Eugenica, my alternative history novel, is nearing completion and it is proving a very frustrating period in the creative process. The last two chapters, there may actually be three but I am not clear on that yet, are proving very difficult to get into shape. There are various reasons for this and I suppose it is somewhat encouraging that I am able to understand them, otherwise I would be lost in a creative vortex.
All of the problems are of my own creation. The plot is not particularly convoluted but it does have several threads running through it and they need to be brought together to help form the closing scenes. I am not one who needs every question answered or every thread tied off, in fact there may well prove to be a sequel to Eugenica so I think that it is in everyone’s interest that the ending is somewhat open.
This approach is not one of the problems, avoiding the obvious or predictable is. One of my beta-readers suggested a certain cataclysmic event at the end of the story, it was one that I had already flagged up myself – only with the intent of avoiding it. Yes, the obvious incident would be full of danger, death, and destruction and possibly I could make it into a thrilling ride for the reader but I can guarantee that it is also the first thought of the said reader when they encounter the particular object that suggests this violent end in the opening passages. It is just too obvious!
What I actually want to do is something a little bit more subversive and I am working to that end on this particular part of the story. The conclusion itself is going to be pretty violent anyway with two characters who represent the opposite ends of what eugenics believes it can create coming to blows. They are both physically powerful men but also very different to one another. Their battle should give me plenty of exciting action to write about. I am actually looking forward to working on this episode as by its very nature it tips its hat to a form of fiction that I very much enjoyed in my formative years; high adventure!
Again I want to avoid the obvious or the predictable. There’s a tangle enmeshing three characters in particular and I believe that making that tangle even more complicated will make their relationships towards one another rather fascinating.
On top of this there’s the need to reread all my notes to implement the many observations that I’ve made during the rewrite so as to maintain the coherence of the story, the plot, the character’s, and the chronology. As I approach the end of the writing phase getting the manuscript to a state fit to publish seems still like a long way off!
I suppose the reason for this lies in the fact that I no longer have a single goal to aim for.
Originally it was to write the story, which I did in quite a short space of time, for me anyway. After that I realised that I had work to do on individual characters, develop themes, establish a credible landscape to set the story in, work in new ideas, correct errors in various forms and a hundred other tasks that only seem to become apparent when you decide to take the writing of the story seriously.
As with my two previous novels, The War Wolf and For Rapture of Ravens, this can all prove very frustrating and yet at the same time there’s an increasing element of excitement. It is always exciting when a creative project nears completion and that is what I am reminding myself of; the book is nearly finished. The book is going to be finished. Despite everything else that has to be done before I reach that day there is one thing that I am sure of, Eugenica is going to be completed and there is nothing else that compares to that moment of satisfaction when you hold a copy of your completed work in your hands!