It hurts to end a book

I am about to draw a close on the first draft of my sequel to “I Zombie I” (on Amazon and Barnes & Noble). The new book (“My Zombie My”) picks up where the first book left off, but the zombie landscape is now navigated by the female protagonist, Bethany Nitshimi. Where “I Zombie I” was from the perspective of a man slowly transforming into a zombie, “My Zombie My” sees Bethany trying to survive the landslide of the apocalypse while trying to find a cure, fight off zombies, and run from newer, far worse enemy.

At this point I am near the end of the book. That end is drawing out for one simple reason – I don’t want it to end. It’s such a wonderful position to be in, but it’s one that offers a lot of tricky issues. The biggest issue is not letting the story drag on simply because I am enjoying the ride so much. The story must end and must end efficiently and at the precise point that allows for a satisfying ending, yet cliffhanger enough to warrant the third, and final, chapter.

It’s an exciting moment…but one that must be handled with grace and efficiency. But…

As a reader, have you ever been near the end of a good book and started to grow upset when you saw the end coming? The pages at the end of the book grow fewer and fewer…you know it’s imminent, yet you don’t want the inevitable to occur. The story must go on. The characters must live. After all you’ve invested so much time, energy, and emotion into those beings.

I experience the same thing when writing. I don’t want the story to end. I’ve grown to know this world I have created so well…I want to continue living vicariously. Fortunately I know I have one more in the “zombie” series before I have to say goodbye. And I have to promise myself that I won’t go back to that world. The series will be done.

Writers go through so much when pouring over their craft. Characters in books might as well peel themselves off the written page and be given life. From the eyes of the writer, those characters do have life and ending that book often means ending those lives.

My youngest is obsessed with Harry Potter. She’s only now reading the books (but seen all of the films). When she comes to that final sentence in The Deathly Hallows I know, with certainty, tears will be shed. She can’t understand why J.K. Rowling won’t write more in the series. There’s plenty of money to be made after all…right?

Sure…but there’s also the fear of jumping the ol’ shark. Anything (and I mean anything), if given the time, will jump the shark. So any good writer will know when something is completely (and absolutely) finished. And when it is finished…it hurts. A small part of you dies.

I have one more in the “zombie” series before this happens. With the Fringe Killers series (A Blade Away and Gothica) I intentionally left it open ended. The same with Shero. Why? For different reasons. The main character in Shero is simply too dear to me to let end. That is one of the reasons I won’t complete entries in this series successively. It’s in the grand plan to  draw Shero out as long as I can. As for the Fringe Killer series…I’ll let it live until I can’t find any more on the fringes of society to frighten.

But eventually they will all end. I can only hope their memories will live on.