Notes on the Future: Cleansed By Fire Update

future-dunesSo, it’s getting interesting again for me, and a little sad. As I noted in the comments section for the most recent installment of the Cleansed By Fire novel, I’m in a sort of awkward transitional stage in the story as I continue to set some things up in what is a very constrained manner unfortunately for the next couple chapters, before I can truly begin to (as I think will happen) cut loose.

But all the same, as I struggle with this transitional period, I still have a lot of things pummeling my brain in terms of plot developments, plot twists and critical scenes that are to come, and my notes are getting increasingly messy as I try to make sure I don’t forget anything important. Also, some things that I had not fully figured out how to reconcile are becoming more clear in my head. Furthermore, some scenes and plot lines have already started to emerge in my mind in terms of the next novel (there will almost certainly have to be at least one sequel; I don’t think everything I want to address can be crammed into a single novel).

So, why did I say I’m sad a bit earlier? Well, the fact is that I’ve known for a long time that realistically, I will have to lose at least one, and probably more than one, character that I have grown fond of over the course of the story (or will grow fond of, since there will be more characters to come in time). I doubt that will surprise anyone. It would be quite hackneyed for all my primary and secondary characters to survive, no matter how close I’ve grown to them and how much I enjoy writing them. And I think it will also come as no surprise that it won’t just be the “bad” people who potentially end up pushing up daisies. That, also, would be trite and a little too Hollywood-happy-ending for my tastes.

I’m sad because I now know one of the characters that must die. It was a sort of writer’s epiphany I had this weekend. And I will miss this character when that time comes, even though it may not be anytime too soon. In fact, there may be other important deaths before this particular character bites the dust, but this is the one that I know will die. The thing is, most of these characters mean something to me, but being able to see the death of one of them coming…well, that feels odd in a way I can’t quite define. Maybe it wouldn’t be so odd-feeling if I had this novel scrupulously outlined, but I don’t; it’s got a basic framework and endpoints but all the substance around that is growing organically as I go along. So this was a surprise to me to recognize and “foresee” a character’s death.

I know who will die, I know how, I know why, I know who will be reponsible, and it is surprisingly hard on me. Not like a real-life death or illness would be, but still, it hurts more than I figured it would to see the Grim Reaper hanging out around an imaginary person I created.

Anyway, that’s all there is to that part of things. I also made some more additions to the portal page/backstory stuff. This time I’ve added a page about other nations and regions of Earth (and Mars and in space) aside from the Catholic Union, and a page with some general notes about living in the year 4001.

And, as a final note, Big Man is pretty good about this, but I encourage anyone reading this novel to comment on each installment if you have any thoughts. I’m not looking for ego stroking, though that is certainly welcome as well. But what I want to know is if any of you ever have any second-thoughts, complaints or questions about where I’m going or what I’ve done. Sometimes, I do make mistakes and stupid decisions, and the earlier I’m alerted to them the sooner I can correct things in the novel without facing a domino effect of bad decisions. Even a single sentence saying, “I don’t get why…” or “That didn’t seem likely…” can be a great help.


Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley


Jeff Bouley

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