I was reminded this morning by a good friend and prodder that while Dark Heritage is nearing the point where I can start shopping around for an agent with it the Shadowfall series is far from over. While Between Love and Lust was the first book I ever published I wanted to write a series that was not so explicit. Sex sells but it also can limit the audience. My brother tells me he'd like to read my my writing but not Between Love and Lust. I also have some qualms about sharing Between Love and Lust with my grand-mother.
Shadowfall is a romantic dark fantasy series. I spent about a year writing the first draft of the first three books. This fall I worked on editing the first book. Now I am anxiously awaiting final comments from my beta-readers before I write my next draft and start submitting query letters to potential agents. My dream is to get a print contract for the Shadowfall series. First things first, I need to get Dark Heritage (the first book in the series) finished.
I do have the next two books to edit, something that will take a while. However, the story doesn't end at book three. I'm not really sure how many more books it will take to get to a happily-ever-after, but that's something I want to give these two main characters.
I've got my main characters. I kind of know what happens in the first third of book four. And then... That's what I'm working on. A good plot intertwines many characters with their own lives, motivations, and goals. My favorite books are the ones in which seemingly disconnected plot threads intersect and build on each other. My favorite manga did this very well. Blade of the Immortal written by Hiroaki Samura (published in English by Dark Horse) has so many twists and turns that I often have to read each issue several times to pick up all the little details not only in the dialogue but also in the illustrations.
Book 4 has a main thread and now I must combine it with other threads in order to make a complete stories. Every character is the main character in the story of their own lives. Even if I restrict which characters I focus on I can't make the characters around them one dimensional plot props. I really hate it when authors just throw something in (a character or event) to bump the plot along or alter it dramatically when it doesn't fit into the rest of the story. Bad guys have dreams too. For me, actions have to make sense in terms of a character's personality and opportunity.
One of my favorite challenges is trying to put together a plot that has foreshadowing but enough twists and turns that on the first read unexpected things happen but on subsequent reads the intricate weaving of the plot is seen. Because Shadowfall takes place in a fantasy realm I need to keep in mind the rules of the world and find ways to bend them without breaking them so that in the end my characters prevail.