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Winter: The Beginning of the End

Posted on: 13th May 2013  /   Categorized: Winter

I’m expecting to receive copyedits on CRESS tomorrow morning, which means that after this week, my work on Book 3 of The Lunar Chronicles will be done!

 

(Well… except the page proofs. And writing the acknowledgments page. And all the promotion stuff. And planning a launch party. And going on tour. And… ahem.)

 

But writing-wise, it’ll be done, which means my brain is moving full-speed ahead into Book 4: WINTER.

 

I wrote the first draft of Winter in 2011, right after Cinder sold, because I was worried that if I waited I would want to go back and change things in the first book. I spent this last January reading through that draft and making notes on things that no longer fit the series or that still need a lot of work. Now the time has come to start implementing those changes.

 

I am both excited and terrified. What if the climax isn’t as epic as I hoped it would be? What if readers aren’t satisfied with the way their favorite subplots get resolved? I’ve always felt, from the moment I first conceived of The Lunar Chronicles, that Book 4 would be the best of the series, but what if I’m wrong and it just leaves everybody disappointed?

 

It’s a scary feeling, to be entering into the last stage of a project you’ve been madly in love with for almost five years.

 

But I’m trying not to think about that. Instead, I’m trying to focus on the characters that I adore and all those scenes that I’ve been aching to write down for ages. I’ll focus on bringing my ultimate vision to life and hope that readers will love it. That’s all we writers can do, right?

 

In order to do the books justice and (hopefully) save some revision time in the long-run, I’ll be starting out the revision process by trying to get a handle on the big picture, and making a plan for how to revise with that picture in mind. Over the next couple weeks, before I even open that Scrivener document, I’ll be making lists.

 

Lists like:

 

Major characters and their arcs. Who are the protagonists at the end of Book 3 and who do they need to become by the end of Book 4? What needs to happen to them, what types of decisions do they need to make, what life-changing situations do they need to face in order to grow?

 

Main plotlines. The war, the plague, Cinder vs. Levana, all those romances… how are they going to be resolved? Will they all be resolved in a tidy bow, or do I leave a few loose threads?

 

Minor subplots and closure. Cyborg rights, Chang Sunto’s recovery, Linh Garan’s inventions—smallish things that have been important to the plot but sometimes only briefly touched on. Which need to be brought back to readers’ memories and how should they be resolved, if at all?

 

I’m not one of those authors who feel that every single question needs to be answered for readers, but I also don’t want readers to come away feeling unsatisfied, or like the series didn’t provide enough closure. So I’ll be working hard to avoid that.

 

And when I feel like I have solid direction for where the story is heading and what I’m working toward, then I’ll get started.

 

Nervousness aside, I’m really, really looking forward to it!

39 Comments

  1. Cassidy Leora commented on:

    I absolutely CANNOT WAIT for the next books in the Lunar Chronicles!!!
    Marissa, I don’t think you could ever write a bad, unsatisfying book even if you tried!
    You’ve got this!
    Your lists are very smart, and I will definitively keep them in mind when I go to write the second or third book in my series!
    Your books, but mostly your writing, inspires me and makes me want to branch out in writing unique phrases,
    use interesting words, and, well, you brought a whole new outlook on what it means to be a writer!
    Thank you for creating such wonderful stories and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books!
    I’ll definitively be looking forward to it, too!!!

  2. Kelley commented on:

    Oh my gosh. Just reading this is getting me slightly weepy for the end of this series. I imagine it’s going to feel similar to watching Serenity and knowing that that was it. I wasn’t going to get any more Firefly, and my beloved characters and ship were truly done telling me their stories. *sniffles* (I love your series so, so much.)

  3. Julie P. commented on:

    You are brilliant and I have faith that you will succeed! You’ve always been an inspiration to me. I have always loved your stories and this series is no exception. I can’t wait to see what you do. :) Write! Write! Write!

  4. Stephanie Allen commented on:

    I’m already starting to get serious feels thinking about the end of the series, and there are still two books left to read. Speaking for myself, I’m sure I’ll love it no matter what :)

  5. Stephanie B commented on:

    I can’t believe you’re working on the last book already! I’m so excited to read the third one! Don’t worry, we trust you. You’re going to do an amazing job with Winter! I’m already sad that the series is coming to an end but I’m so excited to see how everything is resolved and what happens. And, oh, the romances!

  6. Emma commented on:

    YAYAYAYAYAYAYA CRESS \O/ I’m super excited, but baby steps, Emma! Baby steps! I’ll start by looking forward to the cover reveal, shall I? I absolutely adore the covers. So pretty and slightly haunting (but none of that Twilight-looking stuff that is all over the YA paranormal market at the moment).

    Whenever I see a Cinder or Scarlet spine at the bookstore, I pull it out and face it cover-out instead. EVERYONE I HOPE YOU DO THIS TOO

  7. Tina commented on:

    Awwww! I am so excited about both cress and winter. You are a great author!!

  8. am2142 commented on:

    I LOVE your books!!!!! I CANNOT wait for Cress and Winter. You’re such a nice woman and I am looking forward to reading all of your coming books. I really like the margins and fonts of Cinder and Scarlet. Call me a geek, but aren’t we all geeks? :) Keep on writing!!

  9. David commented on:

    First off, don’t be afraid of making this book extra long! After 5 years I want the pages to build up. All your abilities of writing on display. Just if anything…NEVER CHOOSE THE EASY WAY OUT OF IT! If your heart isn’t in it. Don’t write it. But, DO NOT GO EASY! Don’t be afraid to throw us a punch and make us SOB UNCONTROLLABLY! I have read many series that go the easy exit and that usually makes things anti-climactic. They make the ending forgettable by throwing at us something that lacks complexity and utter beauty and pain. This is like reading Harry Potter all over again and reading that “19 Years Later” crap. That felt more tacked on then anything I have ever read. It felt TOO neat. TOO perfect. Too unrealistic in the emotion dept.

    But, just think…of everyone you loved…and you could only have one final thing to say…What would be the most important? The one you felt is the most caring thing to say? Even if that person made you mad and angry…what would you tell them? Could you forgive them like a mother could still forgive her son despite being a mass shooter? Could you be that generous and fair?

    This is ALL about endings and Happily Ever Afters and the horrors and sacrifices to achieve it. What I learned from reading Fairy Tales is that ONLY the ending is truly the happy part and that is only on the heroes end. The beginning to there is like a trip through hell and back. The pain you must suffer through to receive such hope and future. But, as I learned in this world. Just because one major danger is over doesn’t mean another will begin to grow and fester somewhere else from way back when and become another person’s problem in the future. There will never be a way to defeat evil forever…but there will never be a way to defeat selflessness and pure kindness as well…and…

    In this case. True Love…or Unconditional Love…or…Love, without conditions.

  10. Alexa Y. commented on:

    YAY MARISSA! I’m super, super, super excited for Cress, but it’s even more exciting to know that you’re finally going to start working on Winter. I’m fairly confident that you will be able to write an amazing conclusion to this series — and I honestly can’t wait to read it!

    For now, I shall bide my time and be excited for Cress. But know that I am cheering you on!!!

  11. Loie commented on:

    Hey Marissa!!

    Can’t believe that you are going to be working on Winter soon ahhh!! How exciting to be nearing the end of your first series :) That’s quite an achievement, congrats!! Can’t wait to see the cover for Cress.

    Loie x

  12. Robin commented on:

    I just finished reading your first two books in the lunar series. I was very surprised to find they were young adult. I enjoyed them very much. You have a very clear and distinct voice in your narrative. Your action sequences are so well written I can see it, which is rarer than you might think. I truly look forward to the next two installments.

  13. Alyssa commented on:

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing process this final round! I so enjoy the world you’ve created and can’t wait to see how the series continues, how all the characters lives intertwine, how everything gets resolved. I’m pretty sure you won’t disappoint (no pressure–just saying I have faith in your story-telling abilities) :). Good luck!

  14. Frances commented on:

    I’m so pumped for cress and winter and I believe you shouldn’t be so stressed out about your books because you’re the best author. Nobody would be devastated because they waiting the moment they their copies of cress and winter. We all love you just the way you are. Not to interrupt, but can you release cress and winter more earlier? Sincerely , Frances

  15. Shirley commented on:

    I can’t believe it is all coming to an end with Winter!! Would you be available for an author interview on my blog when Winter releases?

  16. Grace Diseker commented on:

    What!! I thought you were going to wright a 5th ! Aww. Oh well all good things must come to an end
    I wish the other kids at my school would read these books, then I would finally have someone to talk to about them! Such is life.

  17. Grace Diseker commented on:

    I agree with Frances (who ever you are)! I don’t think I can survive until next year through another school year

  18. Tiffany Zheng commented on:

    You shouldn’t be nervous at all! You are a great author and I bet your last book “Winter” would be a book everyone would love. I love your book Cinder soo much I have read it 6 times already! I am now reading Scarlet(on chapter 17)!!! And I can’t wait for “Cress” and “Winter” to come out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D btw: I love the cover for Cress.

  19. Tiffany Zheng commented on:

    THE LUNAR CHRONICLES RULESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

  20. Lauren commented on:

    You go girl u can do this plus I wanna know what winter is about

  21. Wendy:) commented on:

    Your writing is always good so don’t worry about not writing a good resoulution for “Winter”. I love this serie and the the world you created. I really CAN’T wait for “Cress” and “Winter” to come out. i already read the other 2 bks. THEY were so great that I felt sorry when it end. You GO!!!!! When does Cress come out again?????:)

  22. Marta commented on:

    I absolutely loved “Cinder”, “Scarlet”, and “Cress”! Honestly though, I have no idea how you come up with the awesome plot lines. I can’t wait for “Winter”. I want to be a writer someday, and I hope I can write books as good as yours.

  23. Edward DeBrae commented on:

    I can’t wait to read Winter. I wonder what the cover will look like. The last three book covers have been fantastic and beautiful. Winter is going to be gorgeous too. We’ll just see, won’t we?

  24. Nora commented on:

    Your Message

  25. Chandal commented on:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!
    I am IN LOVE with this series!!! I just finished Cress and can’t wait for Winter…except then the series will be over :( I also pray for happy endings! Again, thank you…I LOVE THESE BOOKS!

  26. Beth commented on:

    I love your sereis I read all the books in 2and a half days please hurry on the next book I’m so excited thank you so much for sharing your gift to the work

  27. Bryza commented on:

    Oh my gosh I’m so happy you’re making another one! I just finished the 3rd one and I nearly cried. I thought maybe that was just how it was going to end. But I’m so glad I looked to see if you’re coming out with a 4th & I’m CRAZY excited! Can’t wait to read it!! Love you & your books so much I’m even using Cinder for a literature presentation! :)

  28. Bella Roberts commented on:

    I’m so excited for winter too! It’s a little sad that it’s gonna be over but I’m sure the book will be epic! I was the first at my school to read the lunar chronicles and I love it! Thank you for being an amazing author!!!

  29. Bethanny Hayes commented on:

    I don’t think you could ever write a bad book, you’re too good! I absolutely CANNOT WAIT for Winter to come out. I’m pretty much bouncing off the walls. You can tell how excited I am. [giggles]

    Anyway, I finished Cinder last year and just five weeks ago I was told you had written the 2nd and the 3rd already! I raced to my school library, okay maybe not raced…more like walking as fast as I could, and checked out Scarlet before anyone could steal it from me. I read it in, like, four days, not even joking. The next day I put Scarlet on the return cart of our library and checked out Cress. Praise the lord someone had donated it two days before!

    I’m (kind of) patiently waiting for Winter to come out. Can’t wait!

    I was also wondering if you could write an After The Lunar Chronicles book, where you say what’s happening to all the characters now, you know? I’d definitely read it!

    P.S. You could never write a bad book, trust me.

  30. Victoria commented on:

    OMG!! I wouldn’t even worry about that you are freaking amazing, I don’t thing anything you do would be a disappointment, usually in every book series I can predict what happens but with you I can’t and that’s a GOOD thing. I am wanting to become an author in the future and I may be a little too young now but I’m already working on it! It’s already bing read by people because I’m posting several parts on an app called Seeds Pro. I know I know it’s weird but at least I know people like it! You probably don’t wanna hear about my boring life but, your series the Lunar Chronicles was the first series that cought my attention. The weird thing is I was planning on writing a rewrite of cinderella that was like all messed up and stuff. I was in my school library and saw a book called, “Cinder” and I read the first page and got it. Reading your book made mine look like trash! I’m working on something that I don’t thing anyone has come up with yet and if my dreams of a book by me become published it will be because of you for getting me into reading and learning more about literature. Thank you and have fun writing Winter can wait untill it comes out!!

  31. julia commented on:

    Hello,

    I just wanted to inform you that your series is AMAZING and I was addicted from the beginning! I also wanted to say that the illustrations on the front of each is wonderful and really drew me into the whole series it was the picture of Cinder’s foot in the front cover that made me even be intrigued enough to read the first page. So good on you for picking a very interesting image to portray as your image for the first book. Your ideas and changes compared with the original fairy tales are amazing and I’m really excited to be reading the series and can’t wait till the last one!
    I live in Canadian and love your series and my sisters are currently reading them as I’m addicted. I really feel for the characters you portray and that isn’t easy I’m sure. The conversations between them wonderful and funny! I just wanted to say in Cress when Cinder finally tells Kai that she is the princess, THANK YOU ! Finally, I’ve been waiting for her to say it, it was perfectly done!
    Thanks again and I can’t wait till the last one!!!

  32. Tina commented on:

    CANNOT wait for book 4…best series i have read BY FAR and please please please make movie of this!!!

  33. Tomo commented on:

    I CAN’T WAIT OMG OMG OMG~
    but i’m also kinda sad that this will be the last book… so the end….. ahhh conflict. will there be any more books based on fairy tales outside of the Lunar Chronicles? YOU ARE THE BEST AUTHOR EVER, so u could do it…. but then again, depends on how willing you are…. well, whatever you decide, you will still be one of the most inspiring authors i have ever seen with the BEST FREAKING WEBPAGE EVER :3

  34. Your Name commented on:

    Marissa, your books inspired me. Like a lot. I love everything about them and I’ve read the whole series like, five times. I’m really looking forward to Winter, I loved Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. They where all amazing, I don’t know how you couldn’t come up with the perfect end for this amazing series. You are an AMAZING writer and no matter what I’ll always love your work. <3 Anna

  35. Mary commented on:

    I just whipped through Cress, and went back to Amazon to get Winter, and was heartbroken to find it not available for preorder even! I am biting my nails over here, and cannot wait to read the conclusion of the series. Thank you so much for conceiving the idea of these amazing women, and bringing their stories to written word. I have thoroughly enjoyed stealing the first book from my daughter, and devouring books two and three through my own purchasing. I hope Levana’s story doesn’t instill TOO much sympathy in me, as I plan to also buy it when it is available for downloading onto my kindle app. I kind of enjoy having a good villain, though I suspect I will view her in a new light too soon (as foreshadowed by her clear devotion to her first husband. Humanity, er Lunacy, dagnabbit.) I guess I will just have to bide my time, rereading the Chronicles, until everything is finalized and released. Again, thank you for adding to the list of “amazing dystopian future novels” at all of our disposal.

  36. Hannah commented on:

    I am SUPER excited about “Winter”! I know that you will do a great kid wrapping everything up. When will you have the first 5 chapters of “Winter” out in the public? I screamed when I saw that you had 5 chapters of “Cress” out. I hope that you put them out soon!
    Your everlasting fan,
    Hannah

  37. Brianna W commented on:

    Dear Melissa
    I am so excited to see how this ends! In my personal opinion, as long as you tie up the major loose ends, and don’t kill off too many main characters, i doubt i could really end up hating anything you do in this last book. If you want an idea for a dynamic ending, do a huge fight scene. It seems to work for every other work of literature I’ve read, and this is one where it would fit perfectly, even if the fight ended up looking like a battle in a full-on war. I don’t care if it doesn’t have one, it’s just one of my ideas. I really just wanted to say that i love your work, and that, as long as you don’t kill everyone off in a bogus meteorite crash or something along those lines, like some authors i know, you’ll do fine. Don’t stress too much, remember to sleep, and just find a way to bring an end to this that will make you happy as an author.

    Devotedly reading,
    Brianna

  38. savannah commented on:

    If this fourth book dont come out soon I’m gonna SCREAM! AHH it so good I normally don’t read book in that time period but this series got me addicted. I cant wait

  39. Cynthia commented on:

    OMG! you must have Kai and Cinder get together. I love Kinder/Cai they must!

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