As you know, for the past few months I've been blogging about the Possible Third Book, Since The End Of The Time Before. I've consulted with you about plot problems, made changes at your suggestion, even had the outline available to read for a while. I've also told you, multiple times, how much fun I had writing the manuscript and how utterly fabulous I found it to be.
Last week I was focused on the dead and the gone. There was its first review to revel in. I answered questions about it and Life As We Knew It for the upcoming Harcourt teachers guides. I discovered that there are libraries that have pre-ordered d&g, which gives me a whole new way to waste time. I ordered specially designed book stickers for LAWKI and d&g (which I'll be offering to any of you who might want one, but that's a subject for another blog entry).
Somewhere in the midst of this, I came to the decision that much as I adore Since The End Of The Time Before, it's completely wrong as the Possible Third Book. What the P3B should be is an interesting story that can be read as a stand alone, but also one that provides closure for readers who want to know what became of the characters of LAWKI and d&g.
In Since The End Of The Time Before, the action takes place five years after the start of LAWKI/d&g, and the characters, for the most part, have no connection with the characters from those books. Jon, from LAWKI, drops by for a quick report on his family, and one important character from d&g turns out to be an important character in Since. But there was no organic connection, and I wasn't pleased about that. I also felt like five years wasn't long enough time for all the changes I'd made in society.
So I started thinking in terms of a completely different P3B, one set sixteen or seventeen years later, with the main character the child of Dad and Lisa from LAWKI. People ask me what happened to them and the baby they were expecting, so a book told from that character's viewpoint would answer those questions. I decided the basic story would be his journey (I've been picturing him as a sixteen year old boy named Luke) from the west (or "across the river," as I called it in Since) to Pennsylvania and the LAWKI family, Luke's half brothers and half sister, who he's never met. Along the way, Luke will meet a minor character from d&g, and if things go the way I'm currently imaginging, that character will provide him with the name of a second, more important, d&g character he'd meet later on.
I'm also thinking in terms of what would happen to the climate and ecology during that seventeen year period. I've been interested in a long time about how characters who had been born into the LAWKI world would feel should things change for the better. The images I have are of Luke seeing sunlight and stars for the first time, how thrilling and terrifying that would be.
I have a first line I love, which will work if I keep the story in the direction it's currently in- "The recruit was proving surprisingly difficult to kill." But I may change the direction altogether, and lose that line and the scene it would introduce. Things are in serious flux around here.
It's perfectly reasonable that you don't want to go through my writing process again, that once was enough. So I've put a poll up, which will tell me whether I should continue to explore this brand new (and as yet untitled) P3B along with you or not. I'm comfortable with anything you decide, just as I'm comfortable (heck, I'm excited) about this completely different direction for the third, and most likely final, book.
Anyway, that's what's going on. Regardless of what I decide to do with Since The End Of The Time Before, I'm very glad I wrote it, and I'm very appreciative of your interest in it. I find writing about this desolate world to be a huge amount of fun, and writing in public adds immeasurably to my pleasure. But since it might not add immeasurably to yours, I'm asking you whether you'd prefer it if I kept this new version's twists and turns to myself. If you want to give me whatfor in the comments section, that's fine too.
No matter what, Happy End Of March!