Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

On to the next task


I sent it off yesterday. Yep, my manuscript, all revised/edited and everything.


Now to take a sort of break. Hubs and I laid out the garden last night, and I started planting before it got too dark. The problem, though, is it’s raining today, so I won’t be able to put in the rest of the garden until tomorrow at the earliest, depending on how much rain we get. Probably not until Monday. Ugh.

My youngest is graduating from HS tomorrow, and her grad party is next weekend. And here I thought after I got my manuscript edited and sent off that I’d have a few days to relax and do, well, not nothing–my house looks neglected, and I have yet to completely finish unpacking after my mini writing retreat, so I won’t be kicking back and eating bon-bons (though I can see enjoying a nice glass of wine πŸ˜€ )

Anyway, apologies to everyone; I’ll be trying to catch up on blog reading this weekend, so I’ll get there πŸ˜€ I’m just really far behind!

After that, the next task will be outlining Book 2. I was struggling with it this past winter, but my Writing Sisters helped me out (love you guys!). I’ve got a more solid (and interesting) plot now. Multiple books in a series can be a challenge, especially when you write the first book without much thought about the next ones. I mean, unless you go in with a multi-book story arc for a trilogy (fantasy books are great for examples of this), how does an author come up with Book 2 or Book 3?

The exercise is fun, because you’ve spent so much time with the characters, additional books are an excuse to spend even more time with them–provided you aren’t tired of them. I knew the next books would take place at airports or at least around airplanes because my main character is a female aircraft mechanic. The options are to stick with the same setting in Books 2 and 3, or venture off to other places. Staying in the same place works for most mysteries, I think, but an airport is a pretty limited setting when you think about it. Just how many bad things (read: dead bodies) can happen at the same one, even if it is as big as the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport?

The fun thing is, every major and most minor cities have airports, and there are air shows throughout the summer, which are great venues for more nefarious stuff. Putting the main characters at a different location opens the door for more story opportunities, but that also means leaving behind (at least for a while) supporting characters the reader may have fallen in love with in Book 1.

For instance, in Book 1 I have a character who is like “a grandmother channeling Cher”. Fun lady, and one of my editor’s favorites, but she won’t appear in Book 2 because that book takes place in a different location than Book 1. Same with another supporting character, who is a friend of my male lead. The crime scene team leader is like the buddy you met in college, and you still get to work with each other on occasion. Kind of the “invite over for a weekend BBQ” or “watch the game” friend. My editor also liked him, but again, he won’t appear in Book 2.

So what do you do about those characters? Obviously, if a future story (provided your editor/publisher or another wants it) is set in the original location, those characters will appear. I feel kind of bad about leaving them out, because I like those characters, too. I won’t get back to them until maybe Book 4, but I may never write Book 4. Maybe I’ll write a novella that is set at the location in Book 1, just to spend time with those characters again.

Anyway. Rainy day activities like cleaning (ugh!) and catching up on reading blogs are on tap for today. May you have a great relaxing weekend! Write on!

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, six chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

25 thoughts on “On to the next task

  1. Well done, getting that book sent off! I’m very happy for you! And I know just what you mean about those characters. Just goes to show how well-developed they are. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Margot! It’s both a relief and the start of the next bout of nervousness–will my editor like my revisions? Will she send it back with more comments/changes to make? And what about Book 2? I want to take a bit of a break, considering graduation is tomorrow and the party next week. I still need to track down pictures for the display at the party. And the garden. Hoo-boy. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Congratulations Julie! Do fun things and chores and just be…that is if hunky muse will let you.😊 .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Miriam! I love how you put “fun things” and “chores” in the same sentence πŸ˜€ And I suspect my Muse is off on a pub crawl. I’m sure he’ll be back later to get me started on Book 2! Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Yeah! Congratulations, Julie! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ I’m very happy for you and it must be a huge relief/joy to have sent the revised ms to your publisher! Happy Gardening break … where the weather will allow and have a brilliant time celebrating your daughter’s graduation. You raise some good points about series books … and even I feel a bit about the β€˜friends’ being left out of Book 2! However, think of the new favourites you’ll create and bond with! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Annika! It is a relief, and I’m taking a break this weekend. After a rainy morning, the sun has come out. Maybe I’ll be able to finish putting the garden in tomorrow after all after the graduation ceremony. Man, time sure flies, doesn’t it, when you realize your youngest is now finished with high school for good!

      Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Julie, I’ll be there next June when my son finishes school!! πŸ˜€ I can’t believe we’re looking at universities already! Best of luck with your daughter on her new steps in life. xx

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Congratulations, Julie. Book 1 done! Enjoy the break and coming activities. Hopefully it will be a sunny day for your daughter’s HS graduation. And you get the garden going. Have a peaceful weekend. Christine

    Liked by 2 people

  5. That’s so amazing! Congratulations! I hope one day I can say the same. I’d love to hear how you got to where you are.
    Have a great break, Julie.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Congrats on getting your manuscript in the mail!! Yay.
    I can imagine how difficult it is to write a sequel to a book that was written as a stand-alone. I haven’t been able to do it. But it sounds like you have a plan, Julie, and that’s awesome. You have some great characters that I’d be happy to read again. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Diana! I think I spent weeks trying to come up with a premise for a second and third book after my agent mentioned it. And hit a few dead ends, but my Writing Sisters helped out. Nothing like getting a bunch of writers together to brainstorm! And is that an offer? πŸ™‚ So glad you liked it! Now, graduation, garden, and prepping for the grad party. Any idea how to get a few more hours in the day? πŸ˜€ Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Congrats on finishing your manuscript– as well as a congrats to your soon to be graduate! I hope you do get that bon-bons moment soon! It is hard to let go a character you love and not bring them along in the next book although I quickly found recently certain characters might follow along anyways! And being the same place would be hard, too. Guess I’m a fan of traveling characters for that. Have a great rest of weekend and enjoy your down time, even if its to play catch up!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, D! I hope I get a bon-bons moment, too, but after graduation my daughter decided she had to go shopping, and since we’re a vehicle down, I took her. On the bright side, she found a really cute summer dress on clearance πŸ™‚

      I like your thought about characters following anyway–sounds just like them! Traveling characters can be fun, or at least that’s how I’m going to approach it. Wait, down time? Damn, missed it again πŸ˜‰

      Have a great week!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Whew! Congratulations for completing your edits, Julie. I suppose your muse is out bar hopping. I hope you can relax with that much deserved glass of wine soon. And that you have fun celebrating your graduate’s milestone. That can be an emotional time, too. Interesting dilemma to do a series when you didn’t start out that way. Your writing friends sound like treasures. Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Molly! Yes, a nice glass of wine to quietly enjoy while the Muse is out whooping it up πŸ˜€ Thought I’d get some time after the grad ceremony to do some more catch-up, but my daughter decided she had to find a dress for the grad party this coming weekend. So, the rest of the day shopping–ugh. She did find a really cute dress, tho’.

      My writing sisters are gems! It was so wonderful to see them in April (even with the blizzard), and can’t wait to see them again in August at the reunion. We’ve got another fun project in the works πŸ™‚

      Have a wonderful week! Hugs to you!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Congrats! That must feel awesome. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, a huge “Whew! Finally!”. Now I’m just waiting to hear back from my editor. Crossing my fingers she likes my revisions!

      Now, to finish putting the garden in–it really will be smaller this year, honest! πŸ˜€

      Have a great week, Betsy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oooh, gosh. Waiting to see whether or not she likes the changes. Not sure which is worse, the pressure of making them, or waiting to hear back!
        Sorry, that probably doesn’t help! πŸ˜›
        Yeah, garden! Let’s focus all our thoughts on that! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  10. I can so relate to this post! When I wrote book 1 of my current (Hode’s Hill) series, I had zero idea what I was going to do for books 2 and 3. And then like you said there are the character issues—who to bring back and who to let go. It’s great we have so many avenues to explore as writers. Plus it sounds like you have a lot of flexibility in setting with your series. Interesting times indeed!

    Congrats to your daughter with graduating. I can imagine you’re going nuts, LOL! Hang in there and wait for the dust to settle. It’s all good stuff! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s kind of stressing to have to figure out what to do with the characters for the next book(s), but on the other hand, it’s fun to imagine the new situations to dump on them. The beauty of writing fiction!

      The graduation ceremony was unexpectedly emotional for me, I think because she’s the youngest. On to the next step, which will be another adventure πŸ˜€

      Have a great week, Mae!

      Liked by 2 people

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