Posted Wed, 03/16/11
Finally, a big sigh of relief...
The Collective Obsessions Saga is finally complete. I can't believe I'm saying the words. I sent the manuscript for Megan's Legacy, which is the eighth and final part of the saga, to my publisher this afternoon.
The final draft of book eight came in at 290 pages with a word count of 114,011. The last few days were exhilarating for me, being fully aware the end of the line was near. Considering I began writing the storyline a few decades ago, I'm stunned rather speechless that it's finished, once and for all.
Even better, I'm very happy with the way the story ended. A few months ago I envisioned agonizing over the finale, but it didn't happen that way. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and that's where I took the story and its characters.
I'm one of those people that like to keep lists. Not just of word counts and page numbers, but of everything in my life. It might be the Virgo in me, if there is such a thing, yet to work unorganized in not an option for me. I can't function surrounded by mess, including paper piles or stacks of books.
I started the Collective Obsessions Saga with a spreadsheet and so it ended with a spreadsheet. How else to track multiple characters over a 140-year time span? The spreadsheet began with a few pages, but by the time I finished a few days ago, it contained more than forty pages. It was full of character names, images, descriptions, where they appeared in the saga, and all other little quirks that somehow made their way into the books. In separate documents, I also detailed fictional and non-fictional locations and structures to keep them consistent when needed in a particular scene.
Over the years, I tracked all of my resources as well. These included print books, professional consultants (especially medical and legal), computer software and internet founts of information. Recently, the site Wikipedia proved invaluable in my research while finishing the saga. Blending true facts with fiction is a habit of mine, adding miscellaneous tidbits here and there which may seem casual but are actually carefully crafted.
Without Fam-Tree, I wouldn't have been able to create the family tree of characters. The software, along with the text spreadsheet, also helped me organize and keep consistent technical relationships between fictional characters through generations, along with images, historical notations, birthdates, marriage/divorce dates, and death dates. The handiest tool in the software was the "find relationship with" feature, which allowed me to click on one name in the family tree and find his/her relationship with any other name on the list in an instant.
It's been a very long haul indeed, but well worth it. I've probably said it many times before, but writing and finishing the Collective Obsessions Saga has been deeply satisfying in all ways that truly matter to me.