In Which Our Heroine Knots Threads, Sort Of

23 February 2005

It's a very strange thing, trying to bring plot threads to an end in what used to be the middle of a novel (conceptually) and now is the middle of a series. Thermionic Night is not going to be stand-alone no matter what I do; it will require Sampo (or whatever it's going to be called by the time I'm done). But I would prefer that it not just come to the end of pages without coming to the end of some arcs, and I think I can manage to tie some things up without making them seem weird or irrelevant or internally truncated. I hope. And that's what first-readers are for, right? To tell me if I've done that, or if I haven't done enough of it?

I'm pretty sure I have to have a new last chapter set on St. Sylvester's Day, New Year's Eve, with molten tin divination. I'm pretty sure that divination is a good last chapter for a series book rather than a good first chapter for the next book. All Saints' is called Kekri in old Finnish terms, did you know that? This is my time to know all that. Yesterday was one of the days when I could deal with a nearly infinite number of revisions and notecards, where I would finish one and automatically reach for the next. (Unfortunately, my back was not best pleased with this state of affairs. Brain and back are sometimes in league against me and sometimes fighting each other for possession of me. Oh hurrah. And this morning I woke up at 5:40 because my back hurt too much for more sleep. Hurrah again. I have an appointment to get my back fixed tomorrow, and in the meantime, Advil is our friend.)

There are some things I think I'd done adequately over the series and hadn't done adequately in this book. If you have two POV characters, for example, you need to know why their stories are in the same volume in the first place. Why are these two stories intertwined and not two other stories? I think this question is adequately answered of Sampo, or of Thermionic Night and Sampo in combination, but I think it needs to be clear in Thermionic Night by itself as well, since that's what the reader is getting first.

I think I have some historical revisionism going on with my memories of writing previous books. Fortress of Thorns consumed me enough that I wrote The Grey Road immediately following it, even knowing that it was incredibly bad planning to write the second book of a series without selling the first. Reprogramming was mostly all right, and The World Builders is alone in its world except for a short story for adults, but Dwarf's Blood Mead was demanding The Mark of the Sea Serpent pretty darned early. So I think this book consuming my head is not unusual. Wanting to write three other novels and a half dozen short stories with this setting and some of these characters should not have been entirely unexpected. Should not have come as a shock to me. Still, I keep thinking idiotic things like, "When I pass this one on to first-readers, I can just dash off a draft of The Winter Wars." Oh, yeah, great idea, dash dash, tra la la. Sigh. Silly Mrissabrain.

For those of you who don't read lj, I did eventually get interested in the characters in Martha Wells's The Wizard Hunters, although that's clearly not the end of that story (and the next book is out, and the one after is coming soon, so that's mostly all right). I've been reading Anthony Price's For the Good of the State, and it's got Cathy Audley in it at least a little bit so far, and how can one disapprove of Cathy Audley? So that's all right, then.

There's an ad on my hotmail screen for "a nonstop ab workout." I think that's even worse than a nonstop flight, actually.

In any case, the agenda for the day is my book and Amanda's book and Mr. Price's book and trying not to move my back and neck too much and entirely ignoring the question of where Orvokki got Ilmarinen's awl. Oh, I know! I'll write that question on a notecard, put the initials of a different book in the corner of the notecard, and declare it officially deferred. Ahhhh, the beauty of notecards. I really need some kind of notecard container. Any minute now, wedging them between the monitor and the right-hand speaker is going to seem insufficient. But in the meantime, they serve as a reminder that I don't have to do everything in the world right now, and for me that's always a good thing.

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