I wrote The End this week. After about four months and more than 100,000 words, book four is finished.
Well, sorta. Because really, only the first draft is completed. Normally I don’t do a lot of edits in the first draft. I do edit – I proofread as I go to make it easier later. But normally I DO NOT delete large chunks of text. But that NaNo thing really screwed me up. I deleted about half of it. I’ll never do that again. Some stories can be told like that…running for your life from one scene to the next, getting it all down in a mad rush, and then getting to the end and pretty much everything is in there. Just little continuity details are necessary.
I wrote Fledge that way. In fact, I was writing Fledge in my head as I was finishing up Clutch. I was living and breathing those fights, the deaths, and yes – that scene with Kush was planned from the very start – I thought about them looking out the window at the Deliverance arena from Junco’s room for months before I ever wrote it down. Fledge was complete before I ever opened up my Scrivener, it came that easy.
Of course, there was a lot of editing after the fact – it is rather twisty. But getting those first 100,000 words down was just about the easiest thing I ever did. Clutch was pretty easy too – it’s the first book and I knew I had four more to pull it all together, so that crap just spewed out.
But Flight was harder. It had history to deal with – two whole books of history. Little things that had to add up – like, do you spell those flying car things flier or flyer? I swear I had to look that shit up like a dozen times. I’m still not sure. And everyone’s eye color? I had a freaking chart for that. Especially the avian’s eyes, because they change when they show emotion.
Then along came Range. Believe it or not, I have always known how the end of the series as a whole will happen. I’ve had this entire series thinly plotted way before I ever sat down to write it. It started out as Gideon’s tale actually – it wasn’t about Junco and Tier at all – it was Gideon and Sera from the very beginning. Junco was a psycho from Gid’s past when I decided to write a prequel and make it about her. And Sera was, well – still very much a conniving AI who knew a lot more than she should.
The rest they say, is history.
Writing Range was not easy. It was definitely not like Fledge and it was even a lot harder than Flight because there was very little to discover (comparatively speaking) in this book. It’s all details. Not broad brush strokes, but fine lines that need to all connect. Like why is Lucan who he is? What the hell has he been doing for seven freaking thousand years? Who gives a shit about these stupid Seven Siblings? Who the hell is the High Order and why are they so pissed off? And most of all – what kind of consequences will there be for the change in Junco?
That last one had me almost the entire book. In fact, I was on my way to Wal-mart to pick up stuff to make Christmas cookies today when it finally hit me. Yes, that’s right. The entire theme of the book hit me several days after I finished it. 🙂 What can you do? That’s why you never show anyone the first draft. Fledge non-withstanding, most of the time it’s pure crap.
Range is not crap, not now and it won’t be when it’s finished, either. It’s got some very powerful scenes that lead the reader further down the journey that is Junco’s messed up life and it brings her closer to several people in the process. That was a lot of fun to write.
But this is the fourth book, which means there’s only one more to make it all come together (besides the Tier and HOUSE novella I’m planning for June) and there are a lot of loose ends. Lots of questions still need to be answered, most of which are about Junco’s past. Like why does she ride those horses? And why in the world would her father waste valuable training time on practicing piano? And what IS the deal with Gideon and those SEAR knives?
When I first decided to write a novella from Tier’s POV I wasn’t really convinced I could pull it off. I wasn’t sure I could write his voice after “being” Junco for so long and I wasn’t sure he even had anything to say. But then I decided to pair him up with HOUSE. (This is not a spoiler. HOUSE has very little to do with book four.) Because you don’t put a gun in the first scene unless you’re gonna kill someone with it later. HOUSE is my gun in the first scene.
And her and Tier together are gonna be spectacular.
The very night I finished with Range I started on the Tier and HOUSE novella. I have the title but I’m not gonna tell anyone this time. The fifth book is called Return – I’ve put that out there already. But book 4.5 is gonna remain a secret because it only makes sense once you read Range. And the title also makes perfect sense in that this is how I took all the plans I had for book five and turned them upside down. Because I don’t think it’s fair to the reader if they only get Junco’s side of the story. She is, after all, one of the most unreliable narrators in the history of storytelling.
And you think you know her by now, but you have no idea. No. Idea. She is so much more. Oh, the places she will go…the depths she will stoop to…the lives she has yet to take in the name of revenge. Hate runs deep, that’s a lesson you can take to the bank.
So cheers to me for writing The End and cheers to me again for writing the new beginning as well. I’m so excited to edit Range, I can barely stand it.
And on a related note – James sent me the final cover art for Range this week as well. Scarlett is gonna do the cover copy this time around and SupaGurl Heather is gonna plan a cover reveal for late January. If you’re interested in being part of that, just keep in touch. 😉