The commentary on The Medusa Coin continues! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Over the course of 11 months from 2012 to 2013 I put together a very, very, VERY rough draft of The Medusa Coin. It was my first attempt at writing a novel in five years and it showed.
Also during that time, my cubicle neighbor was reading Signs of Portents in its comic book script form. He loved it. The second he finished he asked where the sequel was and when he could read it. I told him it was coming. Then he asked what was in it.
When I finished describing the narrative his FIRST question was: What about who killed Beth?
His second question – What’s the deal with the Greystone?
I had no answers. I told him he would have to wait and see. He then wondered if either was mentioned in the sequel…
The flaw in my grand design was quickly discovered. I set out to fix the narrative as quickly as possible.
(Four years later…)
When writing a series sometimes it isn’t about answering every question but making sure each gets some forward progression with each installment. That is what I realized as I went about rewriting and reworking The Medusa Coin.
Not having any mention of Beth’s fall in the original draft was a weakness. One I couldn’t let stand.
I didn’t have an answer but I knew the direction I wanted to go. This moment was seminal for Loren’s character – it drives him and to ignore it felt out of place to say the least.
I also didn’t want it to take over the narrative.
Enter the dreams…
By having the dreams run in the background of each novel and show their evolution over time it becomes a touchstone for the reader. This plot still exists and the reader realizes it without losing the momentum of the story they are currently enjoying.
Stringing the reader along is never the goal and it does become a fine line. One I worry about with each Greystone novel published.
But have no fear, true believer, the answer is coming next September.
The secret of the Greystone
The original outline and subsequent drafts made no mention of the Greystone’s mystery (or that of the Bypass for that matter…) I realized pretty early on the loss of Mentor would open a gap in Soriya’s knowledge. Her teacher is gone and she is alone with this awesome responsibility.
Eventually the questions would arise. By opening the novel with the stone losing control it brought this lack of knowledge to the forefront and created a nice mystery for Soriya to pursue in the background of The Medusa Coin.
The revelation of more Greystones being out in the world came much later and I am so happy to have stumbled upon that thread. It has opened so many opportunities for future tales and you won’t believe the impact it has on the series to come.
Pulling away from the main narrative…
Subplots are necessary when crafting a series. There has to be an end goal for the protagonist. There has to be a question to be answered or a mystery to be solved. They keep the reader coming back for more. They keep the series interesting.
But they can also pull the reader away from the main story. Finding the right balance is tricky and one of the points I struggle with when crafting the books. I think it is why I ignored them the first time around. Was that the right answer?
No. Subplots increase the tension and carry the story over multiple novels. They excite the reader and drive characters forward rather than leave them stuck in place.
The second part of building subplots and the title reveal for Book Five of the Greystone series!
Thanks for reading.