In my Dru Jasper urban fantasy series, one of my lead characters is Greyson, a half-demon mechanic with a possessed muscle car.
He’s your archetypal tough guy. He always wears a black leather jacket and aviator sunglasses.
Which is cool. Right up until the moment the leather jacket gets destroyed.
Torched by magic. Slashed by an evil monster. Burst apart at the seams as Greyson himself is transformed into a hulking evil creature by the forces of darkness.
This causes a major wardrobe problem.
Because what is he going to wear now?
Does he run around half-naked? Borrow someone else’s shirt? Go shopping for a new leather jacket?
When you write a standalone short story or novel, you can pretty much do anything you want with the characters without worrying about how that impacts the story in the future. Because there is no future.
But when you write a book series, that all changes. Bizarre things start happening.
Suddenly you start worrying about continuity like you never have before. Little creative decisions that you make on the spur of the moment can have a ripple effect that impacts the story in every book to come.
It’s silly to think that losing a leather jacket in Book 1 turns out to be a real headache in Book 2, but it’s true.
In the movie The Last Action Hero, there’s a funny moment when Arnold Schwarzenegger opens up a closet and it’s packed with nothing but identical leather jackets. Because that’s all his character ever wears.
Such an elegant solution.
How did I eventually solve my problem? Greyson spends a good chunk of the book without a shirt, which leads to so many great moments: funny, sexy, awkward, but mostly a lot of fun.
Now, it’s too soon for me to reveal how I solved the wardrobe conundrum in Book 2. But I had to figure out a convincing way to get a half-naked Greyson back into his signature leather jacket and sunglasses — fast.
Trust me, it wasn’t easy. But it was pretty amusing.