Work in Progress

Ever wondered how a trilogy gets turned into a quartet?

Having cleared Christmas and New Year out of the way, I took a deep breath and opened up my writing folder. I have a couple of projects in the pipeline but stuck a virtual pin in and came up with the final (hah!) volume of my fae trilogy (double hah!) Living Fae.

You may recall I’ve already published Growing Up Fae, which is in the form of a journal, written by Harlequin, one of my main characters, and I followed that with Tales from Tara which takes Harlequin and his boyfriend Yarrow separately off the Edge (Alderley Edge in Cheshire) and recounts their adventures at the royal fairy palace in Tara. The last volume was intended to update the stories of Harlequin and Yarrow after their return from Tara and also the stories of various members of their extended family. I called it, in my head, and in various posts about it, Life on the Edge.

Most of the original material was written on Live Journal some years ago starting in a ‘drama’ community, in the form of role play – diaries, letters, responses to memes, etc. The rest was written in response to prompts in an online writing group. It was all on my hard drive. So, I thought, how hard could it be to collate and edit the final part of the story?

Well, not a stroll in the park (or on the Edge, which is a great place for dog walks). Turning diaries etc. written in the first person (various characters) and present tense into a smooth narrative requires concentration and a strong reliance on my editor who is a rock of strength and will pick up any errors of person or tense. (Any other errors, for that matter.) However, it was done, and I quite enjoyed myself because I was re-reading some of the stories for the first time in years and they came as a pleasant surprise.

Then I started to worry about whether I actually had enough for a novel. I didn’t want a novella as the finale. So out of curiosity, I checked the word count.

Oh. Double oh. 118,000. Far too many words for this kind of genre novel (fantasy m/m). And hard to split because of the intertwined storylines of the family members. After a sleepless night (literally) I managed to turn part of the story into a novel of about 70k. Fine. Except that now I was left with under fifty thousand words for the last volume and I was back to my worries about a novella as a finale.

After a lot of angst and tweaking, volume 3, Flying Free, is now with my editor and I am not allowed to touch it till she tells me what to amend, delete, add, etc. That’s one load off my mind. I have updated the glossary (on a separate WordPress page) and am working on the timeline which will join it. Those aren’t a problem. For light relief I’m working on the covers for both volumes.

I think I’ve already mentioned elsewhere that Harlequin is my ‘muse’ for all my writing. That, I think, is what comes of creating a character and developing it in first person journal entries over quite a period of time. Anyway, he has been quiet for a while but came out all guns blazing to develop more story to extend the last volume. I am vaguely bemused (I use the word advisedly) as to how my fairly vanilla fairy couple have ended up in a ménage à quatre. I had no idea my younger secondary characters would grow up the way they did. There is romance that girdles the earth (though not in 40 minutes) and there are dark episodes on and off the Edge. There are at least two m/f sub plots, too.

I am sleeping badly, and wake up with my brain spinning with ideas. I am quite excited but also daunted. Life on the Edge is now in progress. I only have about twenty thousand words to write. How hard can it be? And more to the point, how do I rein in my muse so that I don’t end up with too many words again in the end?

I seem to be unintentionally writing a fae quartet – for now.

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