Jump Back to Move Forward

Not really sure what’s going on in this rough draft anymore.  I’m a firm believer that every novel comes together differently, with me using different “tools” for achieving more effective writing and finding new ways to keep creative.  Much of that stems from what I’m trying to do in the book, and I’m not just talking about plot but about craft.  I usually have a “craft” goal for each book that I work on, be it as simple as wanting to see if I can make a bad character sympathetic or as complex as wanting to try a different style of storytelling altogether.

My firm rule of thumb for rough drafts is to never look back, as in writing new material every day.  If I find I have to change something in the old material, I just write a note in the margin of the electronic copy and proceed forward with new stuff assuming that I have made the changes and they all work beautifully.

It’s a good rule, and part of the reason I can chunk out pages fast.  But this one . . .  This manuscript is behaving differently, and I have found myself for the third time jumping back into old stuff to add entire chapters.  (That I can’t fake with a line or two in the margin, so everything grinds to a halt while I go back and chunk in 15-20 new pages of text.)

As I look at just what, (and who) is being added, I’m starting to see a rather disturbing pattern.  I know that I’m looking both farther ahead than usual in this one, (all the way to the end of the series,) as well as farther back than usual, (seeing relatively big shifts I want to make in the book currently sitting on my editor’s desk.)  It’s gelling faster than usual, and I think I’m catching things now rather than in the regular rewrite stage.  At least, I hope so.

At any rate, it’s been both frustrating and satisfying the past couple of months.  The page count is creeping up despite the fall-back writing, and I’m getting excited for the end.  It’s starting to circle back.

Rachel herself is seeing this in both the people around her and the places she is–and has become both melancholy and strong in the changes that have happened and the things that have not changed at all.  Maybe that’s why I have no fear of ending a series and beginning a new.  Rachel is strong.  Rachel has discovered a wisdom.  Rachel is ready to move forward.  And so am I as a writer.



Filed under Drama Box

62 responses to “Jump Back to Move Forward

  1. AKR

    Can’t say I’m looking forward to it ending but …… as they say all good things must come to an end ….

    I’m no writer …. but I guess as it comes to a close you find yourself going back to make it a well rounded ending …??
    I’m anxious to see how it does end … lol I hope it’s as you wanted it and works for all of us …. your breathless fans …. lol

    *sigh* once The Hollows is done I guess I’ll have to tackle your other works … to see if they are as addictive … lol
    It really is a pleasure to connect with you on this forum …. so thank you

    Have a great day
    AKR (Trinidad)

    PS I’ll keep signing like that on the odd chance that our paths cross one day in my travels or yours …. 🙂 and … just maybe …. maybe you’ll remember your Trinidadian fans 🙂

    • Hi AKR. The book I’m writing now won’t be out till 2012, so it’s not like it’s ending tomorrow! 😉 But yes, I’m anxious to see how it ends, myself.

  2. A.N.

    Hi Ms. Kim,
    Ooohhh it is sad, but…

    Be Happy! A.N.

  3. JanisHarrison

    I am visualizing the current MS as a wild little mustang. It’s bucking you, but you know that in the end it will settle down and the two of you will find the path you’ll follow together. (I know, you’re not much into horses, but my mom had a stepfather who was a “mustanger” and a mother who was a rider, and expressions such as “got the bit in his teeth” or “put his head down” are in the family lexicon.) Now, as to seeing the conclusion of the series/storyline, it’s a little sad, like watching your child move out into the world for the first time. But it’s a little happy too, because we’ve done a good job of parenting and our child is ready to face the world. Bittersweet, that’s the word…

    • Hi Janis. Actually, I’ve ridden quite a bit, and had a horse named Britches. So I guess I’d say I’m trying to teach my horse to lead on the other foot. (grin)

  4. Niko

    While I’m happy that things are coming together… I’m sad that already the end is coming nearer! I don’t think I’m quite ready to leave the Hollows yet, not now or in a few years.

  5. Tim

    This will sound ignorant of the process, but are you limited by contract to the amount of pages you can write or is it your own self limitation? I think all Hollows fans would joyously slog through a Harry Potter length book (or maybe not. I know I would) As far as the series ending, at the age of nine, Howdy Doody went off the air and I was unconsoble for days. So I am used to my favorite things ending.

    • Hi Tim. It depends. Some authors are limited to page count, but my editor is in the position to give me the freedom I need to tell the story. WWBC was the longest book I wrote, and I voluntarily started bringing the page count back down after that one. Too many words got in the way of what I was trying to tell. 😉

  6. Mel from OR

    I sooooo know what you are talking about jumping back and forth. I tried following your advice about moving forward with the rough draft. The current manuscript I’m working on works well because I know the story through and through. But my other projects, not so much. I get three or four chapters in and then another brilliant idea strikes me and I must go back and add the change. It’s rather frustrating at times. Maybe it’s creative ADD. Ya think?

    • I think you might want to practice the straight-forward method for a while and get some practice in organizing your brilliant ideas so you can have the best of both worlds. -smile- Good luck, Mel!

  7. Kelly

    I have to agree with everyone as well, it will be sad to see them go but I have them all so when I am missing Rachel and the gang I can just pick them back up and take another trip to the hollows.

    I love you style as well and can not wait for PD.

  8. Marcie

    It is sad to hear that the series is soon ending, but it seems like everyone is happy, er with happy being a relative term there. Now am I curious that you are winding down the series, do you have another one in mind already? Is it maybe in the back of your head stiring around and trying to come out? Or do you not get the next idea till this one is finished? I’m just curious how that all works. I know I can read several different series and keep them straight, but can you write that way too? Seems like you would get some cross referencing, but maybe not.

    If I remember correctly I think tomorrow is the next day taht you are posting another chapter and I can hardly wait. I wanted it to be today for selfish reasons. Today is my birthday and it would have been icing on my cake. 🙂 But tomorrow will work for me too, it will just make my birthday longer. At least the books coming out will be a few more years for me to enjoy as I will be missing these new friends, but I have all the books to return to them when I’m missing them.

    • Hi Marcie. Next chapter release is on the 18th. Sorry for the confusion!

      I do have a couple of things I want to get on paper, yes. One is a potential series. One is a stand alone. And I’ve got an anthology to do that will stir up all kinds of ideas. 😉

      Happy birthday!

  9. Lesley

    IT must be so satisfying to be tying up such a long and intricate series. While I’ll be terribly sad when this story comes to an end, I really can’t wait to see where you take us next! I mean, how can you top Rachel and the gang? And yet, I’m sure you will. In the meantime, I’m happy that I have a bunch of unread Dawn Cook titles to hold me over between Hollows novels. And more Madison! Woohoo!

  10. JuliaM

    OMG I got An ARC copy of PALE DEMON !!! I am screaming and jumping for joy!! for an hour now!! i am so not going to sleep till i finish it.

  11. Judi in NJ

    And p.s.? After reading your blog, I’d like to cry and giggle. I know as sure as I’m sitting here that the end, when it does come, will be a delicious gift to treasure as well as a heartbreaking event. How is it that a book series can touch a person so? It’s you; the writer/creator/artist/dream-weaver. You are amazing and we are so fortunate to be your audience. As readers, this is what we live for. This is what we search for. The fact that you share the process is icing on the Death by Chocolate cake.

  12. Judi in NJ

    From:HarperVoyagerUS on Twitter

    Huge congrats to Kim Harrison–BLACK MAGIC SANCTION is #13 on Publishers Weekly’s mass market bestseller list!


    • -grin- Yes, I’m very proud of that one. PW is very telling in how a book is actually selling. Thanks, Judi. It’s a fantastic number for a book that has been out for almost a year.

  13. mudepoz

    I feel like Spock, but: *Eyebrow Lift* Fascinating. It does sound like growing up.

  14. Frederique

    Way to make me cry at work Kim 😛

  15. manekochan

    Not that I want the series to end, but I can’t wait for it to end well. ^_^ So many books try to keep going well past their natural ending and they suffer for it, so, while I don’t want my favorite series to go away in a few years, it’s better if it goes out on top. I cannot bloody wait to read them, though. 🙂 February is still too far away! DX

  16. Hello there Mrs. Harrison,
    I liked this post, 🙂 it’s certainly one of my favorites. Melancholy. Reflective. It must be hard closing down a series which has given you so much. I have to ask, will this be the last story set in the Hollows or do you think that you’ll return there one day? Some Historical Hollows would be nice…
    Do we see more of Daryl later? I can’t remember if I said that I found Ley Line Drifter and I have to say I liked her. It also had, in my oppinion, your best Ivy moment in there. The first words that she said to Daryl is… Very well done. Really, very well done (don’t want to give spoilers, lol).

    Thank you for sharing this with us and thank you again for this series. It will be sad to see it go, because I’ve become WAY too involved with it, but that’s a testament to your writing. I have to point out as well that, just as Rachel’s matured, I personally feel that your writing’s matured as well. Or, for lack of a better way of putting it (and not implying that you were bad), your writing’s improved. 🙂

    Have a good day ma’am, I wish you many words.


    • Hi Alyssa. I’ve actually got one or two more books to write for the Hollows after this one, so I’m simply looking very far ahead. 😉

      I might go back after a break. I want to try something different to stretch my writing, and I can’t to that in the format of the Hollows.

      I think my writing has improved, too. -grin- Thanks!

  17. Robin

    Ummmm . . . not to be pushy becaue it’s amazing we even get this kind of chance and I would never look a gift horse in the mouth and I appreciate so so so so so much everything you do for us your adoring (try not to read crazy) fans but . . . isn’t today Tuesday? No new sneak peak chapter for PD? (my face right now looks like puss in boots in shrek when he does the big eyes from the velvet painted kids thing. really. promise.)

  18. Hellokitty654

    We are near the end of a beautiful series though bittersweet, we shale all keep Rachel and her crew in our hearts. ❤ 🙂

    I want to thank you kim your series it is the first adult series i have ever read and i have enjoyed every minute of it and can't wait for the rest of the series to unfold… and a new series to sink my teeth into 😉 *hugs*

  19. Lauren

    I love a satisfying series, and a good conclusion is VERY satisfying. Knowing Rachel grows stronger, and that you have more stories to tell with new characters…has me more excited than sad. I’ll enjoy the rest of the Hollows (February has been one of my favorite months for several years now because of a new Rachel Morgan book) and I’ll be ready to devour the next series you create. 🙂 Here’s to burning bunnies!

  20. NO! Rachel can’t end. I understand the coalescence of a series and the climax and that things have to end, but this is a world I would love to be able to fall into forever. I will cry when it all comes to the end, not that I haven’t soo many times before, but………………….

  21. This is a beautiful post. I think we as writers grow and change in our procceses just as our characters grow and change during the course of our stories.

    But I think that all good stories eventually have an end. I am curious to see what Rachel’s HEA will be.

    A new series…how exciting…so is this were we’ll finally meet Grace? ~grin~ (I know, I know, you can’t tell me and I’ll have to wait. ~laughs. eats cupcakes~)



  22. Every story should have a logical conclusion. To draw out the characters and their lives into infinity…? Uffda. As much as I love Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, Trent, Al, Bis, Ceri, Quen, and all the rest – there should be a point where you say “Enough”. And as fans, we need to respect that.

    I’ll miss them when they’re done, but I’ll always have them – and YOU- on my shelf, and in my heart.

  23. Sandra

    How bittersweet. I am an avid fan of this series and while it will pain me to see it come to close, I know it’s only inevitable. You know what they say about all good things. But you also know what they say about closing doors and opening windows. =) I am looking forward to more of your writing. A new series perhaps? *wink wink*

  24. Maryellen

    Hi Miss Kim,

    Your post today reminded me of a Winston Churchill quote;

    “Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him out to the public.”

    Hang in there! 🙂

  25. Everything comes to an end. That’s life. It’s bullshit sometimes but it is what it is.

    It’s a really good practise for me to read your books in the original. Your style of writing is so authentic.

    Oh and yeah. The german one is pretty…sexy. ^^ I like the thing with the blood and the sword. And if it’s Ivy, than she has for sure beautiful legs. 😉

  26. As much as I love Rachel and the entire crew, and I loathe to think of a day when I can’t anticipate reading more of their adventures, I am glad that they won’t suffer the fate of some series characters. I have loved characters and watched them turn into caricatures, loved stories and watched them degrade into pulp. I am glad to know that Rachel will come to a place where she can go on with out us. I will miss her, terribly, but I trust you enough to create for us new friends.

  27. Robin

    **sigh** Our little Rachel is growing up. It’s good. It must feel good. I had another author I read who did a vamp series and she was adamant about when the story is told it’s told and to keep trying to push out more novels just for cash or a reader demand is not being an advocate for your characters and their stories. I will be said with everyone else to see the series end but also know that as the storyteller you will do what is best for our beloved clan and we will cherish every word as we read it. And re read it. And read it again. 🙂

  28. I am glad Rachel is becoming stronger. I am sad that the series will be coming to an end but, I’m confident you’ll come up with another great series that will have me up all night reading till the wee hours of the morning:) And because I’ve collected all the novels in the Hollows series and the short stories, I can revisit with my fav characters anytime:) Thanks for giving me many sleepless nights enjoying what I like most, getting lost in another world.

  29. Marsha

    *sigh* It is sad for me to think if the series ending since I only discovered them under two years ago. It’s hard for me to let them go, but I understand what you mean about wanting to create someone new and let them come to light. I have a hard time focusing on one project because I am always distracted by a new shiny idea.

  30. Jenn

    Congrats Kim! I’m glad that you are happy with Rachels growth enough to be able to let her go.
    Sorry I’ve not been commenting, I broke my dominant hand & everything takes a lot longer to do lol. But I have been reading daily 🙂

  31. Yasmin

    Hi, Kim!
    Your sounding introspective today…
    I have to tell you, as much as I love your books, I’m glad to know that there will be an end. They are books, not a soap opera and at some point the characters need to be able to live their lives unscripted.
    Plus, I am sure there are other people who only live in your imagination right now that want THEIR turn to be introduced to the world.
    Write! Write forwards, write backward, write sideways. In the end we know it will be very satisfying.
    Have a successful day.

    • Hi Yasmin. Yeah, you noticed the introspection? Things shift from time to time, and pieces that were hidden under others show themselves and need to be played with. I’m just seeing stuff, and it has me introspective.

      I’m glad you understand about endings. Thank you!