Monday, February 8, 2016

When the End Comes

I spent nearly nine months on the first Bryony portion of Before the Blood, word count currently at 79,770 (for those who care), a little longer than the estimated 55,000 for all the incomplete novels that comprise this book. Considering how pivotal Bryony herself is to the entire story, I'm cool with it. I'm not one to stick to arbitrary word counts (except as guidelines) and feel that one writes the words that tell the story.


My goal was to finish it last weekend, which didn't quite happen, so I pecked away at it last week and hit the goal early Saturday evening, ready to start Henrty's section. I was less jubilant than I anticipated.


The last comprehensive first drafts of anything Henry (outlining for this book and editing of Bryony don't count) was exactly seven years ago. I've looked forward to this moment for a long time.

I learned something in writing this particular type of experimental novel. Although it is technically one book, those unfinished novels that string it together really do have unqiue character, flavor, tone, and personallity. After writing the John section and the Kellen section, I knew I'd need a pause of sorts, a cleaning of the mental palate, before proceeding to the next portion.

This time, however, I needed a bigger break, and this surprised me.

I think it's less because this section was longer and more because of the volume of three-dimensional characters I needed to develop, whole families; I literally raised an entire village from its spartan beginnings to an entity that's flourishing ten chapters later.

And, of course, not everyone made it out alive.

I didn't realize how encompassing it had become until I reached the end. And it wasn't as easy to leave for the next novel as I thought.

That said, I did listen to some music for awhile and then opened chapter one of Henry and wrote it. It's a small chapter (1000 words), and it was outlined and had about 400 of its words already written. It read well; I was pleased; and then I opened chapter two to study, in preparation for my early mornings this coming week.

I couldn't focus on it. I was done. Reluctantly, I shut down the computer and walked away.

And this week? So far, I can't get into Henry. However, as soon as I post this, I'm going to open chapter two and browse a bit, keeping expectations low. All the people in the Bryony novel that I got to know and love and hate for nearly a year are hanging about my psyche. I need some time for it to fade.

That's okay, I think.

No comments: