Jaye Milius's latest update for Terminus

Jan 27, 2018

We’re in the thick of it now. Deep in the wilds of creation, armed with a massive outline and prework on theme and characters, hacking away at the undergrowth to uncover the origins of the Terminus. Admittedly, I still get a little nauseous thinking about scrapping the original manuscript. “Killing your darlings” has to be the hardest lesson a writer can learn. But my editor was 100% correct in realizing that I had started the story at the end. We jumped into the destruction of the technology before allowing its full potential to be realized. Now it’s my job to get the whole talking-to-the-dead thing up and running, exploring its effects on the original creators before it was unleashed upon the world.

As far as progress, I’m comfortable with about half of the new draft at this point. It’s occurred to me that the original manuscript was written over the course of four years. When it’s divided up over that amount of time – mostly limited to evenings and weekends – you can almost forget just how much work writing a book can be. Now that I’m focused on it 24/7 – aiming for a chapter a day, making a continuous and proper study of the quantum mechanical foundations, and mining my own emotional trauma and relationship with death – well, I’m feeling it. It’s definitely a challenge that I can rise to, but that doesn’t stop me from reciting the names of my backers in a guilty mantra. You threw your support behind me, earned me the resources and professional help to do this right, but no matter how much I do a day on the new draft, it never feels like I’m going fast enough.

I guess I just want you all to know that I’m on it. I’ve got my feet under me, have finally put the corporate career on the back burner, and am making real progress. Daddy issues? Existential dread? I assure you, I can type through the tears. Just a little more patience, y’all. I promise, by the time this book hits your hands, it will be better than the original ever could have been.

I’ve been posting excerpts on Facebook and Twitter, if you’d like to follow along. I’d love to share more full chapters, though I’ve been stymied by the fact that there are currently three different versions of Chapter 1 (the protagonist’s squirrely status quo). I suppose we could skip ahead while still avoiding spoilers. My favorite bits so far have involved assembling the team of damaged scientists and letting them shout into the void. Like, so…

“I’m not sure of anything anymore. Definitely not entangled particles, or whatever the hell they were talking about. You tell me Charlie’s dead. I could have dealt with that. Eventually. Maybe. But now you people are telling me he might not be dead, or that he’s energy, like some kind of sentient lava lamp.” [Charlotte]

“What I meant was, your father lived. He set up camp on the edge of reason, sure, but he was intelligent enough to make it work. If this… if what we’re seeing is real…” She trailed off, her hands clenching into fists. “Maybe it was worth it. Maybe the bastard actually did it.” [Veronica]

“Inconclusive.” He shrugged, but his lips were set in a hard line. “The thing about dead people is, they’re dead. Nobody gets to come back from that.” [Augustus]

He chuckled. “Spiritual counselor to a dead man. Not that your father ever much listened in life. Oh, he indulged me, loved nothing more than to debate the untapped potential of the physical in philosophical terms.” His smile was fond, but he shook his head. “If the aim of a priest is to shepherd his flock into Heaven, I’ve failed quite spectacularly.” [Elias]

Anyway, this has been my break for the day. Time to fuel up and get back to it. Please know that I’m thinking of you, whipping myself along at maximum efficiency to get this bigger, better version of Terminus into your hands. I’ll keep you posted on official dates and whatnot, but for now it’s onward to the ending!

Yours (in the raw),


"Back to the desk with you, human."