American expat in Hong Kong Shannon Young quit her day job a year ago to become a full-time writer. Here’s the latest entry in her expat writer’s diary.
Dear Displaced Diary,
Yesterday I finished writing the Seabound Chronicles. It’s hard to wrap my head around that sentence:
I first got the idea for this series, set on a post-apocalyptic cruise ship called the Catalina, three years ago. I wrote the first words on November 1st, 2012. The series has been my primary writing project ever since, influencing what I read, research, and think about on a daily basis. And now it is complete.
The total word count for the series is 322,000. That works out to 80,000 for Seabound, 73,000 for Seaswept, 73,000 for Burnt Sea, and a whopping 96,000 for Seafled.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours in this world…
The characters have become increasingly real to me as I’ve figured out how they think, what happens to them, how they react. I’ve lost count of how many dreams I’ve had set on cruise ships. They never take place on the actual Catalina or include characters from the books, but they are often incredibly vivid.
I’ve been walking around for the past day trying to figure out how I feel about this ending. To be honest, I feel hazy, almost hung-over. My reactions are a little slower, lights are a little too bright, and I’m not sure what to do with myself.
Part of this is likely because my week writing the final draft was very intense. I taught five days at two schools far out by the Chinese border. In order to meet my deadline, I stayed at Starbucks until closing several nights that week, and spent eight straight hours writing on both Wednesday (a public holiday) and Sunday.
Except when teaching, I was totally disengaged from the real world. I’m sure I still owe some people some emails.
Trying to get my head around how this feels…
I’m reminded of when I graduated from college. I honestly feel like the three years I spent writing this series was akin to getting a degree. I now have a Masters in Writing Seabound. And like many degrees (my double major in Classical Studies, for example), it’s something I’ll never use again. At least, not directly.
Soon, I’ll be able to look at the lessons I learned from this series and apply them to the next one, which is already in progress.
Soon, I’ll be able to step back and remember that the series isn’t really finished because I still have to format and upload the final book.
Soon, I’ll be able to appreciate that my readers are still deeply engaged in this world and there are more of them out there who haven’t discovered it yet.
Soon, I’ll be able to break this down into a nice takeaway message or two.
But today, I am just absorbing the feelings…
There’s some joy, some sadness, some melancholy, some triumph. Right now all I can do is feel and process. And maybe even write down those feelings. Isn’t that what diaries are for?
Thanks for listening.
AKA Jordan Rivet
The Seabound Chronicles is a post-apocalyptic adventure series set on a souped-up cruise ship. It features a prickly female mechanic named Esther. The first three books are out now under the pen name Jordan Rivet. The final book, Seafled, launches on November 30th.
Photo credit: Cruise ship via Pixabay.
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Wow, that’s quite a milestone, Shannon—congratulations! It makes sense to me that you feel both happy and relieved as well as numb and somewhat bereft. It’s been an intense three years! Readers who are also writers, can you relate to Shannon’s mixed emotions? Please share your own experiences in the comments. ~ML
STAY TUNED for next week’s fab posts!
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