AKA Bloodlands 2: Even Bloodier
…Okay, I promise that’s not what I’m actually calling it.
I also promised (myself) that I’d blog more, so you’ll get to read my ramblings on the story/process as it unfolds.
So yes, Bloodlands Deux is a sequel that picks up two years after the first installment and, naturally, draws some characters back together while tearing others apart. Figuratively. Maybe literally too. It’s too early to tell, honestly. I’m still in the process of plotting things out, and knowing me, said plot will likely change as I actually write it, but thus far, I can say that much of this story is fed by ideas that went unexplored in Bloodlands. In fact…
Expand for Bloodlands Spoilers if for Some Crazy Reason You Haven’t Read It Yet
Bloodlands underwent several rounds of rewrites/cuts which, in some cases, removed entire scenes. For example, in the original draft, when Shadow returns to his prison-cave with Alexander to face off with Mary, they find the Mother (the originator of their kind) in a years-long slumber. She mutters some bitter, genocidal gibberish about her failed children before they decide that she’s creeping them right the fuck out and leave. The scene was originally intended as a seed for a sequel, but I decided I wanted Bloodlands to stand alone, and the scene served no other purpose and felt out of place besides.
Another scene removed from a late draft tried to explain/explore what it meant to be born Other versus having once been human like Shadow was. Do they start as blood-sucking infants? Do they smoke-monster their way out of the Mother’s nethers all Game of Thrones style only to manifest into adult-sized bodies? When and how do they stop aging? I came up with answers, but ultimately realized that the question wasn’t at all important to the overall plot, so I removed it.
Both of these scenes, however, provide ideas/material for the next book.
(Also cut from the semi-final draft? Alexander summarizing how and why he ended up changing
Shadow Matthias in the first place.)
Even after deciding that Bloodlands needed to be a stand-alone story, I couldn’t help but think about the characters’ futures and imagine the potentials. By the time I finished my mad-dash to publish, however, I was exhausted and wanted to move on to a new world/set of characters. That lasted a couple of months (and roughly 50,000 words) before Senora punched me in the brain and I learned that you can, in fact, be bullied by a fictional character.
Bullying aside, the follow-up feels to me like both a natural extension and a necessary one to truly finish out these characters’ stories. My guiding question for Bloodlands was always “what is the true cost of revenge?” but the revenge ended up coming so late in the story that I don’t feel like I fully answered the question. Of course, I feel like I also left the characters with more questions about themselves than answers and more internal unhappiness looming ahead of them.
The drafting has been slow as I’ve been experimenting with my process and attempting to do more up-front planning and less back-end rewriting, which I’ll ramble about another time.
For now, just know that Bloodlands 2: Bloody Boogaloo is a thing, or at least on its way to becoming a thing, and one day, you just may get to rub it all in your eyeholes.