A while back I posted about hitting the wall on my WIP, “Under the Ember Star.” That wall proved tough to get over. I find a book develops a certain momentum, especially if you try to end chapters on cliffhangers. And once you get into that rhythm of movement it’s hard to break free. That was the source of the wall. I wanted the story between 25,000 and 30,000 words, and I realized I had to get hold of the reins and pull the thing up if I were going to end it where I wanted it. But the story fought the reins. I finally won, but it was a near thing, and it looks like the final will be right around 30,000 words, just a little longer than I’d hoped.
When the wall finally breached, the end came quickly. I did about 20 pages of rough draft in one day. It’ll have to be polished so the work is not done by any means, but the pieces are all there and I know where they go. And best of all, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I was afraid there’d be too much talky explanation at the end and not enough action, but I found a way around that. Sometimes, also, I worry that I won’t be able to pull it off, that this time I’ll write myself into a corner I can’t get out of. I’m glad it didn’t happen. This time. Someday it probably will. That’s the perils of writing by the seat of your pants.
In other news, I have another review of a friend's book below. This is for Apostle Rising, by Richard Godwin.
Apostle Rising mixes a number of genres, and does it flawlessly. There are elements of the police procedural, with two sets of connected serial killings being investigated. There are horrific elements that are a match for anything you’ll read in a straight horror novel. And there are edge-of-your-seat twists and turns that keep your head spinning and which are the basics of the thriller. The final twist caught me completely by surprise even though I read a lot of thrillers and am generally pretty good at picking out the hints. This one had me smiling because it was just perfect, and yet I never saw it coming.
The story is also written in luminous and often poetic prose:“The woods are cast deep in folded meadow shade, hues of blackness tinged with the heavy odours of autumn, rotting to nothing in the scattered leaves where insects scurry and blind slugs creep and grope their way to mulch.”
One of the main reasons I picked up this book is because I’d read a number of Godwin’s short stories and always enjoyed his prose. Godwin is a helluva stylist and I’m a sucker for beautiful language, especially when it is combined with a dark sensibility that gives it backbone.
Finally, we have good characters, both heroes and villains. I like heroes who hurt but move ahead despite the pain, characters who stand for something, who fight the good fight. Frank Castle and Jacki Stone have those qualities. And the villains (there are more than one) are a good match for our heroes. Overall this is a very strong outing for what I believe is Godwin’s first novel. I’m looking for even greater things ahead for this writer.