Is it my imagination, or are the weeks just flying by right now? It seems like every time I turn around it’s time for me to write my Monday MagicalWords post.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m finishing up my current book, the third and final volume of my Blood of the Southlands series. Right now I’m writing the last big action scene. You know, the one where all the main characters are killed in a massive (not to mention anachronistic) nuclear explosion. Oh, oops! Did I give too much away…?
But even after that big climactic scene, I’ll still have a few chapters left to write. I’ll need to tie up some loose ends and give my readers some sense of the fates of my surviving characters (yeah, okay, I was just kidding about the nuclear explosion thing). I can’t just end a book, particularly the last book of a series, with the big climax. I need to give some resolution to the various subplots.
These last chapters in the final book of a long project give both reader and writer an opportunity to say goodbye. I know that probably sounds strange, but it’s true. By the time Blood of the Southlands is finished, my readers will have invested a good deal of time in the Forelands/Southlands universe. Eight books worth. I’d like to think that they’ve come to care about the world and the people living in it. I don’t want to yank them out of it too abruptly. These resolution chapters ease the exit from this world. Put another way, the closing chapters in a concluding book are like the coda of a symphony. They give a sense of closure, a chance to process both the triumph and the tragedy of the ending.
And those chapters give me a chance to say goodbye, too. I’ve been writing in this world for eight years now. That’s way more than half of my career; hell it’s more than one sixth of my entire life! I love this world. I love the characters I’ll be leaving here. In the end, I need to convince myself that they’ll be all right without me, that the world will be able to live on in some small corner of my mind.
So I’m doing more than finishing a book this month. I’m putting the finishing touches on an important chapter in my creative life. (No, fans of the Forelands/Southlands, this doesn’t mean that I’m never planning to write in this world again. But I do need a break from it.) As much as I’m looking forward to starting my next project (my Shiny New Toy) I’m also a bit melancholy about this ending. I want to make certain that I get it right.