Having many pieces of writing won’t be a problem for all writers. Some plan on single projects at a time, or focus intensely on research and planning before embarking on any form of prose. Then there are those, like myself, who conjure a lot of different writings up, but can struggle to develop these writings into a story or link them together into series, if they are similar. Sometimes different writings are just different writings, and may require a rewrite or significant changes in structure to come together in a logical coherent way.
I’ve stumbled across this problem with my new unpublished Marcellus series, where these new projects don’t quite mesh with already-published novel Marcellus: The Mantle. The Mantle is set in the solar system and is first-contact sci-fi (sound familiar?) while my new series has no relevance to the solar system or humanity. There are completely different characters in The Mantle, and in this even the identity of Marcellus is a mystery. As opposed to my new series that is mostly from Marcellus’ point-of-view. However, the problem is that I’m very attached to some of the ideas in The Mantle, and fitting it into my new series like a jigsaw puzzle doesn’t make obvious sense at this stage. It took an alarmingly long time for me to reach the conclusion that I should be looking to incorporate “specific” ideas from The Mantle into my new Marcellus series. This of course meant not directly linking them together, at least until events transpire where such a link would make sense, so distancing them is my strategy for the time being.
It’s also useful to speak to somebody you know or trust about your world or ideas. They can help bring an outsider’s perspective, and make you see your strengths and shortcomings. It can also help you to describe, and therefore understand your story better. My brother, who knows his sci-fi and fantasy very well, helped me see that Marcellus: The Mantle could be a spin-off to my series that hasn’t been published yet. Through his help, I also came to realise that I focus almost exclusively on Marcellus’ point-of-view and personality in my unpublished Marcellus novels. Where other characters come in, they are mainly used to infuse conspiracy, action, or otherwise move the plot forward. It may also be important, if I am to successfully continue with Marcellus, to bring in an important new and interesting character…
I hope this has helped you come up with strategies to tie in similar writings, and that this particular problem does not worry you to a great extent.
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