I encountered an unexpected obstacle while working on the sequel to The Flying Woman. After months of writing and revising, I realized I was actually working on the third book in the series. Unfortunately, math tells us that among the second and third books, the second should come first.
The main issue was that I jumped too far ahead in time, inadvertently skipping much of Miranda’s development as a superhero. The first book is all about accepting the responsibility and building the superhero persona, but how does she get good at it? How does a superhero receive training when she’s one of her world’s first ever?
That gave me a way in to an actual second book. I don’t have a title yet, but I’ve got the premise locked down. Describing the premise in too much detail would risk spoiling the first book (which you should of course read first), but it involves a superhero/fantasy genre mash-up.
There’s an old comic book trope in which the superhero gets sucked into another world, dimension, or reality and gets involved in whatever conflict is going on there. The superhero figures out who the good guys are, helps them out, and eventually finds a way home. It’s not my favorite trope, but the reasons for my ambivalence showed me how to make it work for my story.
In the comics, especially in the ’60s and ’70s, these outings would often feel inconsequential. Yeah, it might be fun to see a familiar character navigating an unfamiliar environment, but these issues tended to feel like a break from the main storylines, the superhero equivalent of a vacation. Then the main character would return home, and that would be that.
The concept fits perfectly in the Voyage and Return plot type, in which “[t]he protagonist goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses or learning important lessons unique to that location, they return with experience.” In the old-school comics, though, the superhero didn’t always come away with any lasting lessons.
Experiences in far-off lands should leave indelible marks, especially on a young superhero who’s still trying to figure it all out. And thus I have my second book.
Admittedly, this puts me a bit behind schedule. However, I’ll be ahead when it’s time to resume work on the third book (unless I realize the third is actually the fourth).
My goal is to have the second book out this fall, though it’s too soon to promise that. I’d rather take extra time to get it right than put out something below par.
So in the meantime, continue to enjoy The Flying Woman.