Having made my first set of agent submissions for Integration, I thought I'd write a blog post on my current thoughts of Transformation, the third and final part of the Tamboli Sequence.
Transformation serves two purposes from my perspective.
Firstly, it's a story that acts as a direct sequel to the first two novels in the sequence, Integration and Long Division, which were largely independent novels within their own worlds, linked by the name and influence of Tamboli.
Secondly, I want it to stretch me as a writer to allow me to improve my craft further.
Most importantly, of course, it has to be a cracking story in its own right, and I want it to work as standalone as possible, so it would work even if you haven't read the first two stories. That's the tough bit.
I've mentioned before the quote I've currently got on my cover page which will have resonances with some of the tale:
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
So where am I at? Well, I'm currently expecting to commit the first words of the story itself into Scrivener before the end of the week, which is much earlier than I've done in my previous novels at this stage of planning, but there's a reason for that. As I said, I want to stretch myself as a writer, so I'm attacking this one a different way.
Long Division was a simpler story, with a single protagonist and linear timeline, other than the short prelude in the second edition. Integration had two protagonists set a couple of centuries apart, and told in alternating chapters. Transformation will again have two primary protagonists–one on Juno, one on Earth–but rather than alternating chapters, each will be the focus of different phases of the novel.
I'm currently planning four parts to the novel, as follows:
Part 1 – Proselyte: Set on Juno, approximately one century after Long Division
Part 2 – Apocrypha: Set on Earth, roughly around the same time
Part 3 – Bardo: Set on <redacted> featuring the Juno protagonist
Part 4 – Pralaya: Concludes the story, multiple locations
However, that's not everything. There will be a prelude to the novel from the perspective of the Earth protagonist, plus three short Earth-based interludes between each of the main parts. The purpose of these will be to relate the back story of events on Earth between Integration and the start of Transformation in a way that will allow this novel to work as a standalone story, as well as the culmination of a trilogy. These are currently planned as follows:
These are actually the parts I'm going to write first–starting with the interludes and finishing with the prelude–and will be using them to start to crystallise my ideas about parts one and two.
Part 1 will almost be a standalone story, but will lead inexorably onwards towards parts 3 and 4. Again, part 2 will have its own story to tell, but leads inevitably towards the worlds colliding in part 4.
What's interesting is that I'm very vague about part 4 right now, more so than usual, although know the key things that will happen. I'm not even deciding who will be the primary protagonist yet, I'm sure that will evolve organically from the rest of the story - it might even be both.
I'm effectively planning this novel as five separate writing tasks; each part, plus the prelude/interludes. Having got this structure sorted, I'm happy I can treat each individually and know enough details will emerge of their own right that the planning process for each can be safely deferred. Most of the planning focus will be on the main characters for the section, ensuring they're as fleshed out and real as possible, and let them drive the story within the constraints of their world.
Anyway, I just thought it would be entertaining to record my thoughts at this point, just before committing the first words to virtual paper, and seeing how wildly different the final product turns out to be.
One minor spoiler: the Earth-based protagonist is someone you've already met if you've read Integration. It may not be who you'd have expected, or how. I hope.