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.


Morgan Cartwright said...

It looks like you had quite an adventure with your writing process. I am glad you are discovering your own writing process and how things work for you.
You are doing a good job.
Happy Wednesday

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Hi Morgan,

I just joined IWSG, thank you for stopping by! I look forward to reading your post as well!

~ Olivia/O.J.

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Morgan, for some reason, I can't seem to leave a comment on your blog. Tried several times. It says "publishing..." but then there's nothing there.'s great to meet you!

~ That Rebel, Olivia/O.J.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I always find it fascinating to see how other writers work. For me, I love reading and writing endings, especially ones that both answer story questions and still manage to keep the story and characters alive for a little while longer. :)

Welcome to the IWSG!

cleemckenzie said...

You've had a very full writing schedule! Congratulation on setting that deadline and then making it.

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Hi Madeline!

Thank you so much for stopping by That Rebel, and for welcoming me to the IWSG. I'm glad I found you gals and guys.

As a reader, I have always felt that most endings are either anticlimactic, or pass too quickly. There's a fine line, I guess, in saying too much, or not enough. My tendency as a writer leans toward the first. It's a learning process, for sure.

Thanks again!

~ That Rebel, Olivia/O.J.

Anonymous said...

I love how much self-discovery you've had during your whole process. That's awesome. I think I'm a constant work in progress. It took my husband to say to me, "Hit publish, it's ready!" for me to finally publish my book last year, but that was more fear than anything else. Congrats!!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Welcome to the IWSG!
Well, it might take you a while to realize your ending, but on the plus side, you get a chunk of writing on the next one done. Look at it that way!

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Hi Clee, thank you for stopping by! Sorry it took so long to answer, I've been under the weather this week and barely survived work. Recouping and taking a few minutes to hop on here to say hi, and thank you! Will be by your blog this weekend.

~ That Rebel, Olivia/O.J.

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Elsie, thank you! Yes, it helps to have others to support our efforts and to help us say, "Okay. It's time."

Yes, the self-discovery is a wonderful part of the writing process. We get to learn all kinds of wonderful (and not-so) things about our selves. I love it!

I'll be by your blog this weekend!

~ That Rebel, Olivia/O.J.

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Hi Alex! It's great to see you!! Thank you for the welcome. It's great to reconnect with you and the other awesome authors in the Blogverse. I look forward to many great months and years.

~ That Rebel, Olivia/O.J.

Bish Denham said...

Greetings from your co-host! I rather admire people who write series and trilogies for the simple reason that I have my ending in mind right from the start and to string it out over several books it too daunting a task for my poor pea-brain. :D

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