I must really enjoy challenging myself. It seems that with every novel I write, I set up a new bar to hurtle over. In moving from "The Wings of Winter" to "MindBlind", I shifted genres. Jumping from epic fantasy to futuristic thriller can make your head spin. But it was a challenge and I needed to prove to myself that I could write more than one story over and over.
Then came "The House of Many Doors" which was not only a different genre (YA Urban fantasy this time) but a shift in POV from close 3rd person to 1st person. Not only that, but the POV voice was that of a 15 year old boy. It was a crash course in learning the limitations of 1st person. Everything in the story, and I mean *everything* has to be filtered through your MC's perceptions. There is an intensity both in the reading and in the writing. There's no getting away from the character, so you'd better like writing him or her!
Novel number 4, "Heal Thyself", took me back to a fantasy realm, but instead of adopting the quasi medieval structure of a feudal society, I opted to write of two cultures in conflict and transition, representing (loosely) East and West and to return to 3rd person POV, telling this story through one character from each society. Since that clearly wasn't enough to tie me in knots, I also decided to invent a religion AND write this one starting from my main characters rather than a plot. (Did I mention that everything else I've written started from an outline?)
So no plot, other than the broadest outlines of where these characters started out and what antecedent event would start the story on its course. I wrote for most of 8 months, getting 90+K done and taking my characters to the brink of the novel's climax. Then I hit the wall because I couldn't figure out the ending.
Early this week, I sat down and started outlining the events that have to happen in order for this story to end properly. I re-read the manuscript and took notes on open threads, planned what needed to occur for them to reach resolution. Wonder of wonders, I have an ending.
Not only that, but I believe it is the right ending for this story.
I can't wait to see what's next.