I have two completed manuscripts. My friends know that the plague novel is intended to be the first book in a three-book series and that I actually have books two and three roughly outlined. But when I finished it, I put it aside and started writing something completely different. So why, then, did I go on to write the Flight Novel (different characters, different setting, different genre) instead of writing the second and third books in the Plague Novel series?
Because I wanted to try different genres. My short stories are all over the place (fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, science fiction, I just go with whatever idea pulls me in), and I don’t want to be the writer doing horror novels only to later discover that not only do I love writing fantasy, I’m actually better at it than I am at writing horror. So now I have a horror novel and a fantasy novel. And book three is a science-fiction novel. Because why not. These are the genres I read.
But at some point, regardless of whether I sell the plague novel, I’m going to have to go back and write books two and three. As much as I enjoy exploring different characters and settings and ideas, I don’t want to be the writer who can only write first books. You know the writer who writes the first chapter over and over is and now very good at writing first chapters but not good at writing anything else? I don’t want to be the author who is only good at writing first books and not good at writing second and third books. The second book in a series is going to need to have a different structure than the first book in a series, and the third book in the series is going to be a different creature than a second book. The only way to get good at something is to practice. I’m going to have to practice writing second and third books.
So I’m not going to go back to the Flight novel until after I’ve written the Touchdown novel, which I’m preparing now. I don’t know when that will be. After I finish plotting out Touchdown, I’ll probably go back and start revising Flight. Touchdown might not get written until Nanowrimo of this year, so the second Plague novel book might not happen until some time in 2017.
Of course, all of this will go out the window if querying the Plague novel actually ends up in an offer of representation. If an agent wants to pick up the Plague novel and says hey, do you have anything else in this series, my answer will be OMG YES let me show you the outline and also let me start writing on it right away so we can market this as a series. In the end, all plans are just that–plans.