Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Searching for a New Beginning...

by Olivia Cunning

Recently, I finished the final book in my Sinners on Tour series. It will be a while before it's released to the public, but besides the editing process, the series is done. Finished. Complete. I know who falls for who and how all obstacles are overcome. I know how it ends.

I've finished books in the past, but I've never finished a series. I've never had to say good-bye to characters I've loved though over 700,000 words (not all good words. I cut a lot of them). But now that it's over, I'm not sure what to do with myself.

No more hanging out with those five sexy men on the tour bus. No more standing in the wings watching them perform concerts. No more inventing their antics and humorous comebacks and chuckling over their guy vernacular. No more delving into the innermost recesses of their psyche and figuring out what it would take to make them fall in love. No more sexy times. No more good times. No more bad. No more epiphanies as to what makes these five, very different guys tick. What shaped them? What scares them most? Their innermost secrets and desires. I know all of that stuff was just in my head, but when I'm writing it, I'm living it. A big part of my life is suddenly gone. So now what do I do?

Do I do a spin-off series about another band (Exodus End) mentioned in the Sinners' books? At least that way I might get to check in on the guys of Sinners and see what they're up to. Did Sed ever have those eight kids he wanted? (Poor Jessica...) Were their happily-ever-afters really forever? Is the band still together? Did tragedy strike? I'm not sure if I'm ready to invest another four years in that world. Though it's kind of hard not to want to see what happens with Dare and the rest of his hot-as-hell band.

Do I write about a totally different rock band? Build an entirely new cast of characters to shape and become attached to? A struggling band, maybe. Or something literally out of this world.

Do I write a totally unrelated series about sentient rain clouds or something else entirely different from what readers expect me to write next?

I. Don't. Know.

Maybe I'll do all three. I really do need to make a decision. And soon. Reaching "The End" is always a thrill, but I'm currently out of "The Ends" and searching for a new beginning.

How do you make important decisions? Make pros/cons lists? Go with your gut? Flip a coin? Ask for advice? Or do you have some other DMP (decision making process)?

13 comments:

  1. Olivia, congrats on finishing your book and completing your first series. Very exciting.

    For me, how I make my decision all depends on the circumstances. Sometimes, I have to make a quick, gut decision because there is no time to do anything else. Some decisions can be made slow or collaboratively.

    Good luck--it'll be fun to see what you decide!

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  2. Olivia, when Deb asked me what was next back when I had written Legend of the White Wolf, 4th book in the series, I'd anticipated she would want something different. About that time, one of my coworkers had mentioned I had never written about a poor werewolf, and I had wanted to write about a Highland wolf pack. So Heart of the Highland Wolf, a spinoff of the wolf tales, was born.

    Then when I was in the middle of writing the sequel to the Highland one, book 10, and I had proposed 3 more wolf tales, which were bought, she asked me to write something new. I wanted to do something that was similar (shapeshifter) but different. So the jaguar shifters were born, 3 bought. A lot of my readers LOVE the wolf shifters, so I'm not sure how the jags will go over. Yet, a LOT of readers are excited about them too...because they love cat shifters. So only time will tell!

    Good luck with your decision!! I think there's nothing worse than being in that floundering place you are now! :) But then, the light will shine, and you'll be with a whole new set of hunks and be in hog...well, hunk heaven. :)

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  3. Olivia, it's always bittersweet when a series ends. It goes on in my mind as do the characters. I bet you won't have to think very long or hand about the decision. Some new characters will start insisting you tell their story very soon.

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  4. Olivia, congrats on finishing the book/series. I definitely have to check out this series.

    I make mostly gut decisions, but sometimes I ask my Mom for advice.

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  5. I'm facing that same problem myself. I sent book nine to my agent last week, and it's supposed to be the last of the Cat Star Chronicles. Fortunately, I'm working on another project, but it's a rewrite of an earlier work, not a totally new idea. The best I can do is keep my eyes and mind open. I hope your new ideas come to you soon!

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  6. I've never finished a series, so I'm whistling in the dark here, but a couple things come to mind: Your readers are going to want to read the epilogues, so you haven't parted ways with the band, you've sent them off to tour in Europe (old castles and monastery wineries, I'm thinking, and guest lead singers who captivate the castle owner/booking agent, whoever. Possible fertile ground for that palate cleansing novella between books?)

    And when you aren't sure what you want to do, then you can narrow the sense of the unknown by ruling out what you don't want to do. Dystopian YA is not on my radar now, and I can't see myself ever writing that way. Life is tough enough without the apocalypse messing up the deal.

    Third, my first year as a published writer has done nothing so much as try my faith--not in the Almighty, but in myself. I think every worthy journey does that--marriage, parenting, careers, they all try us--and the reward is a greater sense of who we are. When you do choose a next step, it will feel more authentic for all you've learned from the band, the Cat Stars, the every word you've written.

    The best IS yet to be. If you want to bat ideas around, we're all here for you--me in particular.

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  7. Congratulations on finishing the series! As a reader, I look forward to getting to know the rest of the Sinner's as their books are released. As a person, my heart goes out to you as you let your boys go. Good luck and wishing you well on your new beginnings.

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  8. Good morning. Currently, I'm trying to decide what to wear to work.

    Thanks, Tracey. I'm hoping something comes to me clearly and suddenly the way the first series did.

    Terry, I'm sure the jags will be fabulous! I hope hunk heaven appears for me soon.

    I hope so, Shana. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Dannyfiredragon- Moms do give great advice. I hope you enjoy the series.

    Cheryl- I hope new inspiration strikes soon. Congrats on book 9!

    Grace- Great advice. I know I don't want to write inspirational romance. Other than that, I'm pretty open. This past year has been rough for me as well.

    Thanks, Chris. You're a sweetie.

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  9. Olivia,
    Congratulations on finishing up a great series. Your readers are probably biting their nails in anticipation of the next BIG THING from you!
    I have no doubt that you will awake from a dead sleep one morning and there will be five more books screaming to be written. I see motorcycles and hunky men in leather jackets who listen to hard rock music...LOL!
    Holler at me if you need a sounding board!

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  10. I don't know what it's like to conclude writing a beloved series, but I certainly know what it's like to finish reading one. Sometimes it's heartbreaking, but we march on looking for the next great series.

    We LOVE these kinds of stories about tightly knit groups of men...musicians, cops, soldiers, athletes, firefighters, cowboys, shape shifters. The possibilities for stories are nearly endless.

    One of the things you do so very well is telling the stories about a group of men, as evidenced in Sinners. We came to care about them, worry about them, lust after them, and love them.

    Your next story is probably just waiting for you to relax so it can reveal itself to you. I wish you well.

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  11. Sentient rain clouds, hands down. You will have the benefit of being the first! ;)

    After completing my Highlander trilogy I am now going in a new direction and it took a while to make that mental switch. Good luck finding your way. I know it will be great!

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  12. I love your Sinners series and look forward to all the up-coming installments. I hope you continue to find a musical literature outlet for you to muse about because the talent you exhibited with this particular group of guys was outstanding. Please do not leave us left with out lighters in the air, so to speak.

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  13. The ending of a series is sad and happy at the same time. I have had this series on my TBR list for a while, but now that is it complete I will have to make sure to pick it up and go from start to finish!

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