In my quest to write stories that entertain readers, I often go through multiple iterations of the same ideas. Sometimes I mix and match those ideas to give them a fresh look or spin. But in the end they are just variations on a theme.
The worst situation I find myself in as a writer, is when the mixing and matching has written me into a corner. Complex situations make it problematic for me, even if it’s not always a problem for the characters. When I’ve had some time to sort out why a scene is bothering me, it usually comes down to unnecessary complexity.
More than a few times I have leaned into that preposterous complexity. It can be fun to see how absurd I can take an idea while keeping it somewhat believable. The easiest solution is usually to cut out the complications and simplify everything. Easier, from an editing point of view, but not from a writing perspective.
I the Magic Unleashed series, the first four books in the series happen at roughly the same time. Scenes from one book have immediate repercussions in the other books. The characters don’t all meet right away, or interact much at first, but when they do, it caused me some logistical problems. How does character A get to location B in only X number of hours? Can they still be back in location Y in time for event 76? Spreadsheets saved the day, but so far, it’s taken almost a month to reconcile everything.