Over the holidays, I finished the first draft of FADED, the third book in The Flicker Effect trilogy. HOORAY! Feedback from my first two readers has been positive, and it’s going to my hard-core editor in February. Here’s the not-yet-finalized blurb:
Biz didn’t think life could get worse after she tried—and failed—to stop a horrific event, but when she accidentally flickers into a car on her eighteenth birthday after doing shots of vodka—she’s forced to face the consequences of her actions in a way she never imagined. When an anonymous email threatens to reveal her secret, Biz must decide if flickering is all it’s cracked up to be, or if she needs to stop flickering. Forever.
I never quite know what to do with myself when I’m in between drafts—so far I’ve been reading a lot, playing soccer and dodgeball, and I purchased all the materials to make a magnetic chalkboard—so I thought I’d share with you a few things I discovered as I fumbled my way through this series.
It’s very very important to keep a character bible.
Mid-way through the first draft of FRACTURE I realized Biz didn’t have a last name. At least I didn’t remember giving her a last name. But since I never kept track of that HUGE detail, I had to skim through ALL OF FLICKER to make sure. Nope, I never called her anything beyond Biz and her BFF Amelia refers to Biz’s dad as Mr. Biz.
I started a loose guide at that point, but with FADED I ran into the same problem. I don’t spend a lot of time naming secondary characters—I often write the first name that pops into my head—so when a new character from chapter three resurfaces ten chapters later, there’s very little to help me recall that person’s name.
It’s difficult to promote books 2 and 3 without giving away THE BIG THING from books 1 and 2.
I was working on the back cover copy (see above) over the weekend and once again was faced with this challenge: how do I refer to the BIG HUGE LIFE-CHANGING EVENT that was the climax of the previous book without giving away the ending to those who haven’t read it? You want to hook readers so they’ll want to read it, but for someone who’s never read any of my books, I don’t want them to skim through the descriptions of each one and be disappointed.
Ending a trilogy is much bigger than ending a stand-alone book.
Concluding a book has always been a challenge for me. I don’t want the ending to be trite or clichéd, or worse, leave readers feeling unsatisfied (well, except for the end of FRACTURE), and I often struggle with finding the perfect way to end a story.
Well, multiply that times a hundred for ending a series. Based on my outline, I was still several chapters from The End when I realized, “Hey, I’m already in the end.” Story lines that started in FLICKER were wrapping up without me realizing it (this is the stuff we writers say that annoys non-writers) so I had to back-track and make sure ALL the loose ends were tucked neatly away. The character arcs from books one and two had to close as well. As my husband teases me: ALL THE THINGS. There was a lot more than I expected, but I’m happy with how it came together.
You’ll both dread and look forward to saying goodbye to your characters.
FADED will be published in June and I’ll have to say goodbye to Biz, Cameron, Amelia, and my new favorite character Quinn. They’ve been with me since 2010 and while it makes me sad to let them go, I’m excited to get to know the characters in my next book. I still need to do character development projects to learn what makes them tick (I know Cally loves to ski, but what’s her favorite subject in school, or her least-favorite food?) and I’m a little nervous I won’t love them the same.
Then again, they say there’s always a special place in your heart for your first love.