"The solution to a problem—a story that you are unable to finish—is the problem. It isn’t as if the problem is one thing and the solution something else. The problem, properly understood=the solution. Instead of trying to hide or efface what limits the story, capitalize on that very limitation. State it, rail against it." —Susan Sontag
Matt Bell posted this today on Facebook.
Book II in the Pure Trilogy, FUSE, is finished and in edits. And as I'm working on the end of the Pure trilogy this summer, this post by Bell made me take notice. I've been away from the final book -- BURN -- for 2 weeks, and that's enough time to allow the book to punish me for my absence. Now it's a new beast -- over there, eying me as I eye it.
Whenever I have to leave a mid-progress novel, I write myself a letter so I know where I was and what I should come back to. In my letter to myself, I said that the answers to the ending could be found in the beginning. "Go backward," I wrote, "before you go forward." I know what I meant. I need to conserve. Don't add new elements -- no matter how tempted. "Everything you need, you have." But I only have the beast, its growling.
In a trilogy, this means you go back to book I, page 1. Who were my characters then? It's the only way I'll really know who they are now.