I remember the moment right before I sent my first draft of Catherine’s War to my editor.
Excited? A bit.
I was getting ready to share characters I knew better than anyone with someone else. Catherine, Henry, Michael, Susan, and all the other characters were about to be dropped into unchartered waters. The scariest part of all? The waters were like concrete. I felt that once I committed the story by giving it to my editor, it would make the characters’ chosen paths permanent.
And once Catherine’s War went to publication, they’d be pushed off the edge of the cliff past the point of no return . . .
The good news is that “the point of no return” was worth pushing past. Catherine’s War and its characters landed nicely with a solid story and no regrets. The characters ended up where I truly felt they belonged, and I was pleased with how things ended.
For about a minute. . .
I quickly realized there was still more to their stories. I wasn’t ready to let go of them, so I began to write their encore: Susan’s War. I found myself preying on the characters’ flaws from Catherine’s War. As a result, I have a sequel not nearly as light as I originally intended.
Now, the draft for Susan’s War is nearly ready to go to my editor. Once again, I’ve placed these beloved characters at the edge. The cliff’s drop this time is much steeper, and clouds obscure any glimpse of where they will land. As a result, I know my steps moving forward from Susan’s War will be hesitant and slow at times. I plan to evaluate and re-evaluate each scene and character to be sure that the ending I write for them is truly where I want them to be. The conclusion of this trilogy, Henry’s War, will bring closure even if I’m not sure at present who will lose and who will win.
One thing I am certain of, however, is that I’ll be an emotional wreck when I place the characters from Henry’s War on that cliff once more. I know that once Henry’s War arrives, gone are the chances to change my mind about the characters’ actions. There won’t be any rebounding from that edge.
It’s an edge I’ll get to eventually, but one that I find I’m not in a big hurry to reach just yet.
So, Susan, thanks in advance for distracting me . . .