Funny how things go.
I noted the following:
…I’d say I’m a little more than halfway -roughly- through writing it…
I think its a little more than that!
Over the weekend, a major breakthrough: I finally figured out how to end the book.
I know, I know: Didn’t you already have some clear idea of the story you were presenting, including the ending?
Yes… and no.
Each book I write tends to follow certain paths but they are almost never identical. For many of my books, believe it or not, I have a relatively clear beginning and/or ending but have to figure out the middle and the hard work comes with this connective tissue.
Often it is the middle part of the book that gives me the biggest fits and, when I finally work my way through it, the biggest sense of triumph when the proverbial plan “comes together”.
Then there are cases like Book #8, which started one way and then went into a whole ‘nuther direction…
As I mentioned in that previous post, my original idea was to have Book #8 in the Corrosive Knights series be an Epilogue. It was meant to be a finale that ends the series properly, and truth to tell, I’ve already written a strong first draft of that Epilogue.
Thing is, its really short and I realized it needed to be longer to be a proper book rather than a very thin novella. The previous Corrosive Knights books run roughly 90,000 to 110.000 or so words long. This book, as it stands now, runs something like 20,000 words long.
When I first tackled it, I figured what was needed was more “meat” and that’s what I started to work on. I wanted the Epilogue to be a finale that stands up with the rest of series and helped “close the book” on the series which began with Mechanic and concluded with Legacy of the Argus .
Here’s the thing, though: As I started working on doing this Epilogue Book #8, and I started to think about how I would expand this slight story, the proverbial wheels started to turn in my head and I realized there was another story, not an Epilogue, worth telling.
And with that realization came a second realization: There was no need to so hastily “end” the Corrosive Knights series. For the Epilogue would certainly do that and I realized I wasn’t quite ready to end the series yet.
Thing is, and as mentioned before, Legacy of the Argus sure does offer a very strong conclusion to the storylines written to this point, so if I create another novel that takes place in this Corrosive Knights universe, I felt the need to offer something that didn’t feel like “just” another story, but something which would add to the series in a meaningful way.
Which is why the breakthrough I had this weekend, the conclusion of this story, was so important and why it took me so long to figure out.
I’ve been writing this story for a while now, since shortly after finishing/publishing Legacy of the Argus, and because of the initial nature of the book and its transformation into something else its taken me much longer to get a clear idea of where I’m going with all this.
I soldiered through, writing first an introduction to the Epilogue version, then a new introduction to what would wind up being the new non-Epilogue version of Book #8, then coming up with a whole new -and far better- introduction and scuttling the previous one.
Then, I moved along, on and on, building up scenarios but never quite getting a feel for the book being something worthy of standing on its own and adding to the series in that meaningful way. Mind you, the story was intriguing, even if it felt like it needed that extra something.
I worked hard on it, forcing myself to power through page after page despite worries by the end it might not come together. This is a fear authors have, that their hard work, when all is said and done, will amount to a wiff, a good, but perhaps not great story not worth all that spent effort.
On the other hand, and not to sound too obnoxious, I have confidence in my skills. It takes me a while, sometimes a very long while, to figure out what I’m doing, but with concentration and effort, I usually get to where I want to go.
This past weekend’s break through, my coming up with an ending that puts the novel into a good context within the series itself, did the trick.
Now we have an exciting, suspenseful/thrilling story that anyone coming into this book wondering “Where is he going after Legacy of the Argus?” will feel it adds to the overall story of the series.
Of course, I won’t get into any details as I’m sure the book will go through many permutations as I revise/revisit it and fix it up on its way to being published. I’m still not quite finished with the first full rough draft but getting this conclusion in place sure goes a long way.