So you’ve written a million or so words in lead-up and now you’re at the end of the series. The last book. The grand finale. You’ve spent hundreds, even thousands, of hours with these characters, plotting and twisting your way through their lives.
How the heck do you say goodbye?
More than that, even: how do you make it worthy? How do you pay off a million words of build-up, a decade of putting stories out there and (hopefully!) having people ask for more? How do you create something *satisfying* at the end of all that, something that will leave you, your characters and your readers all saying, “Yeah. Yeah, that was how it should have ended. That was right.”?
My God, it’s not easy.
For me…for me it’s generally about balance, and with the Walker Papers and Joanne, who began the story badly unbalanced, it’s [...]
Continue reading Commiting Series: Saying Goodbye
I wrote the first Walker Papers novel, URBAN SHAMAN, in the year 2000. The final book, SHAMAN RISES, just came out this month, which means it’s been a 14 year journey.
Any 14 year relationship takes a lot commitment, and I’m not sure that’s something we think about very clearly at the start of writing a series. It’s just like any other relationship, then: everything is fresh and new and exciting, the ideas are good, the adventures are many…
…and then you may find yourself four books later with four or five more to go, and you might be wondering what you got yourself into. Why did you think you wanted to spend this much time with these people? How are you supposed to survive yet another revision? What on earth is the plot for the next book? Can you just give it up now and hide from readers [...]
Continue reading Committing Series: Emotional Commitment
I mentioned in my last post that character story arcs are extremely important to me as a writer. I want my characters to change: I want them to start somewhere and end someplace else. It can be a significant change or a subtle one, but I want to put them through those paces.
But then there are the characters who surprise you. Characters you might have plans for who go totally off the rails–and if you want to know the truth, practically all of the Walker Papers characters went off the rails. I’m going to talk mostly about Gary, Joanne’s 74-year-old cab-driving sidekick, behind the cut, although I can’t talk about where it all ends because it gets Too Spoilery.
Continue reading Committing Series: Characters
Hello, Magical Words! It’s been a long time since I’ve visited, but I’m delighted to be back for the month of July! For those of you who have come to these halls since my time, I’m CE Murphy, author of a lot of urban fantasy, including the just-completed Walker Papers series–which is what I’ll be talking about this month. There will probably be some high-level, themeatic spoilers in these posts, but with any luck they’re the kind of thing that will enhance the reading experience rather than spoil the details.
Mechanic Joanne Walker has no use for the mystical–but the mystical has a lot of use for her. When a near-death experience leaves her the choice between life as a shaman or dying, she chooses life–and finds herself hunted by old gods as she struggles to gain control of her new powers.
That’s pretty much the elevator pitch [...]
Continue reading Committing Series: Writing The Walker Papers
“Whew,” I said in the writing chat room, “finished my galleys.”
“Oh good,” Mikaela said, “does that mean you’ll have time to write your MW post?”
Chastened, I come to write it.:)
Know what I’ve been doing? NOT WRITING. A lot of NOT WRITING. I’ve learned how to do a book layout in InDesign. I’ve been staring a bit miserably at the writing I need to do. I’ve gone to one of the local SF conventions. A week ago I finished all the book layout stuff and said, “Yay! Now maybe I can get back to ACTUAL WRITING.”
And the galleys for MOUNTAIN ECHOES, the 8th Walker Papers novel, landed in my inbox. Seriously, like, while I was writing a blog post saying “Maybe I can get back to the writing now,” before I got to the end of it, the galleys arrived. #NotFair, to coin a Twitter phrase.
Continue reading A Year in the Life: Week 20
I think we’re up to about week 19 of A Year in the Life. Close enough, anyway!
Actually, the past month has been quite a disappointment in writing terms. I’ve finished a short story and done some more book proposals, or at least the first stages of them–synopses.
The first synopsis is for the Big New Project I discussed several weeks ago. At the moment I’ve got about 2000 words written on what is very much a high-level, first pass version of the synopsis. Normally I would think that was actually enough, but the size and depth of this particular project suggests to me that I’m probably going to need to triple the length of the synopsis. And also write a separate world building file, which I assure you I have never done before. I anticipate the actual proposal–the rough draft chapters of the book–to come in at a couple [...]
Continue reading A Year in the Life: Week 19
First off, I want to thank everybody who participated in my Voice Exercise post two weeks ago. If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to go read it, and to read the stories everyone submitted.
I was actually quite nervous about trying this in a blog format, because it would’ve been so easy for people to cheat. Normally I do it in classes, where it’s pretty much impossible to cheat. But it’s clear to me that people followed the rules that I established, so now I’m going to drive the point home:
No one can ever write the story you will write. Do not ever tell yourself that there’s no point in trying to tell a story because it’s been done before. It may have been, but you have not done it, and that means there’s still something unique you can bring to it.
I gave you guys six [...]
Continue reading An Exercise in Voice: Results