Back from hiatus. Sort of. Starting, against advice, edits on my second Shmuley Myers book. The first is tentatively titled “A Day at the Zoo.” A Question of Allegiance (also a temporary title), builds on an ultra-Orthodox Jewish Austin police homicide detective in a world where every non-birth pregnancy becomes a murder investigation, contraception is illegal, church and state prance together in an evil waltz.

Shmuley needs to balance his roles as a pious Jew, a loving husband, his job as a civil servant, and… well, read the book. When published. {sigh}

The first book (if this is a series) should be a standalone piece introducing the characters and world, building the visuals, and having a good, first “x.” Where “x” is a mystery, thrill, or genre plot of some kind.

Second books and onwards are much, much harder to write. Sure, on one hand, the characters and world are already known — If you can remember all the dates, details, and nuances which, to be sure, readers will remember.

Below is a sample of some of the angsting that goes into finishing a novel. As a pantser, I depend on my characters to tell me their stories. Some characters, however, just don’t want to go quietly to their doom. Others have too many options, none of which are pleasant. Hence this mind map:

This is the only “clean” doc I’ve got. Most of the rest looks more like the images above… and this: