theoretical problems

The downside to devoting much of your writing time to a singular large projects is that most of your blog posts start to sound the same.  However, while many of you may have read about the growth and obstacles of my Everything Theory books, there are some issues I have kept closely guarded because as the writer, I hoped to just figure them out as I went along.

But, as Book 2 nears the 70,000 word mark (it’s looking to land in 90,000 word territory), I have decided to open the floor.  The bigger, larger and looming issues, are some pretty basic writer dilemmas.  So I figure what better way to get some insights on them than to take the problems to the potential audience.  So, here are the gnawing issues with Everything Theory so far.

The Characters: It’s quite difficult to schedule the introduction of characters into the mix when writing a 5-book series.  All 5 books focus on 3 central characters.  By the end of Book 1, the central characters have grown to 5 (although one of them is off-screen the entire time).  By the end of Book 2, almost all characters involved in the series have been introduced (with the exception of 2).  My dilemma is this: when is it too late to introduce a character that will be a very big part to the ending of the series?  One such character I had planned on not even bringing in until mid-way through  Book 3, but figured out a way to involve them in the first 2 books in a very minor way.  As a reader/fellow writer, what are your feelings on pivotal characters being brought in late in the game?

The Planning:  When I had the idea for this series, I knew that the ideas for Book 1 and Book 5 would have to remain mostly unchanged in order for the series to work.  But everything that came in between was open to several changes (I am currently rewriting severed plot lines in Book 2 so that the eventual plot of Book 5 is still in place and so that Book 2 is consistent with Book 1).  Mapping this thing out has been incredibly daunting, but there’s no way I would have made it this far without my scribbled little plot maps.

The Title:  The term “Everything Theory” plays heavily into the series.  Of course, as some of you may know, the title is alarmingly similar to a popular theory within physics.  String Theory, also nicknamed “the Theory of Everything” has little to do with the theories presented in these books, but it still sometimes feels like I need to reconsider the series name.  Thoughts?

There are many more issues to contend with, but it would be impossible to relay them without spoiling parts of the story.

Now on I go, to bur myself deeper in the pits of this increasingly confusing story…

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One comment

  1. I actually assumed it had something to do with String Theory when I first heard this title. I wouldn’t have been disappointed to find it didn’t, but I suppose some more sciency folk might be… a little. People are very odd about their expectations.

    I’ve experienced a similar issue with characters in writing my vampire stuff. There are 5 books, but 5 characters… but I’ve got to make sure the investment in the first character can transfer/be satisfied in the second one, etc etc. I do introduce them all in the first book, though some are extremely minor — in which sense I have the opposite problem. Is there a moment, reading the first one, where someone’s going to go, “What the hell was the point of that character?”

    Unacceptable.

    I wish I had an answer. As a reader, I can accept a late intro — book 3 late, even — so long as the rest of the ending doesn’t seem out of the blue. Harry Potter’s a good example, really. She did that a lot, and it worked out — it was like a snowball rolling downhill gathering weight, but it was definitely going SOMEWHERE.

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