So, I've finished book 3. Only I haven't really finished book 3 because it still needs massive edits, replacing, and glueing the two strands together. That's the craft part really, rather than the creative part of pushing the story onto the page and following the different perspectives. I wrote 5,500 words yesterday - all day, the last 3 chapters of Kelleys' journey, just leaving the finishing half a chapter for today. I'm reluctant to end - I want to follow their story on to the next few years, really!
I have been asked a gazillion times by new writers - how long should a book be? Well, you'll get lots of different answers, but you won't get a look at less than 85-90k and you will struggle with over 120k (unless they are epic fantasy). Big books take up too much space on the shelf for a début and less than 90k makes it hard to write a full, character-led book. This ones at 103k at the moment and will finish around 110k. Because it's the last book of the trilogy I need to work at finishing story arcs, especially for less important characters.
The hardest thing has been killing off a couple of my characters. Their race is run, I can't see them doing anything essential, and the drama of their sacrifice works. So it has gone off to my son, Carey (who really is my no.1 editor) who has been hunched over all the chapters, sorting and making notes. He will help me stitch it together in the next few days then - Pow! Off to Charlotte, my agent (I still love saying that). Really, I write for Carey and Charlotte first, then start to refine the book for a family audience (all of whom come back with a million things they would like to change) and then off to my editor, Michael Rowley. It occurs to me - this is the end of my present collaboration with Del Rey, and then I go back to being like every other aspiring author - looking for another book deal! Scary thought, especially as I've just got used to working with Del Rey UK and I think the relationship has been a great learning curve and safe place for me, as I got used to the publishing world! I'm lucky to have an editor who really loves fantasy and sci-fi. I'm also dying to see what book 3 will look like - here is book 2.
Now I just have to come up with a name for the book. Secrets of ... what?Bloody hell, this is the hardest bit... suggestions on a postcard...