Welcome to the Inside View, a blog series where Riley S. Keene discusses the Heroes By Necessity books, and shares unique insights into their thought processes behind story, character, and worldbuilding decisions.
Today, we're talking about Bargain, Book Two in the Heroes By Necessity Series, and how it went from non-existent to a fan favorite.
Every author authors different.
Some write free, allowing the characters and plot to tell them exactly what's going on, and then they reign it all in at the end through editing (these folks are typically called "pantsers" due to their ability to write by the seat of their pants).
Others write strict, using pre-drafted outlines to dictate where the story goes, and just using editing to clean up the prose itself (these folks are typically called "plotters" due to, you guessed it, their extensive plotting sessions).
Then there are those authors who are a combination, who outline loose and let the books go where they want, and while they have to clean up the plot in post, they don't nearly have to do as much as full seat-of-the-pants authors (and these folks are called "hybrids" for hopefully obvious reasons).
Robert (the "Riley" behind RSK) is typically a pantser. When he writes on his own, if he's put any thought into the direction of the story, it's usually just a "what the heck am I writing today" kind of thought.
Kristen (the "Keene" behind RSK) is a plotter. When she writes on her own, she makes extensive outlines, and the running joke is they never make it past that stage.
You'd think we'd be incompatible as authors, right?
During one NaNoWriMo, Kristen had the genius idea to make Robert write her NaNo story so that it would get done. She framed it as a contest. They'd both use the same plot, same characters, same setting... and the same outline.
Kristen's version never got done. Obviously.
Robert finished on time with a 60k word novel.
And it was good.
Kristen wanted to edit it. To publish it.
But it wasn't quite right.
You see, this book was the third in a series. Kristen knew there was something that came before it, a plot that lead these characters to this point. That was the story they needed to start with.
And so that NaNo, named "The Tower of Isadon" eventually became Crossroad, Book Four of Heroes By Necessity.
But originally, it was Book Three.
You see, when we started Heroes By Necessity, Kristen had wrote out this "rough outline" for the whole series, breaking it up into trilogies. Destiny was originally supposed to be the book where (spoilers) died, and then book three was about bringing them back.
When Kristen started outlining Book Two, she realized there needed to be one more step. A "win" to show things going right.
But it was hard.
There wasn't a book here before - how was she just supposed to make one appear?
Kristen spent months agonizing over it, actually putting Robert behind schedule on writing. She just couldn't get around the idea of breaking her precious outline. But once she did, and once she began outlining Bargain, it came together super easy.
And it was all thanks to Merylle.
That's it for this installment folks! Over the next few months we're going to explore what influenced the Overseers, why Merylle was so important, how Ibeyar evolved, and how one throw away line sparked the best chapter in our library.