"I come sadly to the end of this journey, aware of the impossibility of commenting so objectively on a work which has absorbed me so long and so personally."
- Lloyd Alexander, The High King (author's note)
"Well, Fat Cat, we've done it, and you were no help whatsoever." With that heartfelt touch of finality, I shut my laptop. Endings always catch us off guard. We like to call them bittersweet, but sometimes the bitter seems to outweigh the sweet, at least for a time.
The Broken City of Crows is done. And when I say done, I mean, of course, that its current form is completed, the version many of you have been faithfully reading. There's work to do yet.
I'll do my best to remain succinct and informative beyond this point.
But hold on! If you're a Wattpad reader who hasn't yet finished the story, there won't be plot or character spoilers. I will, however, be addressing the nature of the ending in a broad sense and how it affects my plans moving forward, so if you wish to remain clueless until the very end, now may be the time to click elsewhere.
Rewrites and edits
Note: this section will be of little meaning or interest to those who haven't read the current Wattpad edition. Feel free to skip ahead!
The story I've been sharing on for the past year is, essentially, a first draft, and as such, it has its share of shortcomings and flaws. I'm already excited to dive into rewrites. General story and character improvement aside, my goals with these rewrites are twofold:
- Part 1 will be leaner and more focused, with a sharpened emphasis on the dynamics between Amos and Avora, along with Emery and Saremis. While I'll be cutting out some 'clutter characters' altogether, others (Gwinn, Ember, and Glavis, namely) will benefit from the wiggle room. Expect them to see an increased role and a more defined purpose.
- Part 2 will receive a substantial overhaul. Its focus will be the growth and relationships of individual characters rather than the current rivalry of collectives. Don't worry--the likes of Telula, Pawk, Arthur Peaboy, and Skinny Norbert aren't going anywhere. On the contrary, I expect to see them flourish.
Beyond these two main objectives, all the major characters need some work, and I'll fine-tune their personalities and goals to the best of my ability.
However, it's likely that nobody needs developmental attention more than my poor, introverted, Shaelec girl, Saremis. Her character often felt inconsistent and lacked direction. Expect her backstory and key elements of her personality to be far more defined and rather less...gloomy.
The Broken City of Crows will be released in both eBook and paperback editions upon its eventual completion. However, given its length and structure, I've heeded the advice of more experienced colleagues and will most likely publish the story as two contiguous novels, using The Broken City of Crows as an umbrella title.
The first book will include parts one and two, while the second book will wrap up with part three. If I were to make that split now, both books would be around 110k words long. Likewise, both will receive new cover art and titles.
As of yet, I don't have an estimated release date, but it's possible that the first book could be ready as soon as early 2019.
The future of the Wattpad edition
The Broken City of Crows can't remain available on Wattpad forever. It doesn't make sense for me to leave an old version of a story publicly available when the definitive product is on its way. Not only that, but it would go against Amazon's terms once the story's published.
Because of this, I will be removing The Broken City of Crows from Wattpad on October 1st. That gives those of you still in progress time to finish reading it, or you can choose to wait for the published novels.
I hate the thought of undoing everything readers and I have built over the past year, with nearly twenty-thousand reads and thousands of comments, but it's for the best. I'll be saving your comments somehow, for sure--they mean too much to me.
The final leg of the journey: the Last Book
If you've scrolled this far, you've either finished reading The Broken City of Crows on Wattpad or you don't mind being in on the secret--Crows is the first entry in a duology (or a trilogy, if we consider the splitting of the story in two parts).
For the sake of clarity, I'll simply refer to this untitled conclusion to Amos's journey as the Last Book.
At the end of The Broken City of Crows, many loose ends were tied off, but many more were left unresolved. To any Wattpad readers peeved by the lack of a tidy resolution, I apologize, but this was one nugget of information I chose to keep to myself until the last chapters were uploaded.
Though there's not much I can reveal about the sequel at this point in time, here's what I can tell you:
- It'll actually be the final installment. No secrets this time.
- I don't foresee it being as long as The Broken City of Crows (meaning that, unlike The Broken City of Crows, it will remain as one volume upon publication).
- In all likelihood, I won't be sharing it on Wattpad.*
*Please allow me to explain. While my experience with The Broken City of Crows has been one of the best of my writing career, this is a decision I've considered carefully. My motives for not sharing the Last Book on Wattpad are, from my point of view, quite reasonable.
First and foremost, the Last Book will be the true ending I've envisioned for years, and I want all my readers to equally experience the best version possible.
Secondly, I'll be editing The Broken City of Crows and writing the Last Book simultaneously, and this decision will help avoid continuity flaws or regrets down the line.
And finally, despite my love for the Wattpad community, I'm hesitant to subject myself to the demands of regular uploads for another year or more. It took a lot out of me at times. This time around, I want my sole focus to be the crafting of a polished, worthy conclusion to Amos's struggle.
Avid Wattpad users, I hope you understand.
I believe that about sums up my next steps. If I missed anything, or if you've got questions, please don't hesitate to ask me. I'll address your questions in my next newsletter or answer you privately, depending on the nature of the question (can't give everything away, can we?).
In the meantime, I have work to do. Better make coffee.
I'll talk to you soon.