12 Jul

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12.07.17  – 09.30

It’s mid-week, a Wednesday, and I’m just about to start sorting things out. Sue’s here in the kitchen with me, our large kitchen table cluttered with all manner of paperwork. Ahead lies four years hard work, researching, plotting and writing the last four books in the sequence. Which works out to roughly half a million words – maybe 600,000 words in total. I’ve been holding fire until the new venture was launched, but now I can finally give it most of my attention.

As far as reporting back is concerned, I don’t want to ‘spoil’ things for you, so things might seem a little sketchy. But let’s launch in.

In a pair of transparent 18 litre storage boxes nearby are endless files and folders, representing the core of my ideas for how to end this, together with whatever researches I’ve already undertaken.

There’s a lot of stuff that I’ve accumulated over the last twenty years, but it will all have to be re-worked and thought out properly. But the very first task is to read all of the notes and get a rough idea of what I’ve already got here – what can be used and what’s plain dumb. I don’t want to be making any of the same mistakes I made first time round. So re-familiarising all of this is my first priority. Maybe even to write a few pages – though nothing much at this stage, because I don’t want to set up any barriers to creativity: to opening this all up and putting things into the readers’ minds. Yes and because this is the time and place to THINK LARGE. Not that I haven’t got a lot of things in the mix already that will open this up.

Another element which will need to be incorporated into the mix is something I opened a file on some twenty years ago, which I’ve called – on the label on the front of that folder – “Errors and Omissions”, based on a very astute review of MARRIAGE OF THE LIVING DARK from way back then, which was called MARRIAGE OF THE DISAPPOINTMENTS.

At the same time, Books Nine to Twelve need to be prepared – with appendices – and made consistent with the rest of the sequence. If I can get ahead of things on that front then it’ll free up time to launch out into what I call ‘The End Game’ – those critical last four books which will give the thing its proper shape. But first, as I said, I need to assimilate what material I already have and put it all in the right place with the right structure. And I guarantee, dear reader, that it’s going to be just so much richer than the first version – circa 1997. Yep. Twenty years on, and it’s hopefully it’s gonna be bigger and better!

Okay. So that’s my homework through to 2020, maybe 2021. A thorough re-sculpting of the finale. But no spoilers. I want you all to come upon the new stuff without knowing what comes next. Right through to the final words, the final few paragraphs.

And if I manage that?

Well, let’s just wait and see. What I’ve got as of this moment – typed up (in the last fortnight) and ready to use in the new Book 17, FATHER OF LIES – is nearly thirty thousand words which were in the original MARRIAGE OF THE LIVING DARK and which are being sewn into the fabric of ‘The End Game’. Added to that will be three new plot-threads which still need a lot of work. And Book 18? What’s going to be called BLOOD AND IRON? Well, once again I’ve got some old material which is to be reworked and put to an entirely new use. Given new life, new vitality, and all of it placed – structurally – alongside the new stuff.

And then – in the last two books – the BIG FINALE. Full circle. The worm swallowing its tail. If I can make that work.

So that’s that. At least, as much as I can say right now without giving it all away.

And on the home front?

Well, yesterday I had my second session of dental work – an hour and a half of jolly fun in a chair! Oh, how I love the sound of that drill! Luckily I’ve not got another session until October. And, before you ask, it feels a lot better. Sophie, my dentist, did a good job.

Okay, so more news on the ‘Sculpting the End Game’ in a week or two. Oh, and to those of you who bought the Books One to Eight package, thanks for your tremendous support and encouragement. They’re beauties aren’t they?

Tsai Chien!

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