I can’t quite believe it. I posted this picture last night, and that is actually the beginning of the very last chapter of Saints, which also happens to end in one of the worst cliffhangers I’ve ever seen. I’ve been evil cackling since I thought of it. I love it so much, and it’s pretty terrible. If you’ve read Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton, it’s a little like that, only worse.
What a whirlwind this has been. Not only last night, either, but the whole thing! I’m wrapping up the first draft at about 135k words in just under two months. I first posted about Saints on 10/10, so I’m shy of that two month mark by about three days. There are 38 chapters in total separated into three parts, and too many POVs to count. Things got a little wild in the last part, and I threw in a brand new POV that we’ll be seeing more of in book two. Because there will definitely be a book two. Even if that ending hadn’t contained the worst cliffhanger ever, there would still be a book two. Maybe a book three? Who the heck knows. I know maybe about 15% of what’s happening in book two, and I don’t plan on working on it anytime soon. I tend to do this a lot, write a novel and then run away from it for a half year or longer, but this time, at least, I’m running toward something. I’m going back to the Pen boys. I’m going to spend the rest of this week quickly editing parts two and three of Saints, hand off both parts to Jen to read, and then realign my focus. I miss my boys a lot, and I know part of that is because people are actively reading and commenting on it, but man. The Saints are all so grown up and in control of their emotions and not very dramatic. My Pen boys are just absurdly not in control of everything, and I want that chaos again.
But first, last night. It was a lot of fun. Originally, I had on Dua Lipa’s album because, for no discernible reason, she became the music to listen to while writing this novel. However, Landon’s last chapter is pretty freaking intense, so I ended up listening to Brothers in Arms from the Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack, and yup. A+ music. I just put it on repeat for an hour, and went to town on those last 2000 words. And speaking of music, I thought it might be fun to finally share what I’ve been listening to while writing this:
Some of these make sense, I think. Some of them are just strange. But there are some songs for very specific things. I listened to Berlin and Shortline by RY X during a lot of the soft scenes between Landon and Ezra. Anything that was happening in the early morning or late at night, anything that was less words, more longing stares. Havana by Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug is another song that I don’t understand how it got on here, but it just became Vivian’s theme song. How Long by Charlie Puth is also a definite Miles song. I listen to it whenever I’m cooking, and imagine him dancing around their little kitchen. Landon usually requires a lot of creepy songs cos he’s a creepy little murderer, so I listened to If I Had a Heart by Fever Ray for him a lot. The stripped version of You and I by PVRIS, An Unkindness of Ravens by Sanders Bohlke, and Silence by Marshmello featuring Khalid were all Henry/Cole songs. I Know by Aly & AJ (holy crap, I’m excited they’re making music again) is a Madison/Riley song. Brothers in Arms from the Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack and Run Boy Run by Woodkid were used in all the fight scenes, as well as anything intense while they were running through the desert. And finally, the theme song for the novel is No Running From Me by Toulouse.
I’m not a saint,
Nor am I one for smooth edges.
When I’m around,
Calamity comes out to play.
How did you hear the news
That I get to choose
How it plays out?
No matter how you scream and shout.
There ain’t no running from me.
I mean, come on.
I’m also rewarding myself for finishing the first draft of this novel by rewatching Mad Max: Fury Road cos wow, did not see that one coming. It was probably the sneakiest of all the inspirations. I posted early on about how this novel was a mix of Peaky Blinders meets Six of Crows meets The Thief Lord meets The Angelus Trilogy. What I didn’t really think about was that very long bit in the middle where they’re running through the desert, and HA. Yes. I found myself just watching scenes at random from Mad Max, or listening to the soundtrack while writing, and it wasn’t until they were starting to leave the desert that I realized the whole entire aesthetic for Mad Max is basically Saints in a nutshell. So, I’m watching that tomorrow because tonight I’m going to yoga. I haven’t been to class in a while, and I blame that entirely on this novel because every night I wanted to go, I was writing a chapter instead. But now it’s done, and I don’t have any money to reward myself with books, so instead I’m practicing yoga and watching a movie, haha.
There are some books that I really do want to buy right now, though, and I’m going to tell you what they are because I have a small feeling that I know what novel is coming after the second draft of Pen boys. If I don’t end up writing Mason next, I think it will be Shri, the desert witch. Linking her Pinterest board there because I haven’t posted about her at all on this blog, but I’ve had a few dreams about her in the last few weeks, and I think it may be happening soon. The books I want to buy are all about Arab culture because I really want to try to do this story right. It takes place in a few Middle Eastern countries, but mostly Saudi Arabia and India. Yes, there’s magic, and yes, Shri is actually a witch. No, there will not be many boys in it, and no, there will not be romance, but it’s a wild, weird story that I can’t wait to dig into. I need to do a lot of work on the plot, but the characters and most of the world is there, so I feel confident that it’s coming soon. That could change with the wind, of course, so we’ll see if it actually happens.
For now, I’m really pleased with where Saints is. It feels like a really solid first draft. Now it’s time to make Pen boys into a solid second draft, and then, we’ll see what the horizon brings.