I have a donut problem.
I’m working on a series called Coffee and Donuts. It’s planned to be four books with independent stories. What links the books is that the characters attend the same weekly social gathering, not surprisingly referred to as Coffee and Donuts. They sometimes see characters from other books, though usually minor characters or unidentified glimpses.
The books follow the same timeline that starts and ends on a Sunday. On the last Sunday of books 1-3, the characters arrive at Coffee and Donuts to discover that there are no donuts. It has always been my plan to explain the missing donuts in Book 4. Right now, I don’t know how to do that. This shouldn’t be a problem because it’s a fairly minor occurrence. It doesn’t really affect the primary love story, and that’s exactly why it is a problem.
Every time I try to work on Book 4, all I can think about is donuts. What happened to those donuts? Why are there no donuts? Is someone running late? Was there a terrible accident? Could it be that the characters in the first three books have no idea that what is a minor inconvenience to them has forever altered someone else’s life?
No! The donuts don’t matter. I’m supposed to be thinking about my main characters and maybe giving them names. Names are important, and they don’t have names yet. Or jobs. Or families. Or any connection to each other. Because I keep thinking about donuts. Should I have them meet over donuts? Perhaps one of them works in the donut shop? Was one of them supposed to bring the donuts? But how do they get forgotten? Are they forgotten? Or maybe dropped on the sidewalk?
I don’t know. I can’t answer any of my questions about the donuts until I write most of the story (or at least have it mapped out) and I can’t write the story because I keep wondering what happened to the donuts. This is my problem.
I guess I might have been complaining about this vicious circle to someone I know. That person suggested I didn’t need to write a fourth book at all. The response was, “Trilogies are a thing you know.”
I know. Donuts are a thing, too. Neither is a helpful thing. Switching to three books sounds too much like giving up. I’m going to figure out Book 4 eventually. I think maybe I need to eat a donut first. Maybe that will get them out of my head.