Yesterday, instead of self-editing my first draft of Book 2, I spent a couple hours finishing the rough outline and a couple key scenes of Book 4, the end of the planned series. Novel writing often goes that way—you plan for one activity, but in the interest of procrastination, you get inspiration for something else in the series. That’s one of the reasons it takes me so long to finish a book. Because I’m always writing at least two or three at a time.

The bittersweet feeling came as I wrote what is likely to be the ending scene to Book 4. Now that I know how the series ends, there is less discovery to be had. I am a discovery writer, for the most part, in that my love affair with the story lasts as long as there is more to discover. Writing becomes a chore when I already have things figured out and just have to get the story down. At that point, it takes dogged determination to get words on the page every day.

I love dreaming up stories, though. And I love crafting a rich, clever, and meaning-loaded sentence.

Still. There is that bittersweet moment when you realize your manuscript, your series, will someday soon grow up and leave home. But unlike most empty-nesters, writers are quick to break that bittersweet nostalgia by starting on another book or series that has been entering their dreams at night, urging them to finish quickly whatever they’ve been working on. A writer is never without ideas. Most complain of too many ideas and having to choose among them all.

To give you an update on how soon my book-babies will leave my nest…  Book 2 is in first-draft revisions, Book 3 is about 75% written as a first draft and Book 4 is outlined and about 10% written as first draft. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, that means I could potentially finish and publish the full series by the end of this year. Woowho!

Of course, I’ve already started daydreaming about a potential fifth book, but that would start a new series arc. We’ll see where it all ends up!

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