On Finishing a Duology

Last night was a momentous one in the saga of the Starglass saga. After six months spent tireless spitting out words–including more than fifty thousand words I threw away–I finally finished* book 2.

It’s an interesting sensation, finishing a book. Toward the end, a sort of logomania tends to overtake me as I write and write and write past the climax and into the denouement, propelled by plot fumes and coffee. Normally, I write one thousand to two thousand words a day. But when I’m barreling toward an ending, it’s often five or six thousand. My inbox suffers; I shower less. I’m prone to watching whole seasons of television shows as I write just to keep my butt on the couch and my hands on the keys. Which is all to say, I’m feeling a little loopy now–a little underslept.

But I’m proud of this draft, particularly the end. When I started Starglass more than two years ago, I originally conceived it as the first half of a story. It would be a big, epic tale in two settings, all with scrappy Terra Fineberg there to tie them together. All along, I wrote this story with a single image in mind–the final one. I always knew how this story would end, even if there was a very long time between the original conception of it and the ultimate execution.

That’s the funny thing about writing a duology. This story has been there in my head for awhile, but I didn’t know if I would ever get to tell the whole thing. There’s a certain danger in conceptualizing a story in multiple parts as a debut author. Contrary to popular belief, not all writers create series because they want you to buy more books. In fact, had I been more practical and shrewd about the whole thing, Starglass would have been a standalone, easier to query, and, as a debut author, easier to sell. But I knew from the outset that this was the right way to tell Terra’s tale. Just as Star Wars feels a little weird as two, and not three, trilogies**Starglass would have been poorly balanced as just one book. It was too big, too dense, too intrinsically cleaved in the center. And so I took a risk (and, in turn, my agent and my editor took a risk on me!). Though what I have now is more druzy than polished stone–a big, messy draft that still needs quite a bit of work–I can tentatively say that it feels like I’ve told the story I needed to tell, in the way that it needed to be told, too.

And that’s a little sad, isn’t it? Because it means the beginning of saying goodbye to this world and these characters who I’ve grown to love so much.

But that’s okay. Come July, the story will begin again for someone else–it will begin for you. And that’s the other funny thing about writing a duology.  Terra’s story might be done for me, but for readers? It’s just beginning.



*and by “finished” I mean, wrote down words. Much work remains, of course, in revising.

**After I’ve slept, I plan to write you guys a post about this sequel trilogy thing and ALL OF THE FEELS it has given me. Not yet, though. But SOON.