When I start a new set of stories I tend to begin with one or two interesting characters. This branches out into a cast of friends, enemies, family, and loves going generations forwards and back. I tend to stay with the character I started with, letting the other side-stories, prequels, and subsequent books be plotted as such.
I have tried to switch which generation or set of characters I begin with before. For a time I thought of starting the stories of Clandestina with the generation after Pierre and Lizzy. Or with his father and mother instead. There is merit to doing that, and in some ways it worked, but in others it did not. And I ended up returning back to the first characters I knew from the realm.
That isn’t to say those other stories are dead. I’ve a plot for a side-book involving Ophion and his adopted daughter Eglė that takes place a little over ten years before Delphinium. The more I delve into Faery the more I want to know about Félicien (Pierre’s father) and how he lived there as a young man and why he returned when a widower. But I don’t think those stories would have the same feeling to them if we didn’t first know about Pierre. The ‘myth’ to these past stories lends then more power than if they were just written from the start.
I think that’s my current problem with Incubo. It is about half a generation behind where I first began the stories. Lorette was an established character in Ibella when my first protagonists came to me, and trying to write her ‘origin’ story without her reputation or the over-all knowledge of what the world will be, seems to fall flat. That myth, the mystery to her, is gone when we learn from the start how she got there. And while we love a good origin story (we’ve certainly had enough of them in superhero films) we also often go into these knowing the end product. Batman is awesome- how Bruce becomes Batman can be a fantastic story. ‘What a rich boy does after his parents are killed’ can mean a lot of things, and if we aren’t at least clued into ‘it’s going to lead to Batman’ we may not be as interested.
So while I’m keeping my outline and several thousand words of Incubo, it may have to be a side-story and not the first in the main series to introduce the realm of Ibella.
I did finally put up that scene from Clandestina too (the post below this) and I’m working on yet another scene from an entirely different realm.