Wednesday, February 7, 2018

On Endings

The first draft of AWEN STORM is finally finished, yeehaa! Truth told, it was done by November 31st, my self-imposed deadline.

I just didn’t know it at the time.

What took me so long to realize my draft was complete? And why did I dance around for the next eight weeks, forcing myself to keep writing?

Because I’m not all that good at endings.

I just don’t seem to have the knack—not at ending novels—or chapters in my life. My blog is littered with examples.

As an author who arrived at her craft in later years, I am still learning my writing process. Not your process. Not King’s or Hemingway’s. My process.

Yet even after uncovering my patterns and peculiarities, I tend to forget. Until one rears its head again.

My first effort happened to be a children’s book*. I loved writing Frank and Ernie Find Home, sitting at the PC for hours on end with a silly grin on my face. I had so much fun, I decided that book should be a series. Because—well—that ending thing.

My second was a women’s fiction (ye old chick-lit genre), which I abandoned before "The End". Why? Because to fit that mold, I believed Churches, Chickens & ChiChi's needed to be 80K words—I had bottomed out at 50K.

I missed that 50K is enough for a romance novel/la*. OUCH!

Book One of the Awen trilogy, Awen Rising, is 94K words. I initially wrote 15K past the natural ending. A year later, after beta readers groused about the cliffhanger, I finally understood I had gone too far. Luckily, Book Two begins where One ends, so the extra words/chapters were (mostly) recycled.

Now history repeats itself with Awen Storm.

In all fairness, my muse offered sign after sign that the first draft of Book Two was finished. But this writer misinterpreted, and so, missed them all.

For weeks.

I have since cut the extra chapters (9K words) from Book Two, typed "The End", and moved the chapters into Book Three, Awen Tide.

Two victories.

Even better—this time there was no duplication of effort, as in the transition from One to Two. Meaning, the glitches, the blocks, the walls, and the lessons I talked about last post, were shorter-lived.

Last time it took a whole year.

The takeaway?

After the Churches, Chickens & ChiChi's debacle, I learned that when it's time to type "The End", any new, shiny ideas I receive no longer fit. They are for a new novel—not the current one. It's just harder to discern in the middle of a trilogy or series. 

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

*P.S. Yes, I do plan to dust off both novels, give the romance an ending, and publish.

P.P.S. Thank you for stopping by That Rebel. Please take a moment to drop a line in the comments below. Your words and thoughts matter.

O.J. Barré is the author of the upcoming Awen trilogy, a rollicking science fantasy romance set in 2042CE that combines current, ancient, and future history. Book One, Awen Rising, will debut August 1, 2019. Book Two, Awen Storm, will release in 2020, and Book Three, Awen Tide, in 2021.
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