Friday, June 3, 2011

Reflections on a Finished Book

My blogging habits have become down right strange recently. For a long time, I was lucky to post once a week and now I'm posting twice a day.

1. If you own or have ever owned an e-reader or similar device, please scroll down to my earlier posts and offer up a little advice.

2. I'm still running the Name That Character contest. I forgot to put an end date, so I have decided to close the board to suggestions on June 11 -- one week from now. Scroll down to the appropriate blog entry and please help me name my evil character.

3. I'm thinking about hosting a Live Chat on my discussion board before and after the release of Burn the Night. Interested? Leave a comment here.

Finally, down to business.

After a long week of pounding away at the keyboard and cursing at my screen when I was held tightly in the grips of writer's block, I have finally typed "The End" on my seventh book. (Well, I've actually written more than that, but this is my seventh contracted book.) A part of me wasn't sure that I was going to finish the book today as I had trouble visualizing the final scene. However, I've learned that sometimes the best ideas come to me when I'm driving. Happily, the ending more or less solidified when I drove to the post office.

The book has run short, which I wasn't too surprised about, since five of the six Dark Days books ran short in the initial draft. Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to revise it and add another scene, which should add some more girth. And then when I do my revision with my editor's letter, I'm sure the book will grow even more.

I'll post some stats about the book as well as my decision my the character name in the coming weeks, but I thought I would get some of my initial thoughts down on this book while they are fresh in my mind.

This is the first book in a new series, and as a result, it was filled with lots of surprises for me. I spent the better part of seven years working on Mira's world before it came to an end. When I was working on Burn the Night, the final book, there really weren't many surprises for me. I really enjoyed working on it, but I knew the plot and I knew the characters very well. There just didn't seem to be room for surprises any longer. Now, I am just getting to know the characters of the Tattoo Artist, and they hold so much wonder and discovery for me. And it wasn't just the main characters. I had side characters that I hadn't planned on popping up and stealing scenes. This book really was a lot of fun to write.

The End

I've heard some authors compare finishing a book to finishing a marathon; the mixed feelings of exhaustion and triumph. Finishing a Dark Days book never quite felt like that for me. Closing out a Dark Days book was more akin to being a survivor crawling from a traumatic event. By the time I finished a book, my mind was numb, my hands were shaking, and I was emotionally raw. Mira & Co. went through a lot in those books and I was right there with them. For days after finishing a book, I would be depressed or withdrawn as I tried to separate myself from the book.

With the Tattoo Artist books, I've consciously tried to make a detour from that trend. That's not to say that the characters don't go through some rough stuff, and some of it hit a lot closer to home than I would care to think about, but I refused to shy away from tough subjects. Yet, I'm trying two things with this series. I am attempting to make each book more of a stand-alone. Of course, there will be plot lines that move from book 1 to book 2, but you should feel comfortable reading book 2 even if you haven't gotten to book 1 yet. (fingers crossed I succeed in this endeavor)

The second is for both the reader and me to walk away from the book feeling okay. The Dark Days books tended to end on a dark note frequently and I'm trying to find a way to end on a positive note. Everything might not be resolved or dark things might be looming on the horizon, but the main characters still finds something positive to hang onto.

Today was a good day.

1 comment:

Steven said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this series. There was an old online game I used to play (text only, like Zork, so that tells you how old!) in which the vampire you played could learn how to give magical tattoos to give you an instant boost when you touched it. I really like that part of the game so when I read about your ideas for this book I got excited. I'm looking forward to reading what you do with the concept! Hurry up and finish it so I can buy it! =)