I finished the copyedits on Sunday, a day later than planned, but I'm pleased with the result. There were a number of silly errors in them that were simply missed because I was focused on too many of the big picture items when I was working on the initial revisions. I have to admit that Dawnbreaker went through some massive revisions as I wove in some unexpected subplots to help fill out the book.
Finishing Dawnbreaker has afforded me the chance to take a step back and look over the series, where it's been and where it's going. Something I've not taken the time to do in quite a while. The main story arc that was started with Nightwalker is concluded, in a fashion, with Dawnbreaker. In some ways, the stories progressed exactly how I expected them to. But in some ways, the stories took a number of turns that I hadn't expected. In Dayhunter, Mira makes a massive decision that I hadn't planned on and will have repercussions through the remainder of the series. In Dawnbreaker, a new character is introduced that I hadn't planned on until I started putting her on the page, and I have a feeling that she's going to be popping in and out for quite a while, causing mischief.
If I've learned anything from my three-book experience, it's that I have to remain flexible. There are my plans, and then there are Mira's plans. Sometimes they don't always match, and we have to come to some kind of compromise. In the end, I have to remember to stay true to the characters that I've created, or my beloved readers are going to toss the book across the room and not come back to me.
One other thing that I've learned is that I have a delicate balancing act that I have to maintain as I continue the series. I will admit that I don't have the entire series intricately plotted out for the next six books. Ha! Wouldn't that be nice? But I do have certain things that need to be accomplished for my world and for my characters. There are plot lines that I've started in the first 3 books that need to be tied up, there are things that need to happen so that my characters can progress and grow, or possibly even take a step backward. It happens to the best of us, why can't it happen in a book?
But it's the character growth and development that I've noticed recently that has been neglected in a strange manner. That's not to say that Mira, Danaus, and a few other key characters haven't changed and grown in some way throughout the past three books. But after finishing Dawnbreaker, I have to admit that I paused with one character and found myself asking, "Do we want to go down this route?" It's like watching a good friend slipping down a dark path through a series of somewhat questionable decisions, that while not necessarily bad, had some less-than-honorable motives behind them. So, as I approach Book 4, I find myself with an interesting decision: Do I let this character continue to slide, or do I pull this person back from the dark abyss?
So, the balancing act of pursuing certain plot points of interest, while expanding my characters on a personal, emotional level continues. At this point, I think the hard part is not letting my own emotions get in the way, but trying to keep true to what the story demands.
Salvation or dark abyss?
I wish the answer was as easy to find as choosing a star in the night sky to wish upon.