Razor Mountain Development Journal — Chapter 30

This is part of an ongoing series where I’m documenting the development of my serial novel, Razor Mountain.

You can find my spoiler-free journals for each chapter, my spoiler-heavy pre-production journals, and the book itself over at the Razor Mountain landing page.

It’s Not Easy Being King

It has only been two chapters since Christopher found out who he really is, and this is the first time he’s had a chance to sit with that information. There’s no conversation or reveals. He spends this chapter snooping through God-Speaker’s house and God-Speaker’s memories.

I wanted to evoke a feeling of melancholy. Most of God-Speaker’s memories and possessions are old and sad. Christopher is beginning to see that even though God-Speaker rules his own little kingdom, being God-Speaker might not be that great.

There’s also the question of what will happen to the part of him that’s still Christopher when God-Speaker takes over, and whether he’ll effectively die or cease to exist.

Planning Out the Rest of the Book

With only a few chapters left, I’ve been starting to look at what it will take to wrap this thing up. Part of that is tracking the unanswered questions and teases from earlier chapters that need to be fully resolved. Part of it is trying to set up the emotional payoff to make the end of the book feel like a proper conclusion, and not just an ending.

I’m pleased with how well my outline has held up across the entire book. As I’ve mentioned before, I went into more detail in this outline than I normally would. I wanted to give myself a safety net, since I knew I would be dropping episodes as I wrote them, and I wouldn’t be able to go back and fix mistakes without making a confusing mess for anyone who was reading each episode as it came out.

There were a few things that changed along the way. Some chapters split in two, and other chapters were cannibalized by their neighbors before they were ever written. Some bits of information ended up coming out in different places than I had planned (usually because it made sense to insert it into a particular dialogue or moment, and I hadn’t anticipated that in outlining). Despite all that, I’m still headed toward the conclusion I planned all along. Everything mostly fit into the shape I planned for it.

I still have a rough draft of the final chapter that I wrote immediately after the first chapter, just as an experiment. I think it was a success. It’s not perfect, and I’m sure I’ll rewrite it when I get to that point, but it was a useful guide for the mood of the book, and the final target that I was shooting for.

I might try writing the last chapter first for all my books going forward.


As I think about the end of Razor Mountain, I’ve also been thinking about my posting schedule. I’ve generally been posting a new chapter every other week, but I’d like to finish this thing by posting the last two or three chapters in quick succession.

To make that work, I’ll want to get all those chapters written in advance, which means I’ll probably have an extra one- or two-week break right before the big finale.

Next Time

Chapter 31 has everything you could ever want: exciting new reveals, arguments about city planning, and some light attempted murder.

Author: Samuel Johnston

Professional software developer, unprofessional writer, and generally interested in almost everything.

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