Could I have just gone back and removed some of the plot points and simplified the story so I could end it at book 4 as originally planned? Of course! But where's the fun in that? Hahaha. But in all honesty, I didn't want to. This series has been pouring out of me, which is very rare for me, and I don't want to stifle my muse. Not to mention, one of the biggest reasons I chose to self-publish is so I could do what I wanted without restraint, so if this series needs to be five books, so be it. I'm just along for the ride 😏
Armed with a new, clearer direction, complete with all the conflict I'd need to finish the series strong, I eagerly dove into book 5. Now, during this time, I'd been actively receiving feedback from readers and making notes of things I wanted to go back and fix, but for the most part, I was on track to finish this series strong.
Until I got to the 80K word mark on book 5 and realized, much to my horror, that I had only told half of the ending. To tell the story as I'd envisioned, the book would have to be close to 150K! First, that's a bit long for a single book, in my opinion, and secondly, the cost to print that size book... No, thank you!
I began to complain to my trusted writer friends, who I'm sure were just about tired of me by then, and they agreed I'd probably have to split book 5 into two books. I was still reluctant, though, because I had already written 5 full length books. Did I have it in me to write another one? Did I have enough content to justify a sixth book? I honestly didn't know, so I once again went back to the start of the series and read through each book, noting things I'd mentioned that were then forgotten, picking apart character backstories to see if there was anything I could expand on.
My friends had planted the seed of the possibility of a 6th book, and now that I knew it was actually possible, I couldn't get the idea out of my head. (I'm still kinda mad at you for this, Kat and Eden. LOL). I ran my new idea by my friends, and they loved it.
Knowing there would now be a sixth book, I went back to book 5 and fleshed out some areas I felt were lacking, and that book is now complete. I am now 20K into book 6, and I've already told my friends if I so much as mention wanting to write a book 7, they are to fly to Michigan and slap me senseless. I think they might be a little too excited about that prospect.
Wow--this post has gotten a lot longer than I expected. That seems to be the norm with me, huh? So, I'm going to stop here for now, but there's still so much more that has gone into the process of writing this series, so be sure to come back next week when I talk about pantsing vs. plotting and why, despite being somewhat disorganized, writing the series from start to finish before publishing book 1 was the best advice I've ever received.
Drop them in the comments :)