Music: The Thrilling Finale

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I’ve already admitted that I listen to a playlist of music to inspire my writing; I have songs to represent certain chapters and scenes. What I haven’t admitted is that I listen to the “finale” songs about twice as much as the others. And I probably think about the books’ endings twice as much too.

Is this unproductive behavior? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I believe that focusing on the goal helps spur the earlier writing along. As long as the goal is FANTASTIC and EXCITING, that is. If the ending isn’t worthy of the trip then why bother? Yeah, you heard me! “The journey is the reward?” C’mon, why stop there? Not only should the journey be a reward but the end as well!

Now let’s get to the four songs, and I promise: only ONE is from a Final Fantasy game.

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Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 27 (First Draft)

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My friend Matt is watching Catching Fire instead of reading these awesome final chapters! Can you believe that? Hey! Matt! Did you enjoy the film? Did you like seeing the same frickin’ plot twice in a row? Hunger Games: this time with tridents! And clocks! The clock was a pretty cool idea, though. Continue reading

Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 26 (Second Draft)

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I thought I’d try something new and put the second draft up before the first one. This is the finale, after all! Why should you have to read the crappy version first? And believe me; the first draft of this chapter is bad. I’ll still put it up, but I didn’t want to diminish your enjoyment as you move from the previous section’s cliff-hanger to this THRILLING CONCLUSION!

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Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 25 (Second Draft)

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In the previous chapters I said that I wanted to change some of Pinada’s dialogue around. I cut out anything that was a petty insult, opting for lines that were more witty or sarcastic. That doesn’t mean that Pinada isn’t capable of stooping that low; it’s just that the time for such stooping hadn’t come yet.

But now it’s time. His case has been shattered. His face has been punched. Things have happened that he didn’t foresee. He’s still dominating this struggle, of course, but that momentary loss of control isn’t something he’s used to.

And it’s always so satisfying to see the smug, arrogant villain removed from his comfort zone–even for a moment. Continue reading

Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 24 (Second Draft)

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Look, I’ve been loving this Lady Knight book over at Mark Reads. But I had a bit of a disappointing experience last week: I got to the last chapter and there WASN’T a climactic battle with the main villain. Can you believe that? Sure, there was a thrilling castle infiltration scene and an excellent fight with the warrior bodyguard–but when it came time to finish the head honcho himself? Done in two pages with little effort!

I’m not upset though; this is one of the reasons I wanted to write stories of my own. I realize that authors won’t always do what I want them to do. They’ll spend hundreds of pages hyping up a character. Then when he finally appears they’ll have him say a handful of lines before getting cut down in one stroke. I’ve come to accept it. They do things their way; I do things my way.

And what is my way? An epic struggle against the antagonist for seven straight chapters! YEAH–HA HA!

And if you don’t like it you can write your OWN story where the bad guy makes himself invisible and stands on a table. 😉 Continue reading

Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 25 (First Draft)

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 Matt, I almost don’t want you to read the first drafts for these final chapters. It isn’t because they’re more horrible than the others. It’s just that I hate to see the ending incomplete like this! It’s flawed. I don’t want you to get to these cool parts and think “Wow, this would be amazing if the writing didn’t suck.”

It would be like watching the end of Terminator 2, only to see Arnold get dropped into a bowl of pudding. Then Sarah Conner fist-bumps John while the T-1000 explodes from the power of robot tears.

Oh, sorry, that ending would still rock. I know I was going for a “worse ending” there to use as an example, but I just can’t seem to describe one that would be disappointing. I’ll try harder next time Matt–go ahead and read the chapter. Continue reading

Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 22 (Second Draft)

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Well, this chapter took a while. Was it tough? A little. This side-story with Mackaba needs to be handled carefully; if it doesn’t seem important enough the reader could lose interest in the finale.

But I gotta be honest: my immense resolve to write was tested. See, I got invited to the Hearthstone beta, and I might have spent a few nights playing cards when I should have been describing wind-swept landscapes and coming up with sarcastic things for government officials to say.

And then my friend Matt got into the game too! What am I to do!? Leave him to discover the deep mechanics of the cards by himself!? The Knife Juggler gnome card has complex strategies that must be explored!

I helped him out, and I’m lucky that he goes to sleep a few hours before I do–leaving me time to write without any excuses. Yep. Sometimes your willpower is only as strong as your friends’. Or at least it’s as strong as the wife that makes him turn off the game and go to bed. Continue reading

Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 23 (First Draft)

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I don’t normally talk about “feelings” and metaphors in my story, but the events of this chapter–and some events in real life–give me an opportunity to do so. Without spoiling anything in the chapter I will say it is about anger, and the prison it can create for a person. Lashing out in rage can seem like an outlet; but when it occurs it is anything but a release.

A few days ago a commenter in the Mark Reads blog ranted about some characters in Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce. It started out well enough, but he let his anger get the better of him: turning a constructive discussion into a full-on hate-driven rampage. It ended up hurting many taking part, even insulting the integrity of the author herself.

And this is where the “prison” part of anger comes in: he is now banned from the site forever. The excitement you feel from anger is short-lived; the consequences can be quite permanent.

Anyway, this chapter has something similar happen. In metaphor, of course. I mean, it’s not like I’d put in a LITERAL prison that’s set off by anger! Ha! That would be silly. Continue reading

Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 21 (Second Draft)

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This chapter is filled with hateful dialog, uttered by the antagonist, Pinada. I believe writing such things is helpful to me, though. Yeah, you heard right. See, I get angry at people sometimes. People that have done horrible things. Or maybe they haven’t done anything much at all.

But every time I want to lash out at those people I reign it back. I think: “save it for the books.”

It’s another way for my writing to serve me: I’m able to channel my anger in a positive way, and I’m also able to make a believable villain. I can also observe how evil people are treated through the actions of my characters. It can serve as a reminder to what happens to people that decide to act out on their rage. If I’m in the real world and I ever feel that I’m starting to act like one of these villains, well, I know I need to shut up and walk away or else I’ll get a table dropped on my head. Continue reading

Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 22 (First Draft)

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Whenever I hear writers talk about making their stories there’s something that almost all of them mention: They know how it ends and they think about that part all the time. And that’s how I am, too; I’ve thought about these final chapters WAY more than the others.

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If I know my ending is amazing then I’ll do whatever it takes to make the journey to reach it worthwhile. It helped me through all those terrible first draft chapters with Templetine. Every time the situation seemed hopeless I knew I could look toward the ending to keep me on track.

I’ve heard some say that they like writing the ending first. I’m not sure I could ever do that. Sure, it is more fun now that I’m hitting the payoffs to all the character’s story lines. But experiencing the lead-up also puts the ending in perspective.

For as much as I THINK I’ve got the ending figured out, there are always those bits that wait until the entire story is written to emerge. Continue reading