It’s about time that I pick up my magnifying glass once again and take a look. It is halfway through the year, and after my recent accomplishment in finishing the first draft of my fourth novel, and the last installment of the series, I’ve begun to wonder: What’s Next? In that post which you can find here, I talked about all the things that I learned while completing the story, a brief summary of those being:
- Ending is different than Stopping
- Just Go With It
- Persistence is what matters
- Set Yourself Up for Success
I then mentioned that this week I’ll be discussing what’s next. So, what’s next after the Guardian of the Core series? Well, let’s dive into this and give you a brief glimpse into some of the projects that I’m working on. All of these, in some fashion or form, are extensions of those four writing truths I divulged to you last week.
Novellas and Spin-offs
Now, while this it’s true that “ending is different than stopping,” when we finish a series, it doesn’t mean that all things need to come to an end. Most things should definitely conclude in some manner, or at the very least, have an appropriate ending and reach a satisfying conclusion, but it doesn’t necessarily have to end. In fact, if done correctly, it can stop and be used as a vehicle to set you up for success.
What do I mean by this?
Well, this series of mine Guardian of the Core is a massive interstellar fantasy novel. I like to call it futuristic fantasy. While many fantasy novels take place on a single continent, this universe that I’ve created spans multiple planets, continents on those planets, nations within those continents, and the lives of millions of individuals who inhabit them (although you really only become intimate with a dozen or so).
There is so much depth to the universe that I’ve built that I find myself very easily having more things to talk about and to write about even after the series has concluded. For example, I plan on having a collection of short stories as an anthology, or as a special privilege and extra reading material for those fans of mine who want to contribute to a Patreon account (I still need to set this up, but once I do, I’ll put the link here). Furthermore, there are characters that readers meet in Guardian of the Core who have yet to finish their character arc by the end of it. I do this intentionally because they will have separate novellas or novels that complete this arc. Then, from this, it may even trigger a spin-off series within the same universe.
These kind of things happen all the time!
A prime example of this is the series Breaking Bad which, when finished, produced a spin-off series called Better Call Saul. The ever-popular cartoon Family Guy has a spin-off show with The Cleveland Show. J.K. Rowling has done this with her Harry Potter series with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Spin-offs are a great way to set yourself up for success as a creative because you don’t have to do any creation. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, as they say Instead, you are taking what you already created and just going more in-depth with it. Readers get more content, stay within the realm that they love and comfortable with, yet with new twists and turns. It creates a richer experience for them and establishes more credibility for you as an author.
What’s important to know in character design is that not all characters have the same arc. Some go from bad to good, from weak to strong, from arrogant to humble. Others, on the contrary, do the reverse, they devolve, their sense of pride overwhelms them and they become arrogant. Just as character arcs can change, the length of their arcs, and how long it takes them to reach their respective arcs depends upon the character. It is never set in stone, merely molded in clay.
So, the big two takeaways here are that while stopping is different than ending, you don’t necessarily always have to end with the conclusion of a series. Sometimes certain things within your novel can stop, but there should be a clear and intentional reason why they should stop because at the end of the day, readers want a conclusion, and you’d be remiss to deny them that. Also, that, by doing this effectively, you are going to set yourself up for future success because you’re going to have ways to generate more ideas for stories, and hopefully, never run out.
Last week, I put my fingers to the keyboard and I began writing what will become the first non-fiction novel that I’ll eventually produce. Currently, I’m three chapters and five thousand words into the first draft, but this is an exciting undertaking for me because it is different. It’s new. And I love new things.
It is pushing me outside of my comfort zone of Gladonus and the Guardian of the Core series, into something more realistic and practical for readers to benefit from. This non-fiction novel will discuss ways in which we can make our lives more novel, more unique, and by doing so, the effects and benefits that kind of mentality will provide us.
I won’t give many more details yet for it, nor will I reveal the title name of it, but I can tell you that I believe it’ll be revolutionary and that during this time of the novel coronavirus (pun super intended) you’ll find this novel to be quite eye-opening and give you a new take on how to live your life. Hopefully, it’ll give you a new appreciation on things we take for granted in life every day.
Podcast and Channels
For the past few weeks, I have been listening to various podcasts and have really grown to love them. It is something that I want to try and something that I feel compelled to do. I have a great idea for a podcast, but my problem is finding a cohost (if I choose to go that route, which I kind of want to do). Many people tell me they envy my ability to go with the flow, to not be locked into one thing. They admire my positivity. Recently, a fellow author friend of mine says that I inspire him because I’ve finished four books by the time I’m thirty.
Truly, these things are so wonderful to hear. They make my day.
I want to give back in some way. I feel that I need to give back in some way for how much God has blessed me in my life and how fortunate I am. That is why I want to create a podcast about bringing positivity to people. In a world filled with so much animosity and hate right now, I want to bring a positive note to listeners and give them information to help them feel more positive and to help inspire them as well. Positivity is a superpower and I want to help others unlock that ability within themselves.
Next, I am contemplating on making a YouTube Channel for my writing. I want to break down writing and the fundamentals of writing for all my viewers. My problem currently is if I should only focus on a specific type of writing (novel writing let’s say) or if I should widen my approach and do all facets of writing. It is this second one that I am leaning towards, although more hesitant towards as well.
The reason I am leaning towards this is that I am qualified to teach all aspects of writing. From a four-paragraph TOEFL essay to a rhetorical analysis for the AP Language and Composition Exam to writing dialogue and scenes in a novel, I have done it all, and I want to share that expertise with people. However, I also know that by focusing on so many different types of writing that I may fail to develop a core audience.
Another reason why these are still just plans is that I have no idea on the actual amount of time it will take to produce, edit, and distribute these things. How often can I do it? I have yet to hold my host podcast yet and have yet to try my first YouTube video recording, so I have no idea, but once I do that I will definitely have a better understanding of if I am stretching myself too thin.
Finally, in what’s next, I have been toying with this idea of creating a few other products that can help me really bloom into my career as an author. In this section, I wanted to list a few of them here to get you excited.
Courses: In conjunction with the idea for a writing channel above, I want to develop some courses about writing that would go more in-depth with the topics and more individualized help instead of merely skimming the surface. Again, my aim is to help people writing, and not only just writing, just their ability to communicate and to vocalize their thoughts (on paper or in speech). However, putting together a course is an incredible undertaking and lots of work, and again, something that I will need to really consider before undertaking it.
Audiobooks: So many authors have been talking about audiobooks recently that I am seriously contemplating creating an audiobook as well. And, now that I have bought a microphone for my podcast mentioned above, this would be a great opportunity to record an audiobook, too. The problem, however, is that this would require a significant investment in my time if I were to do it myself (not just the recording of the audio, but the editing of it, too). Or, if I choose to hire someone to do it, this would be a considerable investment into my business.
To try and tackle this problem and see just how time-consuming an audiobook can be to produce, I am going to try first with my current novella that I am finishing up and will have published by the end of the year. Depending on how that goes, it’ll give me a more informed decision on how to proceed with my novels in terms of audio format.
Translated works: This has been something that has been on my to-do list for a while, to be honest. Having a book translated into Spanish or Chinese would be absolutely amazing. I could also use it to reach a much larger market of readers, thus increasing my profitability. My problem with this, however, is not only the cost that could go into a potential translation of the novel, but also there is a problem with reliability. For example, in Chinese, I have no way of discerning if it’s correct or not. In Spanish, I can receive a little more of a feel for how the chapters would be translated, but I am still not fluent. This is a huge consideration for me in deciding whether it would truly be in my best interest as an author financially.
That’s What’s Next
As you can see, there are lots of projects that can be taken up. There is truly never any end to an author’s career because we can always create another product, host another podcast, or come up with another idea if we set ourselves up for success. Many of these projects, if done correctly, will set me up for success in my author career.
Furthermore, they require persistence and consistency. In terms of broadcasting a podcast or YouTube channel, I cannot simply go with the flow, as I would certain scenes in a novel. That is why the next thing I truly need to do before any of this is research.
Some of that research is opinions, so what do you all think? Which of these projects listed above are you most excited for?! Please let me know in the comments below.
What do you guys think about what’s next? I am interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below.