About eighteen months ago I decided to write a horror novel. The only reason for this was because I’d never done it before. It’s called Kongomato and is to the right of this blog. The reason it has such an odd/boring name is because the monster is supposedly real and the names with which it’s known all over Africa vary greatly. The one I chose the only one which possessed even the slightest mystery.
I enjoyed it. Lots of blood and profanity which was a real departure from everything I’d thus far written. And when it finally came to the end in a very enjoyable (for me) splatter-fest, I was happy.
That was where the experiment ended. The monsters were dead, although I did leave a little snippet of a cliffhanger, but only because that was the norm in a lot of old B movies. Right, back to my one true love: SF.
The problem was – not that I’m complaining – that it sold moderately well and that’s when I began receiving requests for the sequel.
Except there couldn’t be a sequel because everyone was dead – probably, because I’d never even considered a sequel.
Regardless, I forged on and it wasn’t until I got half way through the second, using a minor character from the first as the main hero, when I realised that it couldn’t be done. First, it would be pointless, and second, it would cheat the reader.
So how could I resurrect the old character – who was dead?
Now it’s finished and I’m on the third edit but it’s driving me bonkers trying to undo what I did in the first book without cheating. And the reason I can’t stop now is because number three, an obvious extension of the second, is half done.
Thus the lesson for today, if only to me, as most other writers would actually stop and take this into account before they began is: don’t burn your bridges. Or in my case, destroy your monsters and actually kill off your hero.
I think I’ve managed it, though I suspect that my usual 10/12 edits are not going to be nearly enough this time.
And if nothing else, my prospective cover will have to go; it’s about as frightening as a slightly miffed hamster.