While “I love you” is wonderful, as a writer “The End” holds a special power.
Last week I officially finished the first complete draft of Crowning Courtship, the 4th and final book in the Hands of Destin series. It is a wonderful feeling though in many ways the work has just begun. Still completing the first draft is an important milestone!
These achievements can be few and far between in creative endeavors, where the work can always be improved and the final product takes a long time to produce. I know I’ll work on this story many more times before it is ready for readers. And in some ways I look forward to heightening emotion, tightening the plot and polishing the prose until it shines.
So rather than the pinnacle in the production of a book, this finished draft is more like the first waypoint on the journey to the top. I’ve come a long way with this story, with these characters, and I want to catch my breath for a moment and enjoy the view.
To celebrate this momentous milestone–the midpoint as it were–I’m going to share three things I love about this story…
First I love the setting. The Hands of Destin series are set in and around the fantastical market town of Trimble. Since this is book 4, I have already described the layout and organization of this riverfront city and its nearest neighbor across the water in earlier books. For this story, the characters go a little farther afield, and visit the coastal capitol of a nearby kingdom. It was fun and exciting to write about the cavernous palace of the Verisian court. I hope readers enjoy traveling there with my characters.
Which leads naturally into the second thing I love about this story–the main characters. Too charming, too handsome Terin has been a fun supporting character to write, and it is a real treat to bring him into the spotlight. I discovered lots of layers under his smooth exterior and hope I did justice to this surprisingly complex character. Aurelia also surprised me with her heartbreaking backstory and torn feelings about Terin and romance in general. Her growth over the course of the story was truly satisfying.
Finally it was a joy to write about all the other character in the series, and show how their lives have grown and changed. This is the last book in the series, and I don’t really have any plans to return to this world or its inhabitants. So I wanted to take the time to say a proper goodbye to all the pack of misfits that forms the heart of this series. There is something ponet about revisiting a character after you have fully explored them in previous book. I’m hoping fans of the series are happy to see Quintin and Madi and the rest of the gang represented once again.
All in all I’m very satisfied with the way this capstone is shaping up, though I know I’ve got a lot of work to do before this book is ready for readers.
What do you look for in the last book in series? Are there any endings you struggle with as a reader or writer?
Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.
When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.
Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The award winning first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018.
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