Maybe I’m just crazy.
Some would call it a labor of love, or just another example of a writer’s self-indulgence. Or perhaps it’s over-confidence. In my case, all of those statements are wrong. Wrong, I say! Truth is, the sequel has already been written, and the final novel—the completion of the trilogy—is already in my mind. I know how the saga will end, I know where I want it to go. Sure, in the process of writing and revising multiple drafts, details will change. But the overall story is still there, demanding emancipation from my brain. Who am I to deny it?
The first novel, “Inheritance’, is the initial installment in my Scion: Cradles of Life trilogy. A science fiction space opera, it uses ideas that have floated around in my head for decades. There’s literally a lifetime of mental gestation involved. ‘Inheritance’ is complete, has been through six drafts, workshopped, and has been read/critiqued by several fellow writers. Its sequel, ‘Progeny’ is complete as well, but only in first draft form. The final volume, ‘Origin’, has yet to be written.
Conventional writing wisdom would say to shop the first novel around to agents and publishers, and if it gets accepted, then work on the sequels. That’s sound, pragmatic advice. But I’m ignoring it.
Sure, there are other novels I’d love to write. A Wages of Cinn novel, a Slumber novel…and most certainly another Meridian novel. But the Scion story needs to be told first. It’s what occupies my mind, and my current thoughts return to those characters more than any others. As every writer knows, when inspiration comes, it shouldn’t be snubbed.
I’ve heard that some agents/publishers eagerly accept a trilogy or series that is complete, and hey, if that’s true, then I’m all set. Wrong. I will never assume that my trilogy might garner that sort of interest. I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment.
So what I am really doing? Spurning common sense, I’m forging ahead with a project that might never get published. It’s one thing to slave over a novel that never gets sold, but three? That takes extreme dedication. Or madness, as I alluded to earlier.
My reason is simple: it’s what I want to do.
Come on, don’t roll your eyes or snort. I’m not trying to climb the pedestal of artistic integrity or make a self-serving statement.
Writers fret too much over what will sell, what will this agent think of my manuscript, how long has it been since that publisher received my submission—we’re swamped with anxieties. But we shouldn’t be when it comes to the actual writing. Often we need reminding why we chose to be a writer in the first place. Maybe it was fame and fortune, but most people probably did it for the same reason I did.
We all want to tell a story. Something that matters to us. A story that, even after we’ve completed the fifteenth read-through, the scenes and characters still resonate. Our hearts still swell with emotion in the right places, and after the story’s conclusion, we still experience that feeling of accomplishment and closure.
So I’m going to finish my trilogy. If it sells one day, great. If it doesn’t, I’ll still have told a story that I’m proud of, and my children might read someday. Being a writer isn’t about making cash or pleasing others. It’s about being true to yourself.