Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Last Chapter

I am, at last, on the last chapter of Legacy, my young adult fantasy novel.

Aisley believes she is a plain Dales girl raised by Mae and Gladwyn on the Isle of Pennleah. She grew up in the town of Feldan at the south of the island where Gladwyn is a successful saddle maker and Mae has a reputation as a weaver of fine woolens. They live under the rule of the Vardienian conquerors that invaded Pennleah from the Continent. Jesper, Baronne de Marmion, serves as regent for Gautier, Duc de Perryn, who successfully quelled the Pennlish to claim the island for Vardiens.

With her thoughts focused on a gown for the upcoming Disciple Day festivities and her best friend's betrothal, Aisley's life is changed forever when two mountain clansmen arrive at Feldan. The elder clansman with the distinctive scar on his cheek has been searching for an infant thought to have died fifteen years earlier. When he claims that Aisley is the only surviving child of a renowned Clan Chieftain, her life veers in a direction that she never anticipated.

After 298 pages and 79,916 words I have, I hope, taken Aisley on an entertaining journey full of unexpected events. I have attempted to show her evolve from a simple Dales girl to the heir of the most powerful clan chieftain of the northern mountains.

Now comes the final chapter and resolution of the story. It's very tempting to rush through it just to be finished with the dang novel. Yet I want to draft a satisfying ending after I've come this far.

The situation is similar to Last-Jump-Syndrome. The rider grooms and braids the horse, dons show duds, warms up on the flat and over schooling fences, and learns the jump course of 8-12 fences. Horse and rider nervously enter the arena. The rider gives the fences one last review, mentally jumping them in order, before urging the horse into a canter. They make an entry circle to set their pace before cantering toward the first fence. The rider's mouth is cotton-ball dry. The horse leaps over the first obstacle, and they are "on course." Each fence or combination of fences makes the rider's heart rise to her/his throat. Each successful completion brings a mental cheer. Then, with only one fence left, the rider has a flash of "I did it!" And that's when everything goes wrong. That brief instant sends the message to the horse that it's finished.

So many lovely hunter courses have been ruined by a sloppy jump or refusal at the final fence. The course isn't done until the final circle when the rider transitions from canter to trot before exiting the arena.

Likewise...I have to keep my legs on, maintain rein contact, and ride past the final fence.

The last chapter.