The day that I thought would NEVER come is finally here. One year and eleven months after I started it, the River City Chronicles is finally done. Well, the first arc, at least.
I powered through the final four chapters last Wednesday, typing the last word just shy of 10:30 PM, which for me is like three in the morning. I’m old LOL…
And because I’m such a tease, here are the last three lines for your enjoyment:
There were two mugs sitting there, littered with bits of dried tea.
He picked one up, savoring the lingering smell of vanilla.
Then he smiled and rinsed them out and put them away.
It’s been a long journey. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to write a weekly serial in October of 2015. It seemed so easy at the time – just write a thousand words a week, stick it on the blog, and done. But it turned out to be so much more work than I’d ever anticipated.
First off, I decided to complicate my life by having it translated into my second language, Italian. This added considerable cost, and also meant I had to stick to a schedule for my translator.
Then I had to rope in a couple beta readers – Angel Martinez and my husband Mark Guzman have been amazing at this, and I couldn’t have done it without them.
And it turned out that writing a serial story is a whole lot different than writing a novel will later released for publication in its entirety.
For one thing, there are no take backsies. You’re putting your work out on a weekly basis, and once the chapter has been read, you can’t change it except to correct the most egregious of errors (like that time I forgot one of the characters’ mothers was dead).
That brings me to the second difference. It’s hell to keep up story consistency. On a novel, you are typically working on the story in a fairly compressed amount of time, and you have second and third drafts and often two or three rounds of edits to catch any errors. On this serial tale, I had two very fast drafts of each chapter, and then my beta reads. That’s it. And because the story is written in bits over a very long time, it’s easy to forget the details, even the important ones, and I spent a lot of time documenting things and then actually going back and searching for bits of information to keep the story consistent.
There’s also the Land of Faery issue. Time passes differently in the serial than it does in the real world. I started the storyline a couple months before the actual start date of the writing. It’s one long connected story, not an episodic one, so while I have spent one year and eleven months writing it, only forty nine days pass in River City time. That also means I couldn’t use the story to address more current events, even though was I itching to do so. So no orange faced politicians in this one.
On the plus side, this cast of diverse characters has blossomed over time. I have spent more time with them than with any of my other characters, both in total story length (114K) and in months of writing time, and I have come to love each and every one of them. River City includes my first trans character and my first bi character.
The final chapter should run on the blog around 10/26, if all goes to plan, and then I’ll start organizing the story for book publication in both English and Italian.
What’s next for the denizens of River City? I haven’t decided. Most likely, I will focus on a smaller cast of characters next time, and might do a series of short stories that each deal with a single couple (with walk-ons by the others, of course).
To my legions of River City fans (grin), what do you wanna see?