On the backslide… (Clearing the Way)

There’s a point when the end becomes clear, and Nathalie decided to show me where the sequel to Clearing begins, thereby showing me where the first part ends.   Now, it’s just a matter of getting there, but with 60,000 words under my belt, it flips over from being an end shrouded in fog and hope and becomes a pretty much done deal.   With my first one, I thought that the end would be a momentous achievement, joy, harps and flutes.   What I know now is that the end is a let down, at least for me.   By the time I’ve  reached the end of any of the novel length efforts, I have purged, and I feel empty and drained.  Restless and unfocused.   Nathalie will be a little better, since it is bringing along a sequel, and since she’s already bothered to give me the first few pages of that, I’ll be going straight into that while turning over the first draft of Clearing to my hubby for review.   By now, the glaring holes in the beginning are becoming readily apparent, and the reality of the edits it needs have made themselves known.   Still need to figure out where it starts at… Chicago?  New York?  So there’s that research.   And since I don’t outline, the beginning of the book needs to be brought into agreement with the end.   Thankfully, Clearing didn’t stray too terribly much over its path, there’s just one big snag that needs to be smoothed down.

But I’ve found a band that gives me a new array of dance/trance (at a volume that stuns the cat) to bring Clearing the Way through to its end.   It will be one of my shorter works, but that’s good…I’ve been fighting the war of the doorstop for too long.  (I recently had a fan of my fanfiction describe one of my fanfics as ‘a relatively short side story’, although it comes in at a hefty 80 pages)   I’d like to see Clearing end at right around 325 pages.

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What the where?

Write what you know.  It’s an exhortation I usually manage to avoid by writing sci fi and fantasy.   When I write those, I’m the boss.  What I say goes.

But “Clearing the Way” is ‘contemporary’ fantasy.  In other words, it starts in the here and now, and works itself away from that to its final destination firmly planted in the post apocalyptic vision in my head.   And with that here and now, we run into issues.   Clearing starts in a city, and I am not a city girl.   I was born, bred and raised in Department of Defense captivity, behind the wire of Air Force bases.   I could write all sorts of material on the joys of being brought in for a curfew violation…at six a.m., but I have little grasp of an urban lifestyle.

Hubby, a Chicagoan, noted that the first draft of Clearing lacks ‘a place’ in the beginning.   I had deliberately left much of that hazy because I didn’t know and intended to come back to it later, because nothing will stop a story in its tracks like trying to do research in the beginning when all it wants to do is be set free to run.

When I imagine those opening pages, I see New York.  The problem is…I’ve never been in New Y0rk.   Neither has hubby.   Is it time to put Natty in a city we have much more  of a grasp of….Chicago….or is it time for some in depth research of a city like New York?   I guess the smartest thing is to take a better look at Chicago and see if there’s someplace there that fits what I see.

Ah, the joys of a sequel. (Clearing the Way, present)

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, pushing The Emperor’s Finest to epublish on Amazon, and quitting my job.  (Long story, and just going to keep right on past that and get to talking about what I’m doing now…)

Anyway, as you know if you’re following this blog, I’m in the middle of my latest book, going under the working title of Clearing the Way.   For those who haven’t been paying a whole lot of attention, “Nathalie and Giddy” (What the story is commonly known as to those involved in its creation) is my version of the contemporary fantasy apocalyptic end of the world genre.  One of the secondary protagonists refers to it as “End of the world zombie apocalypse type of shit…”

It became very obvious, very quickly, that Clearing the Way was moving forward at its own stubborn pace.   It has refused to be jolted into high gear, and at about page 125, my husband noted the obvious pacing issues with “There’s going to be a sequel, right?   Because if there’s not….”   Because if there wasn’t, I better get Nathalie’s butt in gear.   But I had already grasped that eventuality, the story that Nathalie was sharing with me is a far reaching, in depth effort that has been immune to pushing.   The couple of times I have attempted to hike it into high gear sit on the page as glaring, ugly hiccups that will need to be fixed in editing.

So.  Clearing the Way is currently 53, 608 words long.  (276 pages in my current formatting) and is still going strong.   And, likewise, is still barely beginning.   I told myself there’d be no more doorstops in my future, that I had a firm target of 70-80 k words with all of my works, so the new challenge is where, how, to end this gracefully without the concrete foundation of ending at the end of the story.  It’s not done.  It’s not going to be done at 75k words, but I need to find a place that works to bring it to a logical pause.  So far, I don’t see it. Hopefully, Nathalie will provide it…and soon.