Last week, I finished the rough draft of the third episode of The Belle Starr Chronicles. I am both thrilled to have made it to “The End,” and depressed that it took me over two years to write a book that’s only a novella. Of course, it took two or three restarts, and I ended up writing a very different story than what I originally had planned. Also, I lost a year of writing to “personal angst.” So maybe I will let myself off the hook. A little.
Now about halfway through revisions, Belly of the Beast is sitting at around 13,000 words. I still have to cut a lot of dialogue and add more action and description. My best guess is it will come in around 15,000 words. So when bundled with Whiskey on the Rocks and The Skull Game, the whole series will make for a nice short novel.
The story I first had in mind was called A Pair of Aces, and involved a villain from The Skull Game reappearing to cause trouble for all the smugglers. I may someday write that story – it could still have taken place between TSG and BOTB. But it’s not really essential. It doesn’t really further the plot, but might be a fun adventure if I feel like spending more time in the Passage. Probability: about the same as Robin McKinley writing a sequel to Sunshine.
Belly of the Beast is clearly the end of a trilogy. It answers questions about what the Passage really is, why people go insane traveling through it, and the fate of several characters from the previous two tales.
Now that I have some momentum, I plan to send it to betas soon, and then edit it a couple of times before sending along to be published. After that…we’ll see.