How to finish my third novel?

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Elenitsa

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Well, my question is a bit nuanced, and I vacillated if to post it here - because the novel, third in a series of four, is Western, and maybe I get more answers here than if I posted it in Brainstorming. But if the moderators deem it unsuitable for here, please move it into the Brainstorming section.

This is the second edition, updated, of a series which first two volumes I published in 2017 (you can find them in my signature, second and third, between the Vikings and the Mexican -themed ones). Originally, it had three volumes; now, it will have four, without prolonging the action in time. It is only better split among volumes (that being my second book I had ever published, I had learned something meanwhile how to make it better) and with some chronology streamlining. It also wants each volume to be stand-alone (even if with better readers' experience if reading them all in order).

The chronology streamlining was needed because, when I published these two volumes in the signature, in 2017, my mentor advised me to take out two chapters and extend them into a third volume, but at that moment I was not sure I would really write that third volume (I did, published in 2019). So, there was a couple of final chapters which went farther in time, with value of epilogue, therefore when I wrote the 2019 third volume, the timeline overlapped with those final chapters (without repeating them).

OK, so... fast forward to the second edition and my problem. (Which is with the third volume in the series of four). The series' title can be translated as Lives in turmoil.

The first volume, titled Bloodied lands, is not Western. My main character, Roxana, goes through the first part of the Napoleonic campaigns in Italy as a Genovese fighter for liberty, equality, fraternity, democratic republic, allied with the French - then, in 1802, after Napoleon becomes First Consul and re-shares the Italian republics like pizza slices, she realizes that it is going towards dictature, and her ideals stay in place only in the USA. So, the novel ends with her emigration to the US, accompanied by Luigi, a man who appears as her fiance (but the actual vows between them are different for now, just for friendship and mutual support). They made some important friendships aboard the ship (tight quarters do this quicker). The novel also ends with a sort of epilogue showing the destiny of characters who remained in France and will never appear in the subsequent volumes.

The second volume, titled The New World, starts being Western. Roxana and Luigi, together with some of their friends aboard the ship who have relatives in Boston, spend the winter there. In the springtime, they join a convoy of newly arrived Venetians (Luigi and most of the friends they made are Venetian) which also joined a merchants' small convoy bound for St Louis, then in Spanish Louisiana. The convoy settles on the Mississippi (where it was the frontier then, across the Mississippi, on Saint Louis, it was French Louisiana). The village they created, Venice IL, really exists in greater St. Louis.

The convoy’s scouts, a pair of twins half French, half Choctaw, who befriended Luigi and Roxana during the voyage, take them across the river, to get some mustangs for the villagers. The main characters and a few others get captured by the Shawnees, (yes, I have seen maps of that time and there were a few Cherokees and Shawnees South from Saint Louis, in certain places, those who had already been displaced by other tribes from their initial lands), they succeed to run away together with a Cherokee fellow prisoner and spend a while with the Cherokees, who will remain their friends all their lives... Bison hunt, mustang taming are featured too.

Towards the end, Roxana discovers she actually loves Luigi and they decide to get married upon returning to their village. Also, one of the two scouts falls in love with a Cherokee maiden and the novel ends when they are returning to Venice and the scout promises he would marry the Cherokee maiden in the autumn.

The third volume, titled Venice on the Mississippi, shows the development of the new village, in parallel with the evolution of new families among the villagers. There are some adventures when Roxana and Luigi get married (there are three weddings carried out at the same time, not only theirs… and one of them is without the consent of the bride’s parents, so they have to hide afterwards at their Cherokee friends, and return in a few months to make peace with the bride’s parents, who had wanted a richer son-in-law, not the second of the twin scouts). The other scout marries his Cherokee beloved, as promised, then they return to make their life in Venice. The weddings had been celebrated already, but upon return there will be a party with the villagers, too. As the scouts’ relatives from St. Louis and Cahokia get invited, the next year there will be more intermarriages between French/ Metis and Venetians, and in the following years, the next generation starts appearing...

The church and the school are being built, with Roxana becoming the rural school teacher. The next spring they witness Louisiana purchase, then a Summer Meeting of the Trappers in St Louis and they succeed to make an enemy they wouldn’t have needed – Auguste Chouteau in person (who was drunk and wanted to take a Sauk young woman against her will, and Luigi defended her, without knowing against whom). It took a little while until the Town Lords, the Chouteaux brothers, realised who was the daring man, then the hazing against the villagers started. They had enough money to pay all kind of men to do their dirty jobs, from stable boys who made suddenly horses from Luigi’s stables limp after being bought at public auctions, to fire in the prairie and to night ghost riders (who finish caught in nets and not so ghostly anymore).

This is my problem, how to end this particular novel. I know it just needs one or two more chapters in order to have an ending… but what?

The fourth volume, titled Other turmoils of life, starts with the Great Earthquakes of New Madrid (winter of 1811-1812) and their impact on Venice and the neighbouring St. Louis (some of their friends are in St. Louis, so both settlements are shown developing in time). It goes on with the family saga (and the sometimes tragical results of having the city lords - the Chouteaux - as their enemies, until they are blackmailed into leaving them in peace) through the history of that side of the US... and, from 1829 on, also of Italy, because the male new generation of Illinois Venetians go back to join the Carbonari, continuing their parents' fight for the same ideals - liberty, equality, fraternity, democratic republic.

Roxana and Luigi’s son ties his destiny with Giuseppe Mazzini’s, following him into exile, his cousins and friends remain there to fight or work for the cause… The family saga ends in 1849, when those who survived losing the 1848 revolution return home, with their wives and children.
 

Elenitsa

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...Well, I got inspiration in a discussion in the NaNoWriMo forum, as here nobody said anything.:cry: And yes, I will end it by moving at the end of the volume one of the temporary stalemates with the Town Lords (because there have been some). So it solves temporarily the main conflict.... Happy for now!