The Song of the Sisters is complete but in need of some editing and formatting before it goes out to the world, but I have some time and thought hey, I should start the next one. Time tends to be at a premium around here, so I do my best not to waste it (too much). So far I have poured 153,038 words–almost 700 pages of writing into this book series and I’m well over the crest and heading down the other side, but…
Confession time. I have no idea how to start this one.
The Mark of the Hummingbird was pretty easy to start, and before I started writing it, I also knew exactly how to start The Song of the Sisters. This one is giving me grief. I’m not even 100% sure who to make my POV characters. Do I dip into the well of the ones I have already used? Or drag up some unknowns who have no history (yet) and give them a killer backstory to help propel it along?
Some people would say that I should just skip the beginning and write it later, but I find that my personal writing style doesn’t really allow for that. I write better if the pieces fall into place as I go, and they can’t do that without a beginning.
So many decisions, but on the positive side, I do know how it’s going to end. Now it’s just a matter of getting there.
There is something about getting thousands of words onto paper and then scrawling (and by that, I mean typing) the words “the end” at the bottom of a page that lends itself to a moment of silent reflection (or in my case reflection punctuated by the screaming of preschoolers and the refrain from “Stella and Sam”).
When I finished The Mark of the Hummingbird, I had a minor freak-out. Writing was something I had wanted to do since I was old enough to be aware that actual people wrote the words that were in the books I loved. Writing my own and sending it out into the world was completely terrifying to me. It had been a dream for so long (without really any idea if it would ever come true or not) that I was scared that I would fail miserably at it, and everything I had ever wanted would come crashing down around me in a blazing fireball of inadequacy.
Slowly, one by one, people began to read it, and love it, and a new fear set in. I’m sure it’s one many writers of serial fiction come across–I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to repeat it, that the second book would be a letdown and the whole series would be another crashing fireball (I seem to be stuck on the fireball metaphor). The last few days have been extremely satisfying to me, hearing back from my first-round-readers and discovering that they were just as engaged (in some cases more so) with “The Song of the Sisters” as with the first book.
I honestly feel like I’m walking on a cloud. To have a dream and then realize you also might be kind of good at it… well, there’s just no describing that.
I don’t know what will happen, whether I will ever achieve my goal of teaching the world how to pronounce my last name (Like “Gollum”, but with a B), but there is still something totally exhilarating about just doing it.
At the risk of sounding like a cornball… go. NOW. Find your “thing” and do it. Succeed, fail, who cares, just do it. Don’t let the sun go down with you standing in the shadows thinking “what if?”.
I am not a secretive person, in fact, I am so not-secretive that Husband often gets ticked at me because I tell people too much. It’s a problem, really, but I have never really felt like I have anything to hide.
This is a giant problem.
You see, I just finished writing The Song of the Sisters and am in the midst of having other people read it and provide critiques. Many of these people have read The Mark of the Hummingbird too so are nicely wrapped up into the characters by now. Without a single word of the next book written yet, they have begun to ask what will happen.
And I want to tell them.
It kills me that I can’t. I want to say things like “Oh, you know what I’m going to do to (insert character)?” or “So I was thinking of killing (insert character).” I feel like I need to talk it out, so when people ask specific questions I want to let it all go… except for one thing.
No one actually wants to know.
So, you ask, I shut my trap and smile, you end up happier… you know why? It’s because telling you how things end will ruin the experience of the book, and I can’t do that. You love reading, you enjoy the way the stories fall together and the relationships are built, and if I tell you the answers before you get to do that, I’ll be robbing you of that.
As hard as it is for you, let me tell you, it’s harder for me. It will be a miracle if I can release “The Rise of the Forgotten” without biting my tongue off completely first (That would be awful, since my tongue is already pretty short… see what I mean? No secrets here!)
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. -Jean-Jacques Rosseau