Michelle Levigne is our guest author today. Michelle is giving away a copy of her novel Undying. Go to the end of this post to find out how to enter this drawing.
Michelle has been a story addict for as long as she can remember, starting with The Cat in the Hat and Weekly Reader Book Club. She discovered Narnia and Star Trek in elementary school, and was a familiar face in the school library, especially when she became addicted to Greek mythology. She fell into fandom in college, and published many short stories and poems in various universes, all while sending out original stories to magazines and publishing houses, eventually receiving rejections that weren’t the standard photocopied photocopy of a form letter.
She has a BA in theater/English from Northwestern College and a MA in communication, focused on film and writing from Regent University. In 1990, her writing career finally broke into the public market when she won 1st place in the 4th quarter of the Writers of the Future contest, which included publication in that year’s winners anthology. Her first published novel Heir of Faxinor came out in 2000. Since then, Michelle has published 70+ books and novellas with multiple small presses, in SF and fantasy, YA, women’s fiction, and romance. She makes her living as a freelance editor and proofreader.
Don’t Forget Your Friends
by Michelle Levigne
I have this huge problem.
I wrote Commonwealth SF books for years before I got published. I had a huge backlist. That was good, because when a publisher said, “What else have you got?” I could send something right away.
However … I hopped between eras of Commonwealth history as inspiration struck. Madame publisher says sales will pick up if I start at the beginning and write straight through history. She feels people hesitate to buy books because they want to read in chronological order, and new books keep changing the order.
Problem: Book ideas come while writing, when characters talk about historical events, ancestors, etc. Example: the Sunsinger series (remember this later), 10 YA books about a boy growing up on a small starship. The captain talks about Commonwealth history, how their star-faring civilization rose from the ashes of a previous civilization. This launched stories further back on Commonwealth history.
Problem: Every new book increases the chances that I’ll contradict history, or names, or terminology established in a book I wrote 10 years ago, but which happens 500 years in the future. Does George Lucas feels this way with Star Wars …?
Solution: read ALL my published books and take massive, detailed notes. Revisit places, draw maps, family trees, and chronologies. Refresh my memories from when I wrote those books. I need to revisit old friends and remember their adventures. While it would be fun … who has the time? While I’m reading, I’m not writing!
Case in point: Today’s giveaway book, UNDYING, was written in 2011. I have maybe 5 more Age 1 books to write before I get to Age 2, when UNDYING starts. What if I run out of ideas and adventures for Marnya, my heroine, before I get to the 4th book? The title’s set in stone! It has a number.
Problem: Marnya is essentially immortal — hence the title. She has already appeared in Age 3 books. I have to be careful in the new books not to contradict what she has already done later in her life.
There is no pill big enough for this headache — and it’s all my fault.
Moral: Even if you don’t plan on a book becoming a series, take notes on the people, relationships, places and history AS YOU WRITE THE BOOK. You never know when you’ll write a sequel, or characters will visit from one book to another, or you end up writing a series after all. Plan ahead! It’ll save you a major headache.
Giveaway question: Go to my webite, www.MLevigne.com, and find the YA series and the specific book where Sister Marnya, heroine of UNDYING, makes a guest appearance.
You can find Undying on Amazon.