Winter: The Beginning of the End

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!