Welcome to fireside chats, second edition.
Did someone bring marshmallows? Everyone cozy?
In December 2014, I got an idea for a story. It started simple enough, Christian and Ana meet in college when Christian is still Elena’s submissive. The idea was that Christian wouldn’t have enough separation from Elena’s control that the consequences of the abuse he’d endured by her hand would be more blatant and would therefore HAVE to be dealt with (since E.L. James never really did). With that in mind I started plotting, and while the idea remained intact the story took on a life of its own and quickly bloomed into A LOT more.
It took a month for me to do the general outline of the entire story, and then another month working out the finer details/arcs. And on March 31st 2015, A Different Shade of Fifty was born.
I’m not one of those writers who can just write chapter to chapter, I’ve always been working from an overarching outline from start to finish, and then a more narrow, granular outline for each book. I always knew the trial would happen, I always knew about Elena’s club and Mia’s involvement, and I always knew it was Andrew Lincoln who would come for them in the end. The outlines I write from are so detailed, they include dialogue. But as I started to approach the end of a Stronger Shade of Fifty, that became less and less true. This is the actual end of the 84 page outline I created three years ago.
Long, angsty hospital scene where Christian is in surgery. He’s fine, it all works out. They move into the big house and live happily ever after.
Seriously. I went from basically creating a whole separate outline for Ana’s book, just so I would know exactly how and where it actually mirrors what happened between her and Christian, and writing turn by turn directions for how Luke and Kate take Ana to Cape Flattery for the wedding, to “He’s fine, it all works out.”
Now, I’m actually at the end of A Stronger Shade of Fifty and I’m left with… how?!
How does this all work out? How does Ana ever step into a room again without having to check all of the corners to feel safe? What happens to all the remaining pieces that Lincoln couldn’t just dispose of, like the police involvement? Where do Kate and Elliot go from here? What ever happened to Carter?
I fell into the classic trap. I closed the plot, but I didn’t create resolution for the characters.
I think I thought I’d be able to answer these questions in “future takes”, like a few scenes here or there would fill in the details and we’d all be satisfied.
But I’m not satisfied.
Not even close.
So, that being said, I’d like to announce…
Book 4: The Final Shade of Fifty.
I’m going to do the Stronger outtakes first, the same as I’ve done with every other story. For those of you who never followed me on fan fiction, my typical process is to write all of the outtakes at one time (offline) and then post them as I get a head start on the actual story. I’m probably going to take a break to decompress from the Stronger roller coaster and really solidify everything I’m going to do for TFSOF (which includes one major arch I had to cut from Stronger due to it’s already over complicated plot– excitement!), and will most likely begin writing the outtakes sometime after Christmas. Depending on how many outtakes I end up doing, I should start posting the first chapter of The Final Shade of Fifty probably sometime in February.
In the meantime, please stay subscribed as I will be posting other Fifty blog posts, like my review of Darker and initial impressions of Fifty Shades Freed, and will keep you all in the loop of where I’m at in the process of getting TFSOF up.
For those of you who were really excited about The Family, I’m sorry. I was excited too. But if I don’t finish what I’ve started now, it’ll leave a bitter taste in my mouth for the rest of eternity. I will not be writing that story. Instead, once Shades of Fifty is ACTUALLY complete, I will be starting an original work, which I will also post here. That’s right, an original. Thanks to the encouragement of everyone here, I think I’m finally brave enough to really take the plunge and create my own characters with their own problems and their own drama. It’s nerve racking and vulnerable, but I can’t wait.
See you all Monday! Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to my American followers. If you’re not in the U.S., you should still eat a lot of food today. I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of loophole in the space-time continuum that makes it so that calories don’t count on the 3rd Thursday of November. At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself as I throw down this second (or forth) slice of pie.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering. I’m still wishingmrgreywashere.
56 thoughts on “Announcement!”
Well, this is the best post-Thanksgiving news that I have ever gotten!!! I mean, seriously, when I read last chapter that the third book would be over in only one more chapter, there just seemed SO MUCH unresolved issues for SO MANY characters that I envisioned enough Future Takes to require a fourth book. AND NOW WE GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!! YIPPEE!!!!! (Really, rather excited here!)
At this point, there are DEFINITELY issues for the Grey family moving forward. As I see it, we still need to learn the following:
1) We need to see MIA finish growing up. We never found out if her boyfriend was on the take OR if he was legit. Or how serious that relationship was. Mia seemingly was alone-but-in-a-crowd and taking risks prior to her confessions. Like Christian in the original works, she seemed to be turning to unhealthy stimuli (like alcohol) to get her through her messed-up memories and trust issues. Elena used her, Gresham attempted to rape her then threatened her, AND she had befriended a loyal minion of Gresham that betrayed her. So the BETRAYAL angle on Mia’s life HAS to have weighed on her, ESPECIALLY when she thought that she had then betrayed Christian and Ana!
So Mia moving forward in a HEALTHY relationship will be a tough go. AND will she really want to go away across the country to school now? Does she still have the concentration and drive to be a dancer OR has her demons (alcohol, self-doubt) gotten the better of her?
2) Astor Harrington. — Okay, CHRISTIAN still felt the enmity with Astor enough that he sent him a WEDDING invitation. We have NO IDEA about the true past history of Elena and Astor AND why Elena wouldn’t have recommended Astor to Andrew Lincoln. AFTER ALL, wouldn’t Andrew have SEEN Astor sprawled out on the floor back in ADSOF or had Astor already exited?
Even IF Andrew didn’t know of Astor’s existence originally, you KNOW he would have looked into any payments Elena made to him. So Andrew would have KNOWN of Astor’s hatred of Christian, one way or another. So I find it hard to believe that Astor was NOT involved in the Conspiracy somehow. After all, Christian HAD A REASON, I believe, to have focused on Astor at the time of the wedding.
And Astor should have graduated Harvard Law by now. AND be ready to enter the business and legal community. You want to tell me that he WON’T come after Christian?
3) The 65 million. –Okay, WHAT did Andrew do with the money in the end? It is not like Christian can go through OFFICIAL channels regarding the money since it was SUPPOSED to be a “secret account” with hidden assets AND UNCONNECTED to GEH since it was to be for ANA in case Christian went to jail. You just wonder WHO will end up with that money. 10 million got wired to Gia, and who knows where HER money will go to now.
And THAT is the REAL big question— who all was Gia connected to? How did Andrew OR Gia find one another in the first place?
4) CARTER. — Okay, frankly, Carter came out of this seemingly braver than SO MANY others. And he did it ALL to protect two girls he cared about and had possibly loved previously. AND we all KNOW that Christian promised him SOMETHING. We just don’t know (yet) what.
In my mind, I see Christian giving Carter a job and a chance to prove himself in the business world. AFTER ALL, Christian should STILL have Ana’s old apartment in Escala (although Ana was probably only ever in that apartment for what, a week maybe?). So Christian could give Carter the chance to relocate AWAY from his father. (It seems like there is a REAL story behind Carter’s family which we don’t YET know. And THAT could prove VERY interesting.)
There may have been a REASON that Andrew Lincoln thought Carter would go his way—he may have had past business ties to Carter’s family. ANYTHING is possible here. We just know that Carter’s family (ESPECIALLY his Dad) had a lot of expectations regarding Carter. AND his father currently views Carter as a failure.
AND if Carter REALLY wants to go to Harvard Law, I’m sure Carrick would be willing to provide an internship for Carter while he TAKES A YEAR OFF to get real working experience. Which would THEN be enough to get into Harvard Law.
AND Carter’s YEAR out could be his time to reflect, get business OR legal experience, and solidify his relationship with the Grey family.
And CARTER being around Seattle will give Kate a true comparison of the two men in her life and whether or not she has made the right choice.
5) Elliot. —Okay, he may really not want kids. Seems unlikely, given his bond to Calliope, but he really may have been traumatized enough by seeing all Christian AND Mia went through to not want marriage and kids. So what DOES he want? And will it REALLY be enough for Kate?
AND I’m betting Elliot will REALLY struggle with everything, given how he let Gia in their lives. AND did Gia have ANY OTHER SURPRISES waiting for him? What was the deal with Elliot’s house and her moving out of it? Were the “dings” left around due to Andrew hiring idiots for the move OR was that a cover for OTHER listening devices, etc. that SOMEONE might figure out how to access? AFTER ALL, Kate AND Elliot were both the two people CLOSEST to Ana AND Christian. So anyone NOT UNCOVERED in the Conspiracy AND that Andrew had intended to dispose of LATER might still have ACCESS to Conspiracy FUNDS AND MONITORING devices.
6) Ana’s book. —How does it do? Will all the surrounding publicity help or hurt it? Will Ana write ANOTHER BOOK about the Conspiracy? Or will she try writing something NOT connected to her.
7) Carrick’s recovery. — Just because he beat cancer once doesn’t mean it is gone forever. So does he continue to recover?
8) RAY. –What will he do now? He has to have seen the jeopardy his daughter faces in being married to Christian, ESPECIALLY seeing firsthand how someone came close to ending Christian AND his empire AND his family. Ray is military AND CLEARLY good at his job. Will he WORK with Taylor or want to remain OUTSIDE the whole security thing? Might he seek employment for some of his ex-military buddies through Christian’s security? Could be a really interesting dynamic here.
9) Sawyer. — Ana is his best friend. And he clearly thinks the world of her AND Calliope. So will he want a family of his own at some point OR will he remain content in his position?
10) ANA and CHRISTIAN. —That was a SERIOUS attack on Escala that they have both now survived. But Ana already seemingly had some TOUCH related issues after the attack, and that may continue moving forward. As will the nightmares. For BOTH of them.
So I still anticipate Flynn being on speed dial. Or basically having to take on the WHOLE Grey clan full-time.
11) CALLIOPE. —There are going to be SERIOUS TRUST ISSUES for ALL involved in the Grey family moving forward. Even TAYLOR will be suffering, since he hired Kommer and didn’t see that one coming. So the DATING LIVES of security people will be an issue. So you just KNOW that DATING and FRIENDS for Calliope will be an issue. HOW will EVERYTHING that has happened effect Calliope moving forward?
12) Can Christian and Ana have more kids? Will they want more kids? And is it possible for Ana or would they need a surrogate, etc.?
13) Is Ana going to work in or with SIP moving forward, JUST concentrate on her writing or what?
14) The POLICE CORRUPTION thing. —Obviously, Andrew hadn’t had the chance to get rid of ALL traces and facets of the Conspiracy. AND if Christian goes after the corrupt people, then the chain of corruption could go WAY up and involve OTHER departments from the police. We just DON’T know yet what will be uncovered. AND how the police will react to the revelations.
15) AND if the corrupt officers are still out there, how many OTHER Conspiracy members, even low-level ones, escaped. AND might want to pick up where Andrew left off.
16) ELENA’s former employees AND clients. —Okay, any number of these people could be a REAL problem in the future. Mia will undoubtedly recognize OTHER faces if she comes to visit Christian at GEH or sees some of Seattle’s elite speak on television OR at charity events. So what should Christian DO about all this? After all, he has seemingly spent substantial funds trying to HELP these former girls from Elena’s club only to have AT LEAST one of those girls burn his family AND Mia especially. What to do about that potential nightmare still out there?
17) And with ALL the publicity that naturally will surround what happened to BOTH Lincoln’s, it is NOT unlikely that the press will start looking DEEPER into Elena’s former club AND TIES TO CHRISTIAN. And WITHOUT the threat of Elena or Andrew, will these former girls try to SELL THEIR STORY to the press? Make claims about Christian? TELL about his REAL former relationship to Christian?
So yeah, DEFINITELY more issues to resolve that necessitate another book. Plus, we finally get to see the whole Grey clan living and trying to put the past behind them. UNTIL that past again rears its ugly head.
So I DEFINITELY and infinitely prefer a FOURTH book to the mob story which, I have to admit, I was not tempted to read. I’d FAR rather see a FOURTH book followed by a totally NEW and original book by Tara. Tara has certainly proved she can write fascinating characters in a realistic way AND not just gloss over their issues. So I’m definitely good with the current plan!!!
(AND, by the by, also looking forward to teh reviews of DARKER and the last 50 Shades movie. And DARKER comes out TOMORROW!!! So LOTS to look forward to now!!!!!!!!)
(But seriously, can you imagine how much security/protection Calliope will be required to have now? AND I can’t even imagine Christian being comfortable enough to send Calliope to school. He’ll probably want her home-schooled. And what about another nannie? After what just happened, the guilt factor is going to be great. PLUS, we ALREADY saw how Christian DISAGREED with the nannie regarding Calliope. Christian, sadly, shows a lot of Carrick’s tendencies to think his way is the ONLY way. He wants to spoil Calliope and not let ANYTHING cloud her little world. Which can have disastrous consequences, as we have ALREADY seen in Christian’s OWN life. AND if Calliope is in anyway isolated, who will she turn to, especially if she wants to REBEL? We ALREADY know that Calliope is going to be stubborn. AND beautiful, obviously. And that could REALLY work against her, depending on the circumstances. So HER life moving forward will be really interesting.)
HAVE to say this last thing. I always found it interesting about WHEN Andrew attempted to recruit Carter. Andrew seemingly ASSUMED that Carter being dumped by Kate and Ana would make him want REVENGE against him, especially given Andrew’s obvious attitude about women. But SOMEONE seemingly suggested Carter. IN MY MIND, that “someone” was Astor Harrington, who knew Carter and was his “friend” in the past.
Astor was ALWAYS obsessed with Christian and obtaining his life. ASTOR was an obvious recruit, but he seemingly never turned up. Which begs the question as to WHY. Astor may have learned from his PAST with Christian and Ana. AND we don’t know HOW Astor’s AND Carter’s families may have been connected, if at all. CLEARLY, both had family members with BUSINESS ties.
But Astor was almost as obsessive as Andrew in wanting Christian’s life. AND seeing Christian take a hit from Andrew means it IS possible to harm THE Christian Grey. So you want to think that Astor will just let their past go?
AND Christian seemingly HAD A REASON for wanting to invite Astor to the wedding. Which just makes me wonder what OTHER contact Christian might have had from Astor over the years. I mean WHY would Christian think about him then? So if CHRISTIAN is not over it, then you KNOW that Astor is not.
So I admit that I can’t help but hope that Astor will make a return appearance. I mean, you could even SEE Astor CREATING a reason to contact Carter, especially if Carter is doing some kind of legal internship. There are all kinds of possibilities for how Astor can come back into the Grey families’ lives, especially if Carter DOES intend to go to Harvard Law and wants that legal career.
So I’m admittedly hoping that the arc that got “left out” might somehow involve the above.
(Oh yeah, and we haven’t heard from ROS in a while. I’ll be interested to see how GEH intertwines in the Grey lives again. I MISS that Ros/Ana/Kate friendship angle and just seeing Ros in general. There was ALREADY that friction of Ros as Christian’s “work wife” versus Ana and the family dynamic on Christian’s life. While Ros was good at what she did, GEH needed CHRISTIAN front and center to make certain things happen. So you DO wonder how GEH has faired through all of this! PLUS, GEH most definitely will need a PURGE of former low-ranking members that helped the Conspiracy.)