My present project is a novel ostensibly called Falling Sickness. It’s the fifth and final book of the crime series I’ve been working on continuously since the end of 2000, and hope to wash my hands of by the end of this year. And since it’s the one that will cap this long project, I want to go out with a bang—which is one reason, as I’ve mentioned before, that Falling Sickness will clock in at around 1000 pages.
When you’re working on something this long, it helps to pat yourself on the back now and then, and yesterday I did just that, having typed in some final edits on the first long section, “1986”, which runs 75,000 words, about 280 pages.
It all takes place in that year, over the space of a week, when Emil and various other militiapeople (one’s a woman) attempt to uncover why, during his retirement party, Brano Sev was shot by a sniper. By the end of 1986, they know why and have done all they can about it. So, in essence, it’s a self-contained novel, following its arcs to a kind of completion.
But the story won’t end there. It skips on to 1989, which I’m starting now, and deals with the revolution in my country that topples the communists, and then goes on to 1990, when an old Emil chases his enemy across the landscape of immediate post-communist Europe.
So there’s still plenty of work ahead, and I’m eager to get to it. Which brings me to my uncertainty.
See, I know—I know—that the last 60 or so pages of 1986 suck. The rest of it is good—I’ve run it through plenty of edits and it’s in fine shape—but those culminating pages where the conspiracy is uncovered and various denouements occur are just a mess. The order is crappy, the rhythm is all off (at times I’m just bored by it), the “conspiracy” is reiterated enough times to make a dog understand, and some of the events are just ludicrous.
But I’m so eager to get going on the next section that, for one, I’m not going to sit around and fix the problematic pages. I’m going to let those wait a few months until I’m well into 1989 and can review it all with clear eyes.