World-Building - Sequels, Prequels, and Intermissions

While my household is mostly against Star Wars, there are a lot of things about that universe that have influenced my writing. I would say a big one is Splinters of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster (one of my favorite sci-fi authors). The book has an interesting history, but it also points out that George Lucas didn't really have everything planned from the beginning (the whole Luke and Leia getting really close to each other).

I'm the same way, I don't have as much planned as I hope but I'm still planning on writing a decade-long story.

One thing I noticed is that fabric stories, by their nature, are of three different types: sequels, prequels, and intermissions stories. Most of these are pretty obvious except for intermission stories which are writing stories between two existing scenes.

I have a tendency to think about stories in both directions as I write stories. I like to know how each character got there and I enjoy doing “what if” scenarios for what happens next (you know, unless the character dies). Usually its a vague idea, little scenes, and the like that just get thrown in the garbage pile in the back of my hill.

So when I want to write a story related to one of them, I'm expanding on those vague ideas that I came up with.

Some of the character stories are almost always prequels. A good example is Karin's stories. I started with Coins for Your Troubles, but then I wanted to write another story so I did a moment in life earlier called Sharpening Duties. For a recent submission, I wrote a prequel to even that called Songbird in a Kitchen.

Same with Majoril who's story started with Promises Made which is her as a grandmother but then I wrote Foxhole Duties about her military days.

On the other hand, novels seem to to always be sequels. That includes Sand and Blood and the following books.

There are other point of views follow the same pattern of always having sequels, such as Gertrude's story starting with Brick Delivery followed by Brick Jam and finally Losing it Brick By Brick.

So far, I haven't written any series of stories that were intermixed sequels and prequels. I just end up writing in the same direction. Of course, a lot of it is following that connections away from the tent pole stories. The first story is usually related to another one and I'm either building the character up to show how they got there (such as Karin's story moving back toward her leaving her husband) or forward (Gertrude's adventures after the war).

Now, intermission are the hardest stories for me to write. This is a weakness of my writing style, I don't like adding stuff in the middle of the story. That applies to adding scenes in the middle of a book after I finish writing them. I suspect it's a weakness of my writing.

Ultimately, it's about writing stories that are connected to each other in some manner.