Back when I was working on my Masters, I had been writing my research paper (I didn’t do a thesis; I did a coursework Masters and a research paper with an oral defense) for months. When it was finally submitted and I’d defended it and I went home that night, I remember the feeling of not having anything to do.
It’s uncomfortable. I don’t like it.
I generally get that now, writ small, when I finish a novel. There’ll be a period of ennui, I guess, when I look back at the book and I’m proud of it and all, but that roller coaster of discovery and frantic writing to get down the story as it comes is over, and I’m wandering aimlessly through the park looking for the next ride.
(If this sounds like a drug addiction, well, yeah.)
So anyway, I finished the body of OOP #5 yesterday (the epilogue(s) remain to be written) and I sort of expected that feeling again, because not only is this the end of a book, it’s the end of a series. Dev and Lee have occupied probably three quarters of a million of my words over the past decade, and you’d think saying good-bye would be a bigger deal. No doubt I will be writing a lot more along these lines in the coming year and a half, but this doesn’t feel like good-bye. Not the way I said good-bye to Kory and Samaki at the end of Waterways, or the way I said good-bye to Volle and Streak at the end of Pendant of Fortune.
Partly this is because it isn’t good-bye. My fox and tiger have already made it very clear that they have another book’s worth of story in them, but that story is not part of the OOP arc and is probably a “five years on” kind of thing. The world has changed since 2009, and I would like to update them into it. I think Lee would be delighted at the societal changes, and Dev would be happy to see where football is going.
Additionally, the side characters are clamoring for some spotlight, and it is very likely that I will collect all the OOP bonus stories with a few others into a “Tales of the Firebirds” kind of collection before too long. OOP #5 has addressed some stories but also raised more questions, and when you make up side characters that are basically people, you start to get interested in their stories.
Furthermore, I do not exactly have nothing to do now. I need to turn my attention to Secret Project #1 and I have a Calatians rewrite to finish and I am going to this novel workshop in a couple weeks for which I have to read everybody’s entries and I have this fall’s Cupcake to edit and I have a couple short pieces that need finishing and I have Black Angel to write and and and and and…anyway.
But I think part of it also has to do with the ending. I knew where the book ended, but not how, if you get what I mean, or maybe I mean the reverse; anyway, somewhere in all that I found the ending and I really like the tone of it. A lot of the book needs serious work; it is a first draft, after all, and probably it will get nicely chopped up and stitched together again. But I feel like the ending is going to remain. It hits the right note for the pair and it makes me happy in a way that my better endings do, so it feels right.
Sorry about going on about a book you guys won’t read for another year and a half, but, y’know, by that time I’ll have written a few more. And you get “Uncovered” this summer, which I’m also really excited about, and will start posting more about as July approaches.
I don’t think any overview of Dev and Lee would be complete without thanking all of you for taking them to your hearts. They and I are grateful beyond what we can express to have the chance to share their story, and the response has been so amazing that at times I can’t really believe it. Thank you all so much.