Well, it happened. I knew it might. My editor at Kregel emailed and is hinting that they would like me to finish the Goldtown Adventures middle-grade series with books 5 and 6 (so every series has the same number of books). I have agreed to think about at least one book. And . . . if I’m going to all that trouble, I might as well write both of them.
First of all, let’s think about titles. All the book titles need to use the same format. Check out what a friend and I came up with for books 5 and 6. By the way, if any of you have other titles with this format of “Something of Something” for books 5 and/or 6, I’m open to hearing about them! Titles are my hardest thing to create.
- Badge of Honor
- Tunnel of Gold
- Canyon of Danger
- River of Peril
- Mountain of Terror (Torrent of Terror?)
- Valley of Treasure
What are the books about?
Good question. If I knew the complete answer, I would not be asking for help. But here’s what I have so far. I have tentative (subject to change!) overall “story problems” for the books, but a story nutshell does not make a full novel. I need enough ideas and plot events to fill a 40,000 word novel (and the ideas need to have something to do that builds up and complements the overall story problem, i.e. no “rabbit trails” that go nowhere. So, here we go. All ideas welcome!
5 -Mountain of Terror (or Torrent of Terror?)
River of Peril is set in the month of September, when Jem is just turning 13. So I don’t want to wait too long for the next book. I’m thinking a winter setting. Jem (for a reason yet unknown) accompanies his father into the mountains (maybe they are looking for Strike or somebody else). The climax occurs when they are in danger of an avalanche when the weather suddenly warms up unexpectedly.
I have also thought about having a fire take down most of Goldtown (mining camps were notorious for fires ripping through) and so a fire scare could also come into play. Or . . . a flood because of the warming temperatures that floods the town out and plays havoc with the Midas Mine. Miners trapped, etc. Hey, I am open to anything! (Deluge of Terror? Torrent of Terror?) But in the end, a flood could open a whole new wash of placer gold, so there is never anything bad without some good.
6-Valley of Treasure
This last book is actually a little easier to write. In the Goldtown Beginnings, when Jem is turning eight, he and Strike the prospector head up to the high country for a fun prospecting trip. During the course of the book, they actually do strike it rich. They have two super-heavy (gold is very heavy) sacks slung over the donkey Canary’s back. On the way home, the donkey slips on the trail near a precipice and the heavy sacks hang over the edge, pinning Canary on top of Strike. In order to save the donkey and Strike, Jem has to cut the ropes and allow their rich bags of gold to fall down into the valley thousands of feet below.
Fast forward five years. It’s spring and Jem convinces his family and Strike to go searching for that “lost treasure” they left behind all those years ago. (Lots of gold stories, true ones, involve lost treasures). So he, Ellie, Nathan, and Strike take off on a gold searching adventure. I’m not sure if I should have them find the treasure in raggedy sacks (seems kind of a stretch) or maybe find gold from the original map Strike showed Jem on the original trip and their original destination.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to think of plot events that can build up to the climax to either or both of these stories. Danger, cougars, adventures, Nathan getting hurt . . . all of these are on the table . . . and more. I also have my two contest judges brainstorming for me.
If I end up using any of your ideas and/or brainstorming (not just a one-sentence idea), I will acknowledge your contribution in the book(s). This is your chance (like in the new Milestones short story books) to share your ideas and be part of a real book.
If you do comment, please include the name of the book (Mountain of Terror or Valley of Treasure) you are giving ideas for. You can also use the contact form if you want to share your ideas privately.
Ready . . . Set . . . Go!