Question three: please, please, please, you ARE going to finish PEGASUS, aren’t you?
I both kind of know and kind of don’t know what happened to PEGASUS.
When I started to write it I thought it was only one book. There’s always a place where a story starts. I suppose I might have suspected I was in trouble when PEG seemed to have two. The first is the scene the evening of Sylvi’s birthday, after she’s met Ebon for the first time. [Note lack of spoilers. You have to read it.] The second is when Sylvi and Ebon get back together.
Yes. Of course they get back together. I wouldn’t do that to my readers.* Although I don’t guarantee Technicolour sunsets and perfect harmony all around and the kind of happy ever after that sounds like a bad Sunday-school version of heaven. I was more or less guilty of that in my first book** and while that’s the way that story goes I’ve never quite forgiven myself.*** Which is also to say I guarantee a lack of Technicolour, in sunsets or otherwise, for the true, final ending of PEG II, III or MCVII. But Sylvi and Ebon DO GET BACK TOGETHER. ABSOLUTELY.
Also I realise that my readers don’t know as much about a story I’ve written as I do—ahem—but I assumed, which was stupid of me, that it would be OBVIOUS the end of PEGASUS is not the end of the story, and I apologise for not having an ‘end of part one’ or some such on the last page. I also apologise for not frelling getting on with the story sooner, but that’s not under my control SIIIIIIIGH.
So what I know of what went wrong is, first, I was completely freaked out that PEG was going to have to be at least two books. And then it morphed into three. AAAAAAUGH. At which point I basically ran away and hid. I don’t know how to write stories that long!† I can’t keep that much straight in my head!†† Lately I’ve been sort of oiling around the perimeter and wondering if I could possibly squash it back down to two . . . after all there were only two story-seed-starting places. . . .
The other thing that I know about that went wrong . . . I’ve always had a depressive streak, but till I hit menopause I could always banish it with cookies or a long walk or a self-inflicted whap up longside the head. Then menopause, when your hormones go berserk anyway, and I couldn’t do that any more. Plus having recently moved out of the old family house, which by then felt like my old family house too, because Peter was feeling his age; and watching Peter feel his age more and more—I know I keep bringing this up, but it was such an oppressively big part of our life together because it started so soon. The first part of EBON pretty well sank like a stone in my own emotional swamp. Bleauurggh. Sylvi is having a rough time: the loss of her pegasus is a crippling wound—the ritual bonding is not just some little hey-presto doodah, plus their relationship was unlike any other—and her country is going to pieces around her. I know what has to happen, but writing it . . . well. I’m not ready to write it yet, even now, but I can feel myself getting ready. Which I can tell you was not true two and a half years ago.
But the short form is: yes. I will finish the PEGASUS story. And yes, Sylvi and Ebon get back together. And yes it has a happy ending if you don’t require Technicolour.
* * *
* Well . . . I might be tempted to do it to the readers who get in my face—mostly electronically, any more, since I don’t go to conventions—and tell me how to write my stories. Especially when they’re telling me how to write my stories from a perspective of not liking the McKinley stories they have read for not being the stories they wanted to be reading. But they are in the MINORITY. The infuriating minority, but still the minority. I wouldn’t do that to my GOOD READERS.^
^ Also, I need to earn a living. This requires that I deliver product that strangers will pay money for. And, given the current economic climate and royalty rates, that lots of strangers will pay money for.
** BEAUTY. In case any of you aren’t 100% up on your McKinley.^
^ I’m not. Just by the way. And, also just by the way, in answer to some commenter (or it may have been an email to ASK ME A QUESTION), if I would consider a collection of just the Luthe short stories: there aren’t enough of them. I don’t think. I may be forgetting something. See: not 100%. Sigh. But even if I am forgetting something, I’m not forgetting enough. I would consider it, I think it’s a good idea, but I’d have to write probably a couple more stories first. SIIIIIGH. Add it to the frelling list.
There is at least one Luthe (short) story I know about that I want to write—about how he and Aerin finally come back together. DON’T GET YOUR HOPES UP. In the first place, long-time readers will be aware of my near-100% failure, speaking of 100%, to write what I think I’m planning to write, and in the second place, even if this story wanders close enough for long enough for me to stamp the sucker on paper. . . it’s not one of your cheerful, upbeat stories. Nothing on DIARY, mind you, but still not cheerful. The trauma isn’t on the scale of DEERSKIN (or DIARY) but those of you who have read it, you know how DEERSKIN ends on a teetery, uncertain, modified happily-ever-after—personally I know that Ossin and Lissar will stay together and love each other for the rest of their lives, but what has happened will never NOT have happened and the past casts a long shadow. And some scars never completely heal.
Well, now think about Aerin and Luthe: the two of them getting back together is predicated on Tor dying and Aerin, as no-longer-quite-mortal, giving up, having to give up, everything she has ever known and worked for in her life, including the husband she really, really, really did love, who had been her best friend all her life . . . and whom she will miss every day she is with Luthe Which Luthe knows. As well as all the other friends she will lose, because they are mortal. As well as the burden she now carries with Luthe, the responsibility due to or by her no-longer-quite-mortalness, to try what she can to sort out her messed-up world.
No I’m not frelling political, and I didn’t ‘make’ Damar messed up—I can’t make my stories do anything—because our world is messed up. But I am very invested in the reality of human beings and what shapes their lives, and the stories that come to me know that or they’d go to someone else.
*** Warning: do not, on pain of being hunted down and turned into a flower fairy and forced to wear foxglove bonnets and live under toadstools forever^, tell me how much you love BEAUTY especially the happy ending, and you wish I’d do it again. I’m never going to do it again. Among other sins, I was very young when I wrote BEAUTY, and even at twenty-four I thought the ending was a bit much.
^ and if this fate doesn’t fill you with horror, please go away, this blog is not for you.
† Look, look! I’ve FINALLY imported some footnote symbols!!!! And I can hardly wait to find out which ones the current WordPress won’t support. It had hissy fits all over the (symbolic) landscape last time, and there were all kinds of glorious squiggles I couldn’t use.
ANYWAY: Some of you may remember reference to One of the Many Third Damar Novels^, KIRITH. That was, I think, the first to be third, if you follow me . . . and one of the things that went wrong with it is that it wanted to be more than one book and I freaked out and botched the first volume—and my publisher turned it down. Sigh. It’s still in a box under my desk.
^ Ah. And while we’re on the subject . . . Damar was NEVER a trilogy. NEVER. Make a note. Some culpable fu—I mean di—I mean sh—I mean . . . idiot at my publishing house decided that it would punch up the advertising to call it a trilogy, and if I knew who it was I’d’ve turned him+ into a flower fairy and then sent a large hungry Gila monster down to his end of the garden decades ago. Some poor commenter who is now, reading this, deciding to take a profound interest in Early Renaissance poetry and leave the modern fantasy thing alone, asked after ‘the long delayed third of the Damar trilogy’ recently. ARRRRRRGH. I used to say that Damar was a series of indefinite length . . . which I suppose, at two books, it is . . . but that was when I still thought I’d be writing a few more before its first readers grew up and became grandparents. I’m still planning on writing more about Damar, and if I wrote all the Third Damar Novels I have notes on . . . it wouldn’t quite be GAME OF THRONES but it wouldn’t be short either.
+ Of course it was a him. Mutter mutter mutter mutter.
†† The Damarian Series of Indefinite Length would have gone on^ as it started—hopping around both in time and territory, and with some but not a lot of unpredictable overlap of characters. Luthe, I think, is the only one who would have turned up at all regularly, and never as much more than a prod to move story or current characters in some other direction. So it still wouldn’t be a proper series.
^ Or will go. You never know. I never know.