Titles for a trilogy or series can be tough. For my trilogy every book is titled Where the Horses Run, but with Book I, II, & III noted, and each having their own subtitle–Mass Extinction, Sacred Hills and Ciphers. Since I started it that way, I’ve kept it and only refer to it as the Horses trilogy (H1, H2 & H3), though it’s definitely about more than the vanishing horses. And it’s certainly about more than Elle, the main character, though she’s set up as the books’ writer basing it on her journal notes. It’s been years in the making and a very complex work to keep track of. Hope I never do it again.
To make it more complicated it has a prequel with a totally different name, because it can be a read-alone book. There were parts of the book with past-history back story that had to go somewhere, right? I do have a sequel planned with a different title and, like the prequel, only to be listed as the sequel. I’ll try to make it a read-alone also though it will have some the same characters. Anyone reading H3 will wonder what the world is like after….so one last story, a thriller with Tommy as MC.
Then there’s the spin-offs. Could I make it any more complicated for myself? The first is with all the Native American parts of the Horses trilogy put into a separate book from their points of view–tricky work. I was told it was the best part of the Horses stories and should have its own book, so I’m polishing it now as I also do my semi-final edit on Book II — quite a challenge.
The other spin-off is a children’s series, each subtitled The Secrets of Meshyah’s World, but with different titles to each. After the same title on three with similar covers, I liked doing it this way better. I only have the first out, so far–Tree & Sky. But the real Horses series spin-off — of how everything gets set up in Meshyah’s World — is yet another book. It’s actually the book Meshyah’s story comes from and leads to. You see there will be a journal sent back in time from Meshyah’s World (set in a very different future) to the world of the Horses series and found by secondary Horses series characters who will then be major characters in the new book. Did you get that? Hope so. It’s really been fun to write. And since this involves current Native Americans and the reservation, I have another children’s story that occurs in the same time period and is affected by the things that happen in the world as they are told in Where the Horses Run.
When I have a character, or characters, whom I like I want to develop them further. Writing them in new stories helped with the character(s) development as I wrote them in the Horses series. When the write-up sounds good enough, they become new book ideas…spin-offs.
They have all been fun to start, set up, make bookcovers for, and get copyrights on, but if you don’t think having a city’s worth of characters over a span of hundreds of years in your head is easy to keep track of, think again.
You know, I actually only have two books, and two children’s books planned (plus one already done with no distribution plans to date) that are not connected to this first trilogy. Amazing how one idea leads to another. It makes being a writer lots of fun and very interesting, even when it’s hard work and a bit (Did I really say ‘a bit’?) mind boggling.
- Latest News on “The Dark Proposal” (megancashmanbooks.wordpress.com)
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- Dave Astor: Why Sequels Are Sometimes Superior (huffingtonpost.com)