Character and plot overlaps

In the series of novels I am writing, there are character and plot overlaps among the three books. Each book has its own cast of characters, all of whom are important in their own way, and each book has overlaps with the others, particularly books 1 and 2.

For a long time, I was worried about that – how can I write each story convincingly, not forgetting the details of what went before? How to manage without being repetitive or predictable? I’m not sure I can stay two steps ahead of my readers, but I might like to aim for one, though I’ve not been quite sure how to do that, when each book rather anticipates the next…

Though internal consistency in plotting is a must, it turns out that I need not have been so worried. Each of my books has a different feel from its neighbour, and the two main characters whose lives  intersect have, it turns out, very different ways of seeing the world, of dealing with its challenges. Each character has very different priorities. So, conversations that Lisa the lawyer might recall with exact clarity, are turning out to be a fuzzy nightmare to Susan, her client – which is good. I can hardly hope to make my books interesting if I find myself forced to replicate long sections of dialogue.

It turns out, Susan is, in some ways, so out of her depth that the last thing she cares about is the details of conversations. My characters turn out to be so different, that even when their lives intersect, they do not remember the same things, or the same events in the same way.

It is a solution I could never have dreamed up; yet it seems to answer most of my questions, and frees me to write more fully in character. It does seem, with these books, that my role is to trust, and allow the stories to unfold while I take dictation and allow the plot to speak to me, as it were. I am sure we often find that when we relax and allow ourselves to be open to new discoveries like this, they come to us from all over the place.

Thanks for reading.

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