I'm also trying to figure out where to start... the next day? the next week, month, year?? How did y'all decide?
For me, deciding where to start next sort of came as I finished up the previous book. When my second book ends with a new relationship, I immediately thought - okay where would this relationship be in a few months. So that's where I took it. But then by the 4th book, I was ready to throw more turmoil into it, so I skipped ahead a year.
Rachel, I need to check out Luminotes. Although, I'm on the last book under contract so who knows if I'll need it now!
I But another series writer gave me good advice: To give yourself time between books if you can; and to change things up by introducing new characters and new settings into the series.
Deb I totally agree with this. Even though my series is revolved around the town where the friends live, I've done all I can to make sure the scenary changes. I had them road trip in the book being released this summer, so only the first 50 pages takes place at home. Also, even though each book has taken place during the school year, I've tried to capture them outside of school as much as possible, so it's not the same old, same old.
My big head scratching, nail biting concern is - what are my chances that editors are gonna let me do what I want with it? Is it likely they'll have an agenda all their own and tell me where they want it to go?
Also, when a publishing house buys the MS, are they gonna want to see synapse, or outlines of my next 1,2,3 stories? Or is it much more likely they'll have a wait-and-see-how-it-sells attitude?
My editor hasn't made any suggestions on where to take my story lines. I think most editors trust the writer to let the story flow where they feel it should go. Not saying that some may not read the latest edition and pose questions to help tighten it - but I've never been asked to change course.
As far as timeline and what the editor has wanted to see ahead of time...when they extended me from 2 to 5 books, they wanted a paragraph synop of the next three books. I provided them, but none of the books have followed those original ideas.
About 4-6 months before the mss is due, my editor comes calling for a full synop. The first time she did that, I was still in the midst of writing the book and was unsure how it would end. But her deadline for it allowed me the time I needed to finish - so once I was done, I quickly zipped off a synop.
This time around she's asked for it and I'm only at the beginning of the book. But I know where I want it to go and think it will likely stay the course. So I was able to create one without sweating bullets.
Timelines will vary. But she typically asks for the synop that far out because they're doing covery copy for the book 6 months prior to release.