With one final writing session on the last day of April, I bring my first draft to a stopping point. Technically, there are still probably two chapters to write, but at this point all that's left for those are choreography. I know who's fighting who, I know my big last second twist, I know my final scene, even if I'm still not exactly sure what the characters will decide to do in the last sentences.
The last few chapters have been pretty satisfying. Stagger and Infidel were reunited for most of a chapter and got to talk out some family issues. Sorrow was off stage for a good deal of the time, but when she did reemerge, she'd regained the intensity of purpose that always made her so compelling for me.
Oh! And Menagerie also gets in a moment of glory. I like having him around. He's competent, and good at fixing problems, but also knows when to shut up.
I'm going to ignore the book now for an indeterminate time. It's possible I could start a second draft in June, but I may wind up putting it off until August. June is getting really full of Piedmont Laureate events and I'll be at the beach two weeks in July. It won't hurt to let things percolate.
My biggest worry about the book right now is that it lacks a strong central character. That's not necessarily fatal to a book. Dragonseed is a good example of a book I've written with no single main character. But, the Bitterwood books always had an ensemble cast, while my Dragon Apocalypse Books have been focused more on single characters. Infidel stars in Greatshadow, Stagger gets more of the spotlight in Hush, and Sorrow is present in all but a handful of scenes in Witchbreaker. I had originally intended to focus on Slate, but the story was simply bigger than him. The Black Swan became my back up central protagonist, and she does drive a lot of the plot, but she's just crossed a line, a line Sorrow straddled in Witchbreaker, where her drive to complete an all important mission has stripped away most of her humanity. It was possible to tell a story of Sorrow fighting to recover her humanity in Witchbreaker, but the Black Swan is never going to be able to call herself human ever again. This makes her tricky to identify with.
I'm hoping as the book percolates between drafts that I might find some way to make people care about the Black Swan, versus just caring about what she's trying to do, which is save the world. Or, I might decide that the story is fine being split between the various cast members.
If any of you encounter me this summer, and I have a haunted look in my eye, you'll have some clue as to what's going through my mind.
Welcome to my worlds!
I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!