Vacancy, Writing

Progress Update: The Willful Inheritor

The third and final book of The Vacancy Series is nearing completion. I’m pretty far behind my own timeline (disappointed in myself there), but it will be out before year’s end, so that’s something! I’m getting some feedback from beta readers on the first 2/3rds of the book, and I just worked out most of the kinks of the final third. I have two different, pretty solid options for the finale, and my biggest hang-up right now is choosing which one, which is a lot better than “what the hell do I do???”

I’ve cut more from The Willful Inheritor than any other book, and it’s still going to be my longest manuscript yet. That’s pretty exciting because I’m increasingly willing to sacrifice scenes and subplots for what I know will be best for the story as a whole, but there’s still a lot of “good” stuff to include–stuff that’s passing my standard for being page-worthy.

I worried a lot up front about having too much to do and ending up with a 200k word manuscript that was full of fluff. Vacancy had always been a story about a hotel that strangers visit, and that means it naturally feels episodic, but how many times can the doors open up and someone new walk in and it not feel repetitive? What I realize now is that I should have just gone all in on overwriting the first draft, added every visitor I could think of, and pushed through every dumb idea, leaving the worry for later when it was time to cut. This isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with a 200k manuscript, it’s just that The Weary Traveler and The Wayward Deed are both sub 125k, and I’d like all three to be consistent. I assume a reader who enjoys the first and second books will want the third to feel similar to the other two. This manuscript will probably be closer to 140k, but I don’t think it will feel that much longer.

I’m also digging into Lorelei’s brain (literally) in this book, and I’m a little worried about…existentialism? But, you know, in a fun way! I just hope it all feels in line with the world I’ve built. Asking big questions and getting silly answers and ultimately feeling odd but okay with what you find out.

Anyway, I can’t seem to make promises about this release, but my future series are definitely going to be more of the rapid release style–everything written up front and then dropped boom, boom, boom, one right after another with a few weeks in between. That means a longer time between series as a whole, but much shorter between books. And my actual next book is definitely going to be a one-off! Because ya know what? These are my books, motherfucker, and they’ll walk if I want them to!

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