Saturday, February 7, 2015

What Happens Next?

Behind the Story of Centenary Separation (Part 1)

Warning:  this post contains spoilers for Millennium Crash and Centenary Separation, and I recommend reading those books first.  Also be warned that this shows the ‘sausage-making’ aspect of writing, which some of you may not want to know about.

As I finished Millennium Crash, I considered what would be next for those characters, trying to find a story big enough for book 2.  The first thing I saw was that whatever adventures Sam and Bailey would have, they’d be far removed from what the other characters were doing – so I set those two aside for Book 3 and looked at the rest.

The end of book 1 had Matt and Page planning to fix the professor’s master time-travel device, and I knew that could only go horribly wrong – the question was how.  Also, by the time Matt and Page were ready to test the ‘repaired’ watch, Verity would’ve made an honest man out of Turner.  And he would see an exciting trip through time as a natural wedding gift for his new bride.  They would have an unforgettable honeymoon.

The travelers had already been separated in space in the first book, so they’d be prepared for that possibility.  But in this book, they’d be separated in time.  Since the professor’s watch was capable of traversing much greater temporal distances, and since two of them had devices incapable of independent travel, they might be more than simply separated, they might get lost entirely.

Starting with the sudden separation of those four travelers would make a nicely dramatic beginning to the book.  It would also provide a chance to contrast the two relationships.  Though their storylines would be somewhat separate, they would all start from the same precipitating event, and they were linked thematically throughout.  I had my idea for book 2.  And since I already had an idea how Verity’s story would end, I thought I’d have an Anya prologue to establish the trip the others had taken and then an epilogue showing the end of Verity’s story from Anya’s point-of-view.

But there was an aspect of Millennium Crash that I wanted to revisit, literally – the professor’s accidental death that kicked everything off.  There was a secret about what had really happened there, and I wanted to deal with that sooner rather than later.  Anya had to be the one to do that, and with most of her colleagues away, it would be a time of temptation for her – she would make a rash decision to try to change the past.

Since Anya’s story would follow directly from book 1, and because it was so central to the main story of the Watchbearers series overall, it needed to be part of book 2, even though the only real connection would be the bit at the end with Verity.  It still fit with the overall theme.

And then there was Nye.  Left to her own devices, Nye alone on the streets of New York City was asking for trouble.  And since she was studying the architectural engineering of buildings in the city not long after the events of 9/11, it was easy to see what kind of trouble she’d get herself into.  But I didn’t think her adventures would tie into the rest of the book.  I figured they would probably work better as a separate short story, but I decided to go ahead and write ‘Nye’s Tale’ as I wrote the rest of their stories.  And it’s a good thing I did.
Next:  Part 2 – Separate Stories

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