WEAVING PLOT POINTS IN A NOVEL SERIES

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Knitting Argyle Socks

I’ve always had restless hands and a busy mind. When I was younger and first married, I loved crafts, especially knitting and crocheting. It seemed the harder the pattern, the more challenging the stitch, the more I enjoyed trying to make something. Other than a few sweaters, a shawl, baby caps and booties, and several baby blankets, I never did that much knitting. Crochet is faster and far easier.

The hardest successful piece was a sweater for my new husband with lots of cabling in the front and back that required the use of little short needles and then a circular one to form the neckline. Forty-seven years is a long time ago and I doubt that I could even knit and purl a row these days, but it was fun then.

I even tried to knit a pair of argyle socks, not as colorful or elaborate as Mr. Louis Armstrong’s above, but they were ambitious. I ended up with a lot of colorful threads that always wanted to tangle and snarl, and discarded the project about a third of the way up one sock out of frustration. There was little chance they would have fit any better than my husband’s burgundy sweater did, anyway.

What does that have to do with writing?

Plot Lines in a Series

I started writing tonight (only 333 words) and had the scene in mind to write. But then I had to check the first two books in the series since it felt like I might have written and included it in one of them already. I had. I didn’t want to duplicate the scene, even though it would be from Charlotte’s viewpoint in Wild Violets, instead of Jeanne’s in Widow Mouse.

I made the mistake of doing that in my  first series. I think it was just two scenes, but the girls were traveling west on the same wagon train and the scenes were pivotal in the second novel, Bright Morning Star. I thought if E.L. James in Fifty Shades of Gray, could rewrite her novel, this time from the man’s point of view, and have another best seller, a couple of scenes would go unnoticed. After all, they included different facts and were from a totally different point of view. Of course they did not, and a couple of reviewers pointed it out. I hate bad reviews.

Series are a lot like Argyle socks. Every detail and line written creates a unique period and place that’s shared by the characters in that series. There are a lot of threads that need to be carefully pulled through the books to create the pattern of the complete series without any snarls or blotches.

So I’m still awake, trying to figure out how, or what, to write to get through this section without making any reader feel there is repetition. Enough of a challenge that I am going to bed to sleep on it. One has to trust that the brain will solve the problem by morning, otherwise I will be rereading my Mountain Wives Series again.

 

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