Are there any words more satisfying or saddening for a writer to type? My fellow writers often talk about how exciting or difficult it is to start a manuscript, or to sustain it in the middle. I'm more conflicted about the ending of my stories. It's not just about crafting a satisfying conclusion for readers and me. It's often about saying goodbye to characters, who feel like old friends.
The weekend, I made the penultimate changes to Sultana's Legacy. I wrote the words 'The End' for the novel back in 2008. The conclusion of the story hasn't changed since then, but everything up until has undergone a major revision over the past three years. I turned what was a first-person narrative into third person, cut two additional POV's and sorted out the muddle history had created of six characters named Muhammad, three Faraj's and two Ismail's. When I say writing this manuscript and its prequel Sultana has been a labor a love, there was a bit of lunacy involved too. After all, who spends more than a decade sorting through jumbled details about a largely unknown period of history, without being committed, or feeling like you really should be committed to a mental institution?
I've never given birth, but it feels like I have. It's time for a much needed break. Next week, I'm off to Barbados for some family-business, but it's also a chance to relax and not think about writing novels, at least until the edits and suggestions come back from my writing friends. I've turned the manuscript over to would-be beta readers, with the warning that this one isn't nice at all. With at least three violent deaths of major characters, and some others, the body count is higher than the prequel. When Sultana's Legacy comes out in November, it will be the third book I've released this year. I am beyond exhausted. I plan to spend the next few months until late fall catching up on my reading and reviews for HNR, and probably spending more time on Twitter than I should.
I’ve also sent off the cover image I’d like to use for the book to Lance Ganey, who I recommend to anyone looking for a cover artist. I had settled on something before, but it never really hooked as me as this new one does. As with Sultana, this one is public domain art from the Orientalist period, this time combined with a stunning, royalty-free background from Fotolia. GIMP can be one of the best tools for a self-published author. When the final artwork is ready, I’ll post it here first.
Having arrived at 'The End' for this story is a bittersweet moment, a little sad but also filled with contentment. Dependent on how well the story and prequel sell over the coming year, I might consider two more books on the descendants of the characters. For now, this is truly the end of that long journey of research and writing on the period.
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With my next MEET THE AUTHOR post, I’m pleased to introduce John D. Cressler, as this week's guest author and share his newest novel...
With MEET THE AUTHOR, I’m pleased to introduce guest authors and share their newest novels with visitors. This week, meet Kristen Taber...