Last week, about seven months after I posted the beginning, I posted the last part of Camouflage, a 99,400-word novel. I’ve written previously about how it came to be (in the introduction to the novel itself), and now that it’s over, I thought I’d write about a few of the things I’ve learned.
I’ve learned that when a story grabs me the way this one did, I can ride it all the way to the end. When I came up with the twist that makes Camouflage a novel rather than a short story, I was intrigued enough that I never grew bored. The characters came to life for me, and the story has a simple enough formula that I can hang decorations on it and still plow forward.
I’ve learned that I can keep interest in an episodic novel online, which is harder than it sounds. Writing bite-sized scenes was–well, mostly I wrote the way I always do and just chose the segments to highlight suspense. To my delight, there were ample moments for suspense in the story. I first tried this back when I wrote Shadow of the Father (though I didn’t post that online), but sometimes it’s good to go back and refresh your skills.
I’ve learned what an orchiectomy is.
I’ve learned a lot about medieval Europe, and Lyon (Tigue) in particular. I could study that stuff for ages (ha ha).
I’ve learned that I have a fair number of white (and one grey) tiger fans. Hopefully one or two more now. :)
I’ve learned that my readers are pretty smart, or at least have learned a lot about the way I write. Several people guessed where things were going, and even if they weren’t right, they enjoyed speculating, and I enjoyed being able to watch the experience of reading in slowed-down time, as it were. I’m going to miss that, although I confess it’ll be something of a relief to not have to post something every Tuesday and Thursday morning.
Would I do this again? Maybe. A lot of it depends on what happens next, and that’s something I’ve been asked over and over. Right now, I don’t know. I have interest from a publisher and an artist, so it will likely be a print book at some time in the future, but first I want to go back over the manuscript and fix a few things. I already have some ideas for places I want to smooth the story over, little things to change here and there. The main story won’t change, but I think the writing can be improved (it can always be improved). So I’ll work on that this year, and hopefully toward the fall, I’ll be able to announce something about where you can find Camouflage in print. And e-book, and maybe audiobook if I can find someone willing to narrate gruesome scenes. :)
Anyway, it’s been really a wonderful ride. Thank you guys for sharing it with me–your encouragement and enthusiasm really made this a great experience. I had imagined getting to part forty or so and posting it to one or two comments, wondering if anyone would still be interested…but you guys bugged me when I forgot to post on time, jumped on the segments when they went up, and talked about them a lot, and so it never became a chore. All the <3 to you, and I hope we can do it again sometime.
But not too soon, okay? :)