Commiting Series: Saying Goodbye

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 *particularly* […]

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Committing Series: Characters


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. 🙂


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An Exercise in Voice

I’m on writing retreat this week, so I’m going to riff off David’s post in which people worry they’ll tell the same story somebody else has told, and give you a writing exercise. Normally I do this in writing seminars where nobody can read each other’s work until it’s finished done, so I’m going to establish one rule and I ask that you actually follow it.

Here’s the rule: first, before you go any further in reading this entry, right-click on “leave a comment/# of comments” and open it in a new tab or window. This is really important for this exercise. The entire point here is that you should absolutely *not* read what other people have written until you’ve done yours. Please, please follow this rule.

Edited to add: Crap. Apparently MW doesn’t open a fresh window with no visible comments unless you’re actually the first commenter. All right, […]

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A Year in the Life: Week 14

This week on the Year of the Life of a Writer: short stories! novels! vacation! …one of those things is not like the other, eh?

Writing: Finished a not-so-short-stort for AFTERMATH, the final Old Races collection, which means that collection is done in good time for its August 1 release date. Yay!

Then I had these grandiose plans of writing AN ENTIRE NOVEL (a short one, but a novel) during vacation. Ahahaha. 🙂 Still, I got 10K written on it. But it was bothering me: it felt too slow, even though I kept looking at it and it was mostly following the structure I wanted. After a while I figured out I’d gotten too far off track in adding some character history/development for someone who didn’t really need it. So I struck that out (saved it for later, though, in case I get a chance to use it) and revised, […]

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A Year in the Life: Week 13

This week on A Year in the Life: artistic triumphs! financial failures! all we need is an operatic ending! 🙂

Writing: It’s been all about the short stories the past couple of weeks, although that makes it sound like I’ve written like 42 of them, when in fact I’ve written more like 1.5. Heh. 🙂 Still, it’s forward motion, and I would say that I’m closing out the first half of the writing year with about 200K under my belt. This is less than I was aiming for, but not at all unrespectable.

I’ve just very belatedly finished the proofs on BABA YAGA’S DAUGHTER, a collection of Old Races short stories that’s out from Subterranean Press this autumn (yes, this really is the year of All The Old Races Stuff, after a 5-year hiatus from that world). And now I’m going to toot my own horn some, because this collection […]

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A Year in the Life: Week 12

Up this week in the Life Of A Writer: book proposals! more book proposals! e-releases! short stories! …and real life.

Writing: I’ve written four book proposals in the last month, which is to my mind utterly inhuman. I never do that. So I’m all impressed and horrified at once. On one hand: go me! on the other hand: don’t make me do it again! They’ve included:

» HEAVEN CAN WAIT, the 3 chapters + synopsis for my Kickstarter project. Finally got a handle on it, it doesn’t entirely suck, but I’m not *really* happy with it, either. Meh.

» Book for my nephew: I’m writing a middle grade series for my nephew. I did the first book last winter and tackled the synopsis for book 2 so I can sit down and Get It Written soon.

» and now for something totally new, an epic fantasy proposal that is Very […]

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A Year in the Life: Week Eleven

Up this week in the Life Of A Writer: collaborations! book proposals! hyperventilating over e-book releases!

Writing: Collaborations: I have, as I am typing this, just finished the next chapter of a collaborative project called LEGION. This is a fun and exciting one for me, because it’s an idea my writing partner Sarah and I developed well over a decade ago. It was intended for a different medium, but we finally thought of writing it as books, so we’re tackling the first one over the course of the summer.

Collaboration is tricksy business. As many of you probably know, Faith and I wrote “Easy Pickings”, a Walker Papers/Jane Yellowrock crossover story, last year (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, I said, making my obligatory shameless self-promotion moment front and center), which was a pretty terrific collaborative effort in terms of great fun. We edited each other, wrote each other’s characters a little, […]

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