After four years, countless hours, and no shortage of rewriting, the third and final installment in the Formist Series – The Frost Line Fracture – is finally complete! You know what that means, don’t you? Now begins the long process of editing, revising, consulting, and reviewing. And if all goes well, the book should be released in late Fall/Early Winter.
One thing I noticed about writing this last book, it brought up a significant issue of mine that I’ve noticed only once before. Namely, I hate writing third installments! I am not sure if this is something all writer’s go through or if it’s just me. But dangit, it’s true in my case!
Let’s back up a little bit here. First of all, I should mention that my approach to trilogies was inspired by something George Lucas once said (you know, back before we got all weird!). As he explained in his famous interview with Leonard Maltin, a trilogy is basically a three act play:
“In the first act you introduce everybody. The second act you put them in the worst possible position can ever get into in their lives and it’s everything – you know – they’re in a black hole, never able to get out. And in the third one, they get out. Again, that’s drama, that’s the way it works.”
These are words that I have found myself coming back to over the years and they’ve informed a few writing projects of mine. Naturally, when writing the Formist Trilogy, I tried to do this very thing.
Whereas The Cronian Incident introduced the universe I had created, The Jovian Manifesto was all about action and things hitting the fan. Accordingly, The Frost Line Fracture was all about finding a path towards resolution for the main characters and the storyline.
But when it came time to do it, I experienced the same problem I had on only one other occassion – where I was also trying to write a third installment. The process felt demanding and weighed down by a sense of obligation, in a way that none of the previous books did.
I guess that’s understandable. When writing a third book in a series, you have to remember all the threads you’ve established with the previous ones. This means being especially vigilante about timelines, inconsistencies, character arcs, and making sure everything wraps up nicely.
Since I’m still new to this whole being-a-writer thing, it shouldn’t surprise me that there’s a learning curve. Still, I was a bit perplexed by how the process felt so different.
In my experience, the first novel is a challenge since you’re setting everything up and introducing all the characters, settings, themes and elements. For this exact same reason, writing the first novel is fun! The second novel, where your now tasked with developing the story further and making everything take a dark turn, that’s just plain fun!
But the THIRD installment, where you’re tasked with bringing things to a close, that’s tough! Yet somehow, everything came together and I found myself writing happily and excitedly through the action chapters.
In fact, this third book contains action scenes that honestly put the previous books to shame! That’s kind of what the third act is all about, right? It’s showdown time! And when the ending finally came, I felt kind of sad and nostalgic.
Of course, whether or not I pulled it off is up to the readers. And I look forward to hearing what people think of it once it hits the shelves!