As you might be aware, I wrote a book that is a companion to my trilogy, Woven.
I might have mentioned it, not sure.
I loved writing Grace, it was a ton of fun. But it was also really difficult! I’m writing another book about a world I’ve already got three years of history with. Three books of already set in stone world-building and an established canon.
There are pros and cons of writing a companion novel for a trilogy already in the world. This is something that I’m sure Suzanne Collins could tell you as well. Let’s take a look at some of them.
I already had a lot of information in place, and some of it I didn’t like anymore. Broken Patterns was my first published novel. I think it’s pretty good, but I’ve grown as a writer since I wrote it. I’ve learned a lot about world-building and character building. Looking back, if I was to rewrite Broken Patterns I would make some serious changes. But that’s not a choice I have anymore. It’s out there, for better or worse. I think it’s for the better because I would forever rewrite the same story given half a chance. When I now have to write again in that world designed by a younger writer, I found myself wanting to fix things. Things that were already set in stone, that I couldn’t ret-con. More’s the pity.
I had to take time researching my work while I was writing Grace. This meant writing with the first three books on my desk, checking facts and timelines. Yes, I do have a bible of important facts, but not everything I needed to know was in there. Some parts were just nuances. How was Victor mentally at this time? How was he reacting to Grace, to Lenore? I had to re-read the whole trilogy.
And while I was reading the trilogy, I realized some glaring mistakes in the timeline. Things that did not make sense at all. No, I’m not going to point them out, but they’re there. There were some parts that I realized I messed up and had to figure a way out of it. That put a ton of pressure on me while I was writing Grace.
There is no great loss without some small gain. Yes, the Woven trilogy had some problems. But while I was writing Grace, I got to fix some of those problems. And that was such a blessing! As much of a challenge as this was, it gave me a chance to change things that I wasn’t proud of.
I’m not the only creator ever to do this. If you’re as big of a Star Trek fan as me, you might remember the tribble episode. There’s a scene where a whole mess of these little cuties are just falling out of a panel in the ceiling. If you look, you’ll see a stage hand’s hand tossing little tribbles out of the hole.
Way off in the future, in Deep Space Nine, there’s an episode where Sisko and Dax end up on the original Enterprise on the day of the tribble infestation. At one point they have to toss tribbles out of the ceiling panel by hand. Thus explaining the mystery hand in the original series.
Problem solved. That wasn’t a stagehand, it was Dax.
While I did have to do a lot of research on my books, writing Grace took less time than other books. That’s because I didn’t have to do a lot of the world-building over again. I already knew what Montelair was like! I already knew most of these characters, their ins, and outs. That was a metric ton of work that I already had established.
The best thing about returning to the world of Woven, though, was this. I got to see my characters and their world from a different perspective. Grace is a far different character than Lenore. We’ll be exploring that more later. The Brotherhood are the good guys in this one. Grace is a common woman, not a well-born princess. She’s not a mage. She is an entirely different person, living an entirely different life.
And showing the world of Woven from an entirely different set of eyes.