Finishing the series: I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but given it’s the 1st May, and it’s Insecure Writers Support Group, and I’ve just got back from Camp NaNoWriMo, I thought I’d take it as my subject. I didn’t really understand the one offered 🙂 I hope the story of my writing process will help other writers, especially those in the middle of a series.
Most Insecure Writers will have heard of National Novel Writing Month which happens each November. I prefer the summer camp approach that is Camp NaNoWriMo. It happens in April and July (although I first encountered it one August). I find it ideal for focusing on my work with the support of people in your online ‘cabin’, who (depending on your preferences) may be working in the same genre, or word count, or age group, or something like that. You can leave each other messages, as well as recording your progress towards your goal.
Your goal doesn’t have to be wordcount, and it doesn’t even have to be writing a new novel… I’ve done editing many times, and some have done novellas.
This year I was attempting to finish book 9 of the Princelings series, and get most of the way through book 10, the last in the series. A target of 50,000 words would see me well into the second of the books. I felt that was enough of a target. So how have I done?
Biting off too much?
You may get this same comment in my A to Z Reflections post, but… I seem to bite off more than I can chew, every April, over and over again. As someone says, Madness is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.
One of these things suffered:
- selling my house
- April A to Z Challenge
- Write Club slushpile reader
- Camp Nano
The holiday… well, good intentions are good intentions, but I only wrote 900 words in five days. Nobody was interested in viewing my house except when I was away, so that didn’t trouble me. The April A to Z’s were all written in advance. Visiting people is another story (see Reflections post next week). WriteClub was a restful occupation for an hour or two each night after my brain had written all it could. Check out the fun of WriteClub going on from Monday of this week onwards, and vote for your choice of short story in the battles each day!
Finishing the Series
Yes, I achieved my target of 50,000 words. I finished the ninth book, Chronicles of Marsh, soon after my holiday. I had around 18,000 words already written, and some more short stories to adapt into it. It’s a sort of narrative compilation of everything that hasn’t been covered in a story—hence the ‘chronicles’ bit, but it also takes us onward to the start of the last book. That’s why I had to do them together. I wanted to make sure I had included everything that needed to be said for the last book to work.
I remember J K Rowling saying she had to be locked away in a hotel room to finish the last Harry Potter book. I started to think I knew what she meant a while back. It’s not the distractions of everyday life (and she has a lot more than me, I’m sure), but the pain of putting your favourite characters through the things they have to go through and, well, leaving them to get on with their lives without you. Saying goodbye, in fact. There was one scene that I wrote in tears, and sobbed for half an hour after I finished.
I had an end in sight, but I didn’t know exactly how I was going to put my main characters through it in the last book. With all the stuff going on in the world I suddenly realised that I could use that in my story. I’d already noted things like ‘never underestimate the ability of those in power to get it extremely wrong.’ Although I used words I would not normally write in my blog! I started that at the end of book 8, in which the kings made a terrible decision. Then all that business of Fake News comes in, where people are told feasible lies and made to believe it, or just give up protesting that it’s nonsense.
Eventually, as with all my books, the characters ended up taking their own path to my end point, surprising me along the way. But that is what characters do if they have a personality of their own. I had some different ideas, different scenes, but they got written out, overtaken by events.Finishing the Series: the characters ended up taking their own path, surprising me along the way... #amwriting #campnanowrimo #princelings #IWSG Click To Tweet
I finished writing Chronicles of Marsh at 45,750 words. That’s fine for a nominally MG book. It’s pretty much the median length for the series. There are a couple of things I might put in during the edit, anyway.
Princelings Revolution is currently sitting at 51,250. I think there are some reminders to myself included. There are some loose ends which haven’t been tidied up yet. Maybe they never will.
So I did around 71k at Camp, and a third of that was in the last four days! Now to edit the whole darn lot of it.
Expect Chronicles of Marsh early in the new year. My intention has always been to get the last book out in spring 2021, as that is a significant date in the whole series.
Watch this space for their covers!