On Saying Goodbye to Old Characters & A Look at What’s Next

Has it really been since the first of the year that I posted? Suffice to say, it’s been a weird two weeks for me. I’ve been remembering the summer of 2017, when I was finishing the first draft of the Pen boys, and what that period after felt like. I was in a really disjointed kind of mindset. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be writing, but I knew that I definitely didn’t want to start editing the Pen boys yet. I kept starting and stopping novels. Sometimes, I didn’t even get as far as starting them. I’d just Pin a bunch of stuff, work on the outline maybe, and think about them for a couple days. I can so clearly remember the posts that I was putting up then. One week, it’d be yay I’m writing this novel now and the next week it’d be okay I guess not whatever. I was so frustrated.

A couple days after I woke up with Landon in my head, my then roommate, Jen, said to me, “I’m so glad you found him because you have been floating in nothingness for a while, and I could tell it was bothering you.” I didn’t have anywhere to set my roots down, anywhere to hang out. That first book, King of Saints, was a wild ride. I worked on it for two months straight, and I was just consumed by it. I can’t remember how soon after I finished it that I started the second one, but I think it was pretty immediate.

2018 was a fun, but also kind of disjointed year. I wrote the entirety of Saints at sea, I edited it through once, and then I got almost done with the third draft. I wrote half of thieves and sister witches each, one chapter of the new Mason, and I read a lot. You can always kind of tell when I’m not sure what to write because my reading spikes really high.

Guess how many books I’ve read this month so far? Nine. And if that’s not telling, well.

Earlier this month, I got tickets to Maggie Stiefvater’s writing seminar in NY. I’m going with my writing friend, Erin, and it’s on 2/1. I’m honestly out of this world excited about it, and I know it’s going to be an experience unlike any I’ve had before. I’d like to focus on the Saintsverse while I’m in her seminar, so I thought it’d be a good idea to finish either thieves or sister witches before then so that I could start diving back into the Saintsverse without too many distractions.

Yeah, I haven’t written at all this year yet. I edited the last few chapters of thieves that I wrote, and I opened a new chapter document for it a couple times, but nothing happened. Instead, I read. This isn’t a bad thing, but I can see what’s happening while I’m reading. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know where to land.

Mermaid asthetic

It’s kind of funny that I don’t know where to “land” when my heart is trapped in the sea.

Yesterday, I wrote the first chapter of Saints at sea 2. I also outlined the entire novel, decided on POVs, drew up histories for some new(ish) characters, and realized something kind of sad. I was in the middle of outlining the fourth act when it occurred to me that this was the end. I mean, I know this. I was plotting out the fourth act to be the end, seeing everyone off to their different destinations. And I know what you’re thinking–don’t I have eight million other spin-off novels in the works?

This is the end for the Ash family. Landon’s in this book a little more than he was in the first one, which still isn’t a lot, and obviously Sam is still a main character, though Henry is taking more of a backseat this time around. He was already kind of there, but he doesn’t have a POV this time. I’m going to miss that, I know, but Henry is in a good place. All of his issues are figured out. He’s in a steady relationship with Cole. And he knows what he wants out of life. Thus, my decision was to continue to give Pippa a POV instead of Henry or Cole, which means our Wolf POVs are Julian, Sam, and Pippa. Yes, that means Brennen has also been removed, but don’t worry, I’ve got something sneaky up my sleeve concerning her.

At the end of this book, all of my Ash’s are pretty much figured out. Sam is staying on the Wolf, Henry and Cole know where they want to live, and Landon is kind of at peace. He knows about Avery now, he’s got Ezra and his Saints, Obera is flourishing, and the only real thing on his horizon is minor skirmishes with those still supporting the cathedral. Alex believes there’s a short story collection centered around Landon in my future, and I mean, she’s probably not wrong.

But after Saints at sea 2 is done, I move onto the bastards series (I don’t know how long it’s going to be anymore, so I’ve stopped saying trilogy), and there is literally no reason for Landon to be in it. Henry will be settled, so he’s not in it, either, and though it’s possible for Sam to make an appearance what with the Wolf having dealings on Ackum, the only Ash left is Avery, and she’s not from the original crew. She’s not even really what the bastards book is about, so we won’t see her a ton.

I’m officially stepping somewhere new in this world after I finish Saints at sea 2.

I’m definitely sad, but I’m also a little nervous, and of course excited. I’m sad that this is really, truly the end for Landon. I’m sad that this is the end for most of my Ash kids. I’m sad that I probably won’t set foot on Obera again, that the Wolf will sail off without me, and it almost feels like a new beginning, a new story entirely, and it kind of is.

Now, I haven’t even come close to finishing Saints at sea 2. I literally only wrote the first chapter, but working on the outline forced me to sit with this feeling of goodbye and to prepare myself for what it would be like to write Landon in an actual scene for the last time ever. I don’t think I’ll ever truly be able to explain my love for him. It goes beyond any other character (with perhaps the only exception of Alex the Destroyer).

But, despite the goodbyes coming, as I was writing the first chapter, I felt this sense of relief. Of coming home. Of yes, this is where I belong.

I’m still in the same place, really. Thieves and sister witches are still only halfway done, and realistically, thieves would probably take me a grand total of two weeks to finish. But I belong in this universe more than anywhere else, and I finally stopped feeling lost when I started writing those familiar names in those familiar places again.

So, I guess long story short is hey. I’m back. Saints at sea 2 is going to be wild, and I can’t wait to see what it has to reveal still.

The words whispered about Crow. The hacker that seems to see what other cannot. The one who posts what others cannot. The ghost that people can hear. Me.

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