I made a profound discovery this morning.
Several months back, I put the finishing touches on Schmitty the Pirate and Grimstoke's Curse. I shined it up, packaged it with a bright red bow and sent if off to submission limbo, where it awaits an offer for representation. In the meanwhile, writing should have commenced on the sequel. I was geared up to start even before the last words were in place in the manuscript for Book One. I made detailed notes of how I wanted to start and certain things I expected to happen in the story.
But then I got sidetracked by the submission process. It's daunting and exhausted my creativity. By the time I was ready to write again, I had new ideas for a completely different story outside the Schmittyverse. I spent a few guilt-ridden weeks on that, having abandoned my firstborn. And, I had an idea for something else inside the Schmittyverse, that would help me put together the story I should be working on.
There were times when all three stories vied for my attention. I had to pick one project to work on. But which ? After years of devotion to Schmitty, I felt I deserved a break and should focus for a while on the new, unrelated story. But guilt kept me coming back to Schmitty. I should work on Book Two. But that other project, which focuses on minor characters, heretofore only briefly mentioned in Grimstoke's Curse, had an important backstory that needed to be told. If I didn't finish it, I wouldn't know what to do.
In writing Grimstoke's Curse, and the original Schmitty the Pirate, which I'm now planning for Book Four, I outlined extensively. Some have said outlining takes away from the writing, so I have tried these new projects without outlining. Guess what? It doesn't work for me. For something this important, I need the structure.
Today, it all came together. Outlining the back story led me through the past and into the future. I now know how these stories tie together and a more thorough outline of Book Two can start to form. Before long, I'll be thousands of words in and if luck holds, that all important call from the agent will come, and they'll ask, "What else have you got?"
I'll have my answer.