Hard to believe it’s so dark out at 7 AM and tomorrow it will be daylight.

I struggle to take a walk today, and it’s much later.  The daytime temperature is in the low 50s and the sun is beautifully bright.  But the wind chill knifes it all down.  Still, I get three miles (which isn’t as far as it sounds) and wander by a local house that puts up a fabulous Christmas display. I always thought they hired someone to come out and do it in a day.  But now that I’m paying attention…

It’s going up in pieces.  The owner erected an arbor-like frame over the walkway.  Lights are already up on the porch’s sloping roof.  Santa peeks out from the far end of the porch roof.  Snowflake lights line the edges of the lawn.  I’ll be watching it now to see how it develops over the rest of November.

Afternoon, I wander in and out of the story, thinking, too.  One of the problems with being a pantser (more pants) is that sometimes, if you know another one is coming after this one, it’s easy to overthink what you need to put in the first one to hint at the next one.  When I was doing a very early version of Rogue God (when it was called Miasma), my inner critic jumped in during the writing and was like, “You need to add this and this and this for the next stories.” It dragged me away from the actual story in the story.

But something does need to be in the story to connect the series.  It’s not like the old TV series where, when the episode ended, it reset everything.  I think we’ve overbalanced on the 13 episode stories, and it’ll eventually balance back to stories that resolve in each episode but have something in it that connects to the next one and makes it feel like a part of the whole.

That’s one of the things I’m noticing in J.D. Robb’s books.  I started reading them right from the beginning.  I was reading them to absorb how she did the details and I also picked up on those connections.  In one book, there’s a throwaway line about Dallas never having a mother (probably Book #21).  Bang in Memory in Death, a woman shows up and says, “I’m your mother.  Aren’t you going to welcome me home?” 

It’s often very subtle and not obvious until you read the next book.  This is what studying a writer looks like, not picking apart sentences for flaws.