Should my new novel be a continuation of my latest series or a stand-alone book with an entirely new set of characters and circumstances?

Either choice comes with a downside. I’ve written three Salem Matthews novels and I know everything there is to know about my core characters. I still love them, I’m not tired of them, but the thought of writing a fourth novel for the series doesn’t excite me. That’s a red flag. If I’m too comfortable with my characters, if I’m indifferent to their lives and circumstances, it will show up in the writing. The intensity will be lacking. The emotion will be lacking. The book will turn into a piece of crap.

On the other hand, a stand-alone book means starting from scratch. It’s a new challenge, but it’s also a risk. Who are these people that I’m preparing to build a story around? I don’t know them that well, although I know what I want them to do. I’m tempted to tiptoe into the story and proceed with care and caution. That would be a huge mistake. The end result would be something much worse than a piece of crap. It would be boring. Forgettable. A waste of time and effort. I won’t make that mistake.

I’ve made my choice. There will be a fourth Salem Matthews but it won’t be this book. I’m excited about “The Killing Page.” The characters are speaking to me. It’s going to be good – you’ll see.