Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
DONE. (Again. <phew>)

It is done.

Yes, after six months of intensive story-design work – really, after six years, 14 books, and 1.5 million words building up to this – I sat down and wrote nearly ⅓ of a million words, in about 100 days. (Because I am a moron, and a masochist. But I guess we knew that.) The climax and conclusion of the entire ARISEN epic.

[Cliff's Notes in case you don't want to read an epic about the writing of the epic: it was hard, I'm done, and launch date coming very soon. ]

I honestly wasn’t sure I’d get here.

To try to create the focus it became clear I needed (having anything in the diary started to feel unbearably stressful), I basically put myself in isolation for the last couple of months – doing virtually nothing but eat, sleep, run, and write, seven days a week. (And I stopped running by the end – out of energy for it!) The price you pay for this, I found, is that isolation is where all the doubts really smack you in the face and the demons come out to cavort. So, in addition to doing what was by a comfortable margin the hardest work of my life (didn’t think the material could get more challenging than Books Eleven & Twelve – shows what I know!), I found I was having to fight sort of a parallel spiritual battle alongside it. But I guess that’s nothing new, either. As we know, “the Writer’s Journey is the Hero’s Journey” – it has to be. If the writer doesn’t fight through Hell to the Life that lies beyond, then the Hero’s attempt to do so will ring false – and the reader won’t be transported there either. We’re all on the same journey. (I think they call it Life.)

[Let me just pause briefly here to stress: I KNOW I DON’T HAVE ANY KIND OF HARD, NEVER MIND IMPORTANT, JOB - like, say, any military personnel whatsoever, or law enforcement or emergency services, or nurses. You guys - and I’m lucky enough that very many ARISEN readers are these guys - are the actual heroes, with 100x the justification in complaining about the toll your work takes on you.]

Still, there were many, many moments when I stared at all the hundreds of scenes I (still!) had left to execute, and doubted terribly that I would be able to pull this off. I honestly didn’t believe my strength, my talent, my resolve, were equal to the task. A moment came at the end when, months past exhaustion, I suddenly realized the ending didn’t work – the whole ending of the entire series. And if the ending doesn’t work… the story doesn’t work. So I had to crawl back to the story-design drawing board and rearchitect the whole climax from scratch. That was a true Dark Night of the Soul™, let me tell you. But, as always, I didn’t have to feel like it – I just had to do it. And, somehow, I did.

“And they doubted themselves. And they all wanted to quit. Every hero, every heroine, wants to quit, wants to give it up, and say ‘I've had enough, I'm not equal to the task.’ Right, but nonetheless, they found strength somewhere, and they achieved a result which elevated them to the status of a God… or killed them.”
- David Mamet

And now I’ve gotten to the end. Plus survived.

And, just between you and me, I do believe I pulled it off: that I nailed it, wrote something that lives up to and exceeds everything that came before, that wraps up everything in the series – every character journey, every story thread – exactly as it should be, and that blows the doors off in the process. (Of course the readers will be the final judge of that, as they should be.) Normally I hate any just completed book, so liking this one is either a really good sign – or else a really bad one. Then again, I actually rather did like Book Twelve when I got done with it – and I think, and think most of you agree, that’s the best one in the series (so far). So maybe all that’s happening is I’m finally, fumblingly starting to meet my own standards for myself and the work.

“Bottom line: this struggle is as it should be. Our Muse has put us here, in this place, fighting this fight, for reasons that we are blind to at the moment but that are essential to our hero’s journey, not just in the story but in our lives.”
- Steven Pressfield

It’s funny, but I’ve asked myself what keeps me going, and I’m pretty sure it’s two things. One, my obligation to the characters – I can’t let those guys down! And, two, more predictably… my obligation to you guys, the readers. As I’ve said many times, you’re the best and loveliest and most switched-on and supportive group of fans any author could remotely hope for. And I definitely can’t let you guys down.

And, hey, I beat George R. R. Martin. Heck, Glynn and I banged out the entire series in just the time he’s been working on his next one! And ARISEN is longer than ASOIAF. You’re welcome.

Much remains – editing, conversion, more editing, copyediting, proofreading, publishing, paperbacks, audiobook production, &c… but look for a launch date announcement very soon.

And get ready for a serious ride – all the way to the end of the line.

With lots of love,
Michael

P.S. Absurdly lovely and humbling reader response here and here.

  arisen     writing     the writer's journey  
about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs

ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Seven - Death of Empires, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eight - Empire of the Dead by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : NEMESIS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Nine - Cataclysm by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Ten - The Flood by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eleven - Deathmatch by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Twelve - Carnage by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Thirteen - The Siege by Michael Stephen Fuchs
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