Update 11-2-2015

November 2nd, 2015

At last, Chapter 16 is done and posted for your reading pleasure. Now I can finally put it in my rearview mirror. I hope it’s worth the wait. I’m never sure how you will receive an installment, Dear Reader (that moniker borrowed from a Dear Friend). I can’t view my writing objectively yet. I do the best I possibly can and put it out there hoping for the best.

I can’t give you a single, all-encompassing reason it took so long to finish. I’m not fast to begin with – I won’t ever be prolific. I’m content plodding along. (I think two or three new chapters a year is realistic, with maybe a few short stories tossed in along the way.) Then I had a lot of real life distractions, though not unusually so. Finally, and probably most important, there were times when I just didn’t have the urge to write. Given my life circumstances, that’s a problem that likely isn’t going away. All I can do is ask for patience and forbearance.

That said, I promise you the wait for Chapter 17 will be much, much shorter. How much shorter? How about this weekend? I have a draft that needs the attention of an editor/mentor or two, and once I satisfactorily deal with their suggestions, it’ll be ready for posting.

How in heaven’s name can I have such a short turnaround time between Chapters 16 and 17 when I just said I can’t churn out material on demand? The short answer is I wrote almost all of it – certainly the central core, its heart and soul – over a year ago. It came to me pretty much complete in one of those rare moments when all the mental forces involved cross paths for a brief moment in time. When that happens, it seems to just pour out without much conscious input on my part. The only other time that’s happened were Chapter 7 and part of Chapter 14.

I think I was working on Chapter 15 when I had that manic burst. Once written, I didn’t know what to do with it. I liked it a lot, perhaps a little too much. One of my mentors, Invid Fan, suggested writing things out of sequence wasn’t usually a good idea unless there was a specific spot for it. There was a high potential for unintended consequences.

So I had the thing written, I was enamored of it, and I knew it was ultimately vital to the story. The only problem was I didn’t have a natural home for it yet. There was a big risk that I’d end up forcing it to go somewhere it didn’t belong.

I think I solved the problem.

Chapter 17 will be the coda for what might be called “Book 1” or “Volume 1”. It’s time to move on.

We’ve met almost all of the main characters, the plot lines are developed, and the themes are in place. Now it’s time to jump ahead a bit, start following the story lines I’ve developed, flesh out the secondary characters, and start adding some sub-plots. Think of it as a rebooting.

Chapter 17 is – different. If I accomplish what I intend to, it will leave you – surprised. You might feel like you’ve been ambushed by something coming from left field. I promise I will develop the theme Chapter 17 introduces. In fact, it’s likely to become one of the two dominant concepts driving “Book 2”.

So there you have it. That’s where things stand now. I hope to have Chapter 17 up by the weekend, and then I’ll get started on Chapter 1, Book 2.

As always, comments are welcome. If you have any ideas about things you’d like to see in Book 2, drop me a line. I don’t guarantee I’ll use them, but you might be surprised at how much I draw from reader suggestions and comments.

One more thing. Do you, Dear Reader, have any suggestions for a title for Book 2? I’ve always thought of Book 1’s informal title as “Karen and Laci: Her Daughter’s Friend.” Book 2…?