Endings are the most bittersweet part of writing. Sure, the blank page is hard, and the sloppy middle causes procrastination, but the end holds a special power to bring an assortment of emotions to a writer that can be hard to handle.
I published my first novel, Maladaptation, in 2015. It was the product of a lot of hard work and FOUR YEARS in the making, so it was my baby for a long time. Even after I started the second book in the series, this book was special. It was my masterpiece – my magnum opus – and no other work held the same place in my heart.
It was proof that I was a writer. That I had ARRIVED.
Then time passed. I wrote and published other books, like the second in the series, Cluster B, and a couple of romances. I pressed forward. I persevered. I wrote like a madwoman.
Honestly, I went a little nuts.
After the second book, I was so burned out on the story’s universe that I had to get away from it for a while. Being so close to it for so long – over five years between the two books – left me feeling burned out and beat down.
I read Maladaptation again recently with fresh eyes and found it wasn’t the gem I thought it was. It’s a good book, definitely, and I’m proud of having written it, but its sheen has faded. I see it for what it is: my first book, the story through which I learned most of what I know about the art of writing.
The time I spent writing other stories in different genres renewed my faith in the series, which I decided recently would only be a trilogy, and I decided that 2017 is the year I will wrap it all up.
I’m overjoyed to see myself wrapping up this passion project, but also pretty sad. After all, I spent a lot of time on these characters. I filled them with myself. I shaped them into more than the archetypes they were when I began writing the first story in 2011.
It’s all the more reason to face this project head-on. I’m already about a quarter of the way finished with the first draft of the third book, Eager Observer, after two long false starts. This one feels like a winner, and I’m headed toward the bittersweet end with an open heart and guns blazing.
My characters deserve no less.