An Ending Both Happy and Sad


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.


12 comments to An Ending Both Happy and Sad

  • I loved your ending in the Forelands series and I know that you will do the Southlands justice as well.

    I just hate the fact that you are finishing the series now, but the rest of us won’t get to read it for 2 years.

  • Thanks, Mark. Yoiu shouldn’t have to wait quite that long. I turned in THE HORSEMEN’S GAMBIT around November 1 last year and it’s coming out in January. This one should be on (approximately) the same schedule. [Insert appropriate disclaimers about the production process being beyond my control here….]

  • Well, I just purchased “Rules of Ascension” this weekend and added it to my TBR pile so I guess this is good timing.

  • Many years ago, I read Susan Cooper’s “The Dark Is Rising” sequence, and as I slowly (oh so slowly) read the end of the last book, I wept bitterly. knowing that I was about to say goodbye to some characters I’d come to love like friends. I could always read the books again, but it wouldn’t be quite the same.

    I can only imagine how much harder the goodbye will be for your own creations.


  • Hugs, David.
    I know it’s hard to end a series.
    But that SNT will keep you so very happy.
    It’s like a new puppy without the house training.

  • Frank

    I personally can’t wait to see what comes of your “shiny new” idea that you have been chomping at the bit to get started on.

    I am hearing “Pomp and Circumstance” in my head for some reason….

  • Congratulations! *raises a glass to your world*

  • Beatriz

    *minion hugs and promises of chocolate to make things better*

    Ditto everything Misty said– but to add that I look forward to finishing the journey with your characters.

  • Thanks for the well wishes and hugs all. I really didn’t want this post to sound as maudlin as it apparently did. I’ll miss the world, but I’m also excited to move on, and I appreciate Catie’s toast and Frank’s strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Those are more in keeping with my thinking about all this. Not that I’ll ever turn down hugs, or chocolate for that matter. But this is kind of like sending my kid off to college might feel like in another few years. A few tears, but mostly it’ll be nice to move on to the next stage.

    And yes, cedunkley, this is a great time to be getting into Rules of Ascension. Then again, I’m an author, and I’d be hard pressed to come up with a time when I wouldn’t think it was good that you were buying one of my books…. 😉

  • L. Jagi Lamplighter

    > 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.

    This made me laugh because what went through my mind was: “What do they all turn into ghosts and carry on despite the catastrophe?”

    I sympathize though. My third volume’s main fault is that in order to wrap everything up I had to have much more writing after the climax than I would have liked…but I couldn’t find any other way of dealing with it. There was just too much to wrap up.

    I hope yours goes well.

  • Thanks, Jagi. I think I’ll be able to wrap stuff up without too much trouble. There’s one thing I want to do at the end that Jim won’t like, but I’m going to do it anyway.

  • L. Jagi Lamplighter

    You go, David!