. The more you use it, the more great ideas you'll get. It's a magical well that keeps refilling as long as you take good care of the artist in you.

Enjoy your weekend!

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