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  • Bryan W. Alaspa

When the books get hard to write

So, the big news, I guess I should lead with, is that I have officially started writing the third novel in the Elementals YA series. This is probably the single biggest request I get these days (right behind asking when the next Deklan Falls book is coming out) and I have been meaning to get around to it for some time.

I was nervous about writing novel number three. I have to admit that. I have done a third novel in a series before (aforementioned Deklan series) and it gets very hard when you get to the third novel. The first two (The Lightning Weaver and The Lord of Winter) both came pretty quickly and came out in a rush. It took me a lot of time to try and sort out what I wanted in the third one, figure out where the characters were going and what I wanted to do. At the same time, the worry is that the YA people who started reading this book are just becoming As (adults) and may not want to read the final two books. This is the problem when you decide to do a YA series and they don't become million-sellers and I can't spend the entire day working on them.

So, I took a break for most of January. The plan was to take the entire month off, but I sat down last week and opened up The Water Witch (the third novel) and started writing. To my great delight, it was like sitting in a warm bath or something. It was fun revisiting these characters, figuring out what they are doing now and then working on coming up with some new characters.

This was not the chase with my prior two novels, which was why I needed to take a break. I found this fascinating and spent a little bit of time navel-gazing about the writing process (at least as I see it) and the difference between writing one type of book compared to the other. You see, most people assume I have total control of the novels I write, but I content I do not. There are times I just cannot sit down and start writing something - which is why I have not been able to get to The Water Witch until now. The characters and stories just come to me and I have to write them down. Often, as I have mentioned many times before, I end up being as surprised, shocked or sad as the readers are.

If I were able to control it, I'd be a successful full time writer of romance novels, teenage vampire gigs or zombie horror. I could write a novel a month of the most disturbing and grossly violent books you've ever read. I can't do that. Instead, I write weird stuff about alternate dimensions and realities and weird psychological thrillers that are hard to read.

This is me.

Last year, I had two novels which came to me and took over. After I finished Storyland, I was setting up to write The Water Witch. I even posted a photo of the title page. Then, the novel The Revisionists came into my brain and I could not shake it off. I had to write it and I just finished it and you can read it HERE online and I hope you vote for it so I can get a publishing deal.

I had to take a break after it. Because Storyland (without giving anything away) went very dark, dark places. I ended up writing two scenes near the end of that novel which disturbed me so much it left me shaken. I have been told the ending of the novel is shocking, disturbing and hard to read. Those scenes at the end were also profoundly hard to write and still haunt me.

Then came The Revisionists. It's a story about people who discover technology to change reality and alter history. I knew it was going to have horrible implications, but then came the ending. I suddenly realized what the ending was going to be and I even told my wife I was having a hard time getting to the end because - well, I knew some bad things would have to happen to these characters I had grown to like.

I can't give away anything else about it - you'll just have to wait for it to come out.

With The Water Witch, I am taking my time, but I find I am joyously writing this one. It is such a blast. This hearkens back to my love of comic books and these are my comic book series without the pictures. I have characters with amazing powers and coming up with new ways for characters to manipulate the elements is so much fun. Sure, the bad guy here is very bad and some very bad things will happen to these characters as they try to overcome evil and allow the good to win, but it's very different from the prior two novels.

Anyway, not sure who else finds this interesting, but I do find the creative process fascinating. It is fascinating to me that two novels in a row led me down dark places and disturbing areas inside my mine, but this new one is fun and bright and exciting, like playing with a new toy.

So, hopefully, sometime later this year the third novel in the Elementals series will be ready for publication. I hope you'll enjoy it. I hope, if you are a young adult who started reading this series, you'll read the third one. Then you'll just have to wait for the fourth one and I currently don't know when I will start to work on that one.

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