When is it appropriate to work on a sequel?

I’ve made no secret that my novel, Carmae, is intended to be the first book of a trilogy. I have vague ideas in my mind of what books two and three will look like, but I’ve always told myself to save those thoughts for later. I should focus on writing the first book, and once that’s complete, I can start working on the other. After all, if there’s one thing I’ve found when writing Carmae, it’s that things change. Events may occur in a different order, a character may no longer be in one location at a specified time, a conversation may have a different outcome, so on and so on. These sound like minor changes, but they can have big effects! I feel like much of my editing for draft four of Carmae was changing a few minor points, and then spending time making sure that everything else matched up.

For example, if Trina doesn’t learn her mother’s dark secret in Chapter 15, she certainly can’t act against her in Chapter 18.

This process has gotten me wary of plunging face-first into the unnamed sequel to Carmae. After all, I don’t want to write sequences that will no longer work. I don’t believe that any writing is a waste of time, but I also believe in ensuring that my time is well-spent. Should I work on part two of Carmae? Should I work on a different project, another book series, while I await edits from my few readers?

What I’ve been doing instead is focusing myself less on novel writing, and even less on independent writing. My writing time has been instead consumed more by the role plays I participate in, blog posts, and long emails to online pen-pals. In a way it’s good, as it means that I’ve applied myself all the better to these pursuits.

It also feels like I’m spinning my wheels.

This week is a typical work week, but the week after is a long vacation to Vermont. Maybe after that trip I’ll have a clearer direction? What do you think?

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