The end of my nearly ten-year trek through Frankland—the setting of the Reforging series—is finally in sight. I wrote the first scene in the first book, The Locksmith, in October 2010. The first scenes of the fifth and final book (current working title: The Forge) began to take shape on an ‘artist’s retreat’ with my sister (she painted, I wrote) in October 2016 at Barnwell State Park in South Carolina. (She had quite an experience when Hurricane Matthew roared through later that week.)
By New Year’s Eve 2016, I had nearly a third of the fifth book written, and there the momentum stalled. Over the next two-plus years it slowly accreted the next third in fits and starts. Part of the slow pace was due to other things taking priority—notably finishing off the earlier books in the series!—but it was also due to problems with the plot. I had worked out a detailed outline, but the characters refused to go along. They insisted on taking the story in different directions than I had intended, and it wasn’t until I dropped part of the outline and listened to what they wanted that the rest of it took shape.
And now, after a solid two weeks of writing—thanks to an end-of-the-year break from my day job and repeated requests to my family to not bother me, I’m busy—the rough draft of the fifth book is done. Woohoo!
I haven’t finished reading it to my alpha testers—husband and daughter—but they are happy with it so far, three-quarters of the way through. There is still lots of work needed, of course: fixing plot holes and inconsistencies, smoothing out bumpy transitions, trimming the bloated boring bits, and all the other fixups and polishing needed to turn a draft into a publishable story. I will soon have to deal with editing The Wordsmith (book 4), so I will put The Forge aside and come back to it with fresh eyes after that.
In the meantime, before I get the editor’s comments on The Wordsmith, I’m going to enjoy a few days of a real holiday, eating chocolate and binge-reading British mysteries and Regency romances. Nom nom nom.