Out with the old, in with the old

out with oldI was chatting about What Next? coming out soon and mentioning how difficult the book had been to complete, for a variety of reasons.  Interestingly, the reason I least expected was the difficulty in the continuing characters and sequential storyline.

There wasn’t any shortage of enthusiasm to continue the tale and complete the story.  I’m excited about the prospect (although nervous about being able to deliver the satisfying conclusion…more about that in a moment) of bringing the trilogy to a close.  I think I’ve got some great surprises for you when you get Book 3.

My difficulty simply stemmed from the other ideas that floated through my head; ideas for stories totally unrelated to the Jeremy Shuttle Adventures.  When I hit my occasional stumping points in Book 2, these other ideas seemed even more appealing, like a siren call trying to lure me away from finishing What Next?

It occurs to me this may be a similar issue for other writers.  The demands of a continuing saga with recurring characters requires more “bookkeeping” than you might imagine.  In order to remain interesting, the characters have to grow and change, but it must be organic, that is, feel natural to the characters’ behavior and history.  Even in fantasy, the changing of a coward to a hero or a generous person to a vicious killer cannot be portrayed as if a light switch was flicked without losing all credibility with the reader.

Similarly, plot threads developed early must be logically extended or brought to a conclusion or else you once again risk jarring the reader out of that magical place where their mind fills in the blanks the writer has left for them.  Remembering who said what to whom at precisely when in the timeline of events is critical to that organic growth I mentioned earlier.

I’ve read many series by authors that start off with amazing promise, brimming with energy and imagination.  Some of these are completed magnificently, to the reader’s great satisfaction.  Other times, there seems to be a weariness in the saga, as if perhaps it went just one book (or movie or episode) too long.  Whether in fact or appearance, the writing doesn’t feel as vivid and too often the ending disappoints.

Given that this has happened to writers of far greater acclaim than me, I admit to some trepidation as I near the conclusion of my saga.  Though the pull from those other ideas seems stronger than ever, I am committed to making the final book in Jeremy’s adventure, What Now?, an entertaining and satisfying finish.

It’s what I would want to read.  I’m sure you want the same.

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