Closure is a supernatural tale about a young man, Whicker Campbell, trying to bring resolution for his mother, who’s slowly fading away in her grief over the deaths of her husband and, more recently, her daughter/Whicker’s seventeen-year-old sister. Whicker is a necroti, someone with the overnormal ability to push the lingering essences of humans and animals who’ve died on their way so they no longer trouble the living. His mother, a spell-casting enchanti, has given up on life, but her abilities won’t just let her wither away, so she begins sipping life essence from her son. Over the course of a year, Whicker realizes he has to force his mother to stop somehow, or she’ll end up killing them both. He comes up with a wild plan, and to succeed, he needs a substitute for his dead sister, so he sets into motion the theft of recently deceased nine-year-old’s body from a funeral home…
This tale began as a moment of inspiration during my usual fifteen-minute drive to work one Thursday night late in the summer of 2012. As with a lot of my other shorter works, this one came to me in one fell swoop, pretty much from start to finish. I spent some time over the next four days writing it out, adding here, taking away there. The end result was a 17k word novelette. I thought it came out pretty well, and the few people who read it agreed.
Well, I sent this off to my awesome editor, Erin Wilcox. She pointed out the huge flaw in what I’d written: Whicker faced no real obstacles bringing his plan to resolution. Sure, he had to deal with a lot of problems over the course of the week when he let his plan play out. But he had a goal at the start of the story, and pretty much implemented it without impediment. So his success almost came too easy, despite other events happening during the week that taxed his abilities. I also sent this to Terry Wright, the publisher who gave the green light to Nit. And he simply did not like it. Essential elements of the story just didn’t add up. So a complete re-working of the story was in order.
After finishing Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III in September, 2013, I dusted off the original Closure and put it through an entirely new re-write. I included a new set of characters, made one character already in the story a lot more prominent, and added considerable depth to the world I’d created. The main new character, Suzin Rollings, I made an investigator for the state’s Department of Overnormal Affairs. A telepati on the last dregs of her ability, she’s at the end of her career and facing closure of her own. Her investigation into the theft of the little girl Whicker Campbell, the main character, is trying to use to bring his mother out of her downward spiral, allowed me to introduce elements of the world into the story in a way I could not before as Closure was originally written, though I did want to. I beefed up the presence of Justill Oversaught, a necroti forced into retirement after an on-the-job injury. He planned to help Whicker Campbell pull his mother out of her funk, but Suzin’s investigation into their little plot scared him off. And as Suzin makes fast headway into her investigation, she closes in on Whicker, who’s actions in stealing the dead girl and keeping her alive while he waits for the one-year anniversary of his sister’s death, are deeply criminal. A small cast of secondary characters rounds out the revision.
In the end, this latest draft hit 48K words and more than doubled in length. I sent it back to Terry Wright of TWB Press, and after looking it over for a few weeks, he said while the story still has a few flaws, it’s much more likeable! We’ve agreed to put it through another rewrite, then move on with publication. In his words, The complications Whicker is presented with on his journey to rescue his mother from her grief and save his own life (from her sipping) are excellently presented and raised the tension in the story exponentially. Yay!
The process is just beginning. Still a long way to go before publication. I planned to spend 2014 writing shorter works and trying to find them all good homes. I don’t think Closure will be available for sale before Christmas, but am confident it will be come January, 2014. And that will be a wonderful way to begin the new year.
I will make updates to this page as things progress and cover art becomes available.
UPDATE: Closure is now published and available for purchase! Yay!