As many of you know, I’ve spent the last several years writing novels in my spare time. The main effort has been behind a seven-part-series called The Madrona Heroes Register about a group of kids in Seattle with superpowers. Like Star Wars, I started with book #4 which came out in 2013. The fifth book, came out in 2014, and now I’m eight-nine chapters away from finishing book #6. And while there are three prequels to write after this, and then a seventh final wrap-up book, I have been stuck on finishing the last 20% of this book for the last several weeks. But I need to get unstuck.
I know that most of you haven’t read the books, but some of you have. This book, book #6 represents the end of the first trilogy and therefore it really does wrap up several storylines. For two and three quarter novels I’ve been slowly revealing little tidbits, taking the reader on different paths, showing little clues about where the story is headed. And my alpha readers who are reading along as I write this latest installment have confirmed to me that they truly have no idea how this book is going to end. So that’s a good thing. I didn’t want to telegraph the ending.
But I think I’ve encountered a new challenge, I am desperately nervous that the ending won’t be satisfying. For weeks now I’ve avoided writing the end of the book with a myriad of stupid excuses (watching bad television, cleaning the basement, etc.). But now there’s no escape. If I’m gonna publish it in May it needs to be done now. And it’s not like I don’t know what happens. The ending has been pretty much set since the summer of 2012 when I conceived of the entire story. But here I am, struggling to finish these last few chapters. And the only explanation I can think of is that I’m worried my readers will get to the end and think “that’s it?”
In the previous two books I didn’t worry as much because I knew we were heading to a greater conclusion. I could always justify that they didn’t know the whole picture. But now, the readers really will know everything. (Or at least almost everything.) I didn’t expect to feel differently about ending this book, but it appears I do.
And if you’re wondering why I’m bothering to share this, it’s because what I have learned consistently over the last several years is that the only thing that gets me to write when I don’t want to is by making the ‘not-writing’ even worse than the writing. Never underestimate the power of self-imposed public humiliation.
So, now that this last excuse has been removed from my path (writing this post that is), I really have zero excuses for not finishing the book. My goal is to get it all done before Christmas Eve. Wish me luck.
p.s. The image is a preview of one of the new chapter illustrations for the book. It’s also kind of what my workspace looks like right now. Enjoy!