Two questions means I really should answer. ;) Sorry for leaving things up in the air, my poppet petals! Thank you very much for asking, and for minding about the answer!
There is going to be more of Turn of the Story, yes. I’ve made up my mind about that or I wouldn’t have been answering questions about it, because that would just be mean. ;)
You are not quite caught up. The plan is for there to be two more parts. (You may take this with a pinch of salt, because you may recall that all of Turn of the Story was meant to be one part. So far there are eight parts, with two planned to follow, so if you’ll follow me on this mathematical odyssey—there are going to be at least ten parts. This means the story is ten times longer than I planned. The gods laugh at such as me.)
I was thinking they’d come out in July and August. I haven’t started the next part yet because I’m writing books and taking a break to (with luck) get back that loving feeling, but I have it all planned out, and I hope you guys will think it is fun! There are going to be romantic shenanigans and long term life decisions and drama club and at long last, mermaids, which is all in keeping with the story in which I try to put a lot of weight on both the ‘magic’ and the ‘school’ aspects of magic school tales.
I always did have it all planned out, because I wrote the end long before I thought I’d write anything else. (I had the idea as a book that would encapsulate it all at first, and then when that didn’t work out… well, this worked out instead.) Plus, I’m a planner. I always know the endings, even though it’s unusual for me to write the end first!
That does mean I can’t change the big things despite seeing reader feedback in the serial format of Turn of the Story. But that’s good in some ways, and the serial format does mean that I do notice people’s reactions, and try to answer the questions they have in the story as we go, and to give them a little bit of what they want (like, more of a favourite minor character) because hey, they have great ideas and they deserve it!
In September, the follow-up story WINGS IN THE MORNING comes out in an anthology called MONSTROUS AFFECTIONS edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, featuring stories by Patrick Ness(!) and Nalo Hopkinson(!). The story stands alone of course, and was written before Turn of the Story, and it tells a tale of 17 year old Luke, Serene and Elliot’s last year at the Border camp from Luke’s point of view.
There’s probably some uncertainty about it because there was some uncertainty in my heart: for a few weeks there I wasn’t sure I was going to go on with it.
I will be perfectly honest here: when I put up the latest part, I had to deal with some soul-crushing stuff in the comments… implicit insults to my books, comparisons to other people’s stories/characters in which mine lost by comparison. (Which is fine generally, I do not expect my characters to be everyone’s No. 1 Favourite Characters like they are mine, but as a rule saying ‘I love Aragorn WAY more than Aslan,’ maybe not the most fun thing for C.S. Lewis to hear.) And I thought to myself, since I have had a lifetime’s supply already of the internet making me feel like boiled garbage, ‘Why am I doing this?’
Recently I talked to a writer friend and she was like, you were really happy when you were writing Turn of the Story up till that last part, and it’s funny because it would’ve made me miserable. And I could see her point and why it would’ve made her miserable: Turn of the Story is a free book-length story which is up on my blog, so it can’t possibly do me any good finances-wise, career-wise or in the reaching-tons-of-people-to-change-them! larger life-purpose sense.
When a book comes out, there is usually a soaring hope (like a bluebird in the sky, usually about to be shot down with the rifle of reality!)—maybe this will be the book that changes everything for me, maybe this will be the book hundreds of thousands of readers read and love and are inspired by—and there obviously wasn’t that hope, with a story on my blog.
But there wasn’t any prospect of disappointment, either. I wanted to write it, and I wanted to love what I was writing (these are the two most important things with any story I write), and I knew the only hope that could exist was that a few people reading my blog would read it and like it too. And having a chance to enjoy myself without hope but without fear was great. I started the story when I was having a tough time and I couldn’t cope with extra stress, and it was lovely to remind myself that I do just love to write. It got me through that tough time!
When the enjoyment was squashed, though, I did think: ‘Man, I didn’t write this to give people another chance to make me feel crappy, I don’t have to do this, all I wanted was to enjoy it and have other people enjoy it, I haven’t signed a contract, I can just stop.’
Now, I do not subscribe to the school of thought that goes ‘You don’t HAVE to feel bad when people are horrible to you’ because that puts a lot on people, just because they don’t have titanium emotion armour. When people are horrible to you, it’s natural to feel bad! But eventually, you feel something else, and you decide what to do next.
I sat and thought about what I really wanted to do, and decided I wanted to continue, for many reasons among which:
1) The Turn of the Story is my first novel-length story of my very own with an LGBTQ protagonist (well, B, to B more specific) and that’s important to me.
2) In New Orleans I talked to two other writer friends who said they really liked Turn of the Story, and I really like them. My brilliant beautiful ladies! I’d write a book for just one reader, if it was the right reader. Which leads me directly to…
3) I didn’t sign a contract, but I do feel I have a contract in my HEART with those readers who have been lovely to me: who have left nice comments saying nice things, thought indepth and shared their lovely thoughts with me, drawn beautiful fanart. I remain amazed that people paid money for the fantastic Mark Oshiro to read and react to my work—Unspoken, the Demon’s Lexicon, Untold and Turn of the Story. It’s this beautiful gift I can’t repay, and this amazing sign of affection for the work and wish to share it in company. It means a lot to me, and I don’t want to let my darling best readers down.
By the way, here is Mark’s latest video for me, Part 7 of The Turn of the Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ukrfouw1KI
4) C’mon, Sarah, two parts left (maybe I hope), what are you, chicken? Do you want a nasty gap that’ll bother you in between Turn of the Story and Wings in the Morning? Come on, girl. I bet you can still make it fun. People who don’t finish things like stories and family-size chocolate bars are wusses, anyway.
5) At the end of the day, I do really love Turn of the Story and the characters in it, the same way I do the characters in my books.
The internet has spoiled plenty of things I used to like for me, but my very own books and my very own short stories and now my very own weird serial… not them. The internet can’t have them. I love them, and to love means that you can give away, but nobody can take from you.
Thank you both for asking. I hope you enjoy the last parts when they come!