Sunday, March 1, 2015

Actually End That Sucker

In preparing my responses for March on Author's Answer, we were given a question that I hadn't had much issue with lately: Have you ever wanted to rewrite the ending of another author's published book? I typed up my reply and sent it off thinking that I was quite glad of that particular fact. Then, given that the majority of the household has been unpacked to a functional degree, I decided that I deserved the long-awaited opportunity to attack a book from my towering TBR pile.

I sat down and read a book. It was amazing.

Not the book so much as allowing myself to sit down and just read, to get lost in the words and not worry about all the other things I could (possibly, should) be doing. It was relaxing. It's been a long time since I've done 'relaxing'. Even better, I was able to focus on the book for more than a page at a time and for more than five minutes at a time. I read several chapters in one sitting. This was all wonderful and good. I wasn't up to my usual book devouring read-it-in-a-day-or-two speed, but I did find the time, desire, and focus to sit down with it over the next several days.

Then, yesterday, I hit the end of the story. Hit. Like with a train. Just bam. The words ended.

Now, I thought to preserve my tenuous hold on sanity by picking up one of my favorite paranormal romance authors for this first foray into the return to reading for fun. I trusted this book to get me from point A to point B in an enjoyable fashion. Perhaps my downfall was choosing a book that included two stories, giving me no physical page gauge as to how far into the first story I was before the next one began. Thus, when I hit a page that ended halfway down in white space and the next one didn't contain the words Chapter Fourteen, I was inclined to throw the book at the wall.

I didn't. I was at a science tournament with my daughter and surrounded by students and that would have set a bad example. Had we been at an English tournament, I would have stood up and loudly exclaimed why. But alas, it was not appropriate at the time.

What was the problem? Well, this was a romance story, as I mentioned earlier. Generally they have fairly simple plots and the goal is for the two people (or whatever they happen to technically be) to acknowledge that they are happily in love. This was from an established series I've read much of. I know the world, the types of characters and pretty much what to expect, as these sort of books tend to get a little formulaic after awhile. But they're easy to get lost in, and so I enjoy them from time to time.

In this particular story, boy met girl. Boy is off conquering bad guys and girl joins him. Yay for strong female characters. Girl's siblings are involved in the fighting. There is a lot of focus on girl's siblings, their special linage, and how it may lead to conflict with boy's people. Girl has a job that puts her in danger and boy will have to come to grips with this even though it's against his nature. There is also a lot of build up regarding a conflict with meeting girl's parent's, particularly her mother who we're told will not like the boy at all and there will be major family tension. There is also the matter of the bad guys, one of whom will be after girl's brother with all sorts of promised evil intent until either the bother or the baddie are dead.

Where did we end? Boy and girl kill two of three bad guys, leaving the big bad to slink off and threaten them and girl's brother in perpetuity. The whole subplot regarding the special linage is left hanging. What will happen with her job, we never find out. Boy never meets the parents. All we get out of whole story is the couple in love. All the rest of what made the story interesting beyond the falling in love was left hanging. I could forgive the big bad slinking off knowing that he'll probably turn up later in the series, but the rest? No.

Which brings me to my point. If you're going to start subplots, finish them. Nothing leaves me more disappointed at the end of a book than it ending as if the author got tired of writing that particular story and just shipped it off to print as is.

Would I rewrite the ending of a published novel? Nah, I have my own novels to work on and endings to conquer. Hopefully they are more satisfying than the one I just read.

With that off my chest, check out this week's Author's Answer in which we delve into our writerly influences.

1 comment:

  1. That is frustrating. I can bite my tongue over sub plots as long as the main plot has been resolved. What really bugs me, though, is when I get to the end of a book and it drops the main plot mid-air. Maybe it was described as book 1 of a series, but in a series I expect each book to be reasonably standalone. I don't appreciate feeling tricked into reading just the first part of one continuous story and having to proceed to the next book for any kind of resolution.


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