The random musings of Kate Grace
It’s hard not to engross yourself in the first reviews from readers coming in about the book that has lived like a second personality in your mind for years. Most are inspiring, encouraging and valid. Everything any reader says I take to heart as a writer and I apply as I write the rest of the series to make the characters as vivid to you, dear reader, as they are to me. These characters are like bolts of lightning in my mind and I only hope that my ability to write their story comes close to how they deserve to be represented. For this, I thank all of you for your reviews and comments because it challenges me to write better.
However… this has to be addressed. Burden of the Soul is the first book in a series four books deep. I get what readers are used to, because it’s part of why I withdrew Burden of the Soul from submission and went out on my own. Majority of the first books in series are stand alones. Then the author got a whopping advance from a publisher (to basically buy readers, not necessarily that more story existed) and in some cases the author finagled their way into a series within the first three chapters of book 2, and we all overlook that fact. We’re used to investing in Book 1, because that’s what publishers do. Publishers don’t invest in a series, generally, until book 2 brings with it a massive audience from book 1.
The Burden series never played that way in my head, and any time I tried to rewrite the ending to appease the industry the characters retreated, angry at me. I asked them and myself a number of times, “Why?” And the only answer I ever got was, “Because life doesn’t always offer you that.”
This story has always been a series from the beginning… from the first word written. I know exactly how it ends. It’s something that plays out in my mind and dreams like a haunting. Clara, our main character, doesn’t get to have everything wrapped up in book 1 because (and this is the best I can understand it) if Clara was a real person… it wouldn’t be. It rarely is.
There’s some reviews out there asking if I ran out of ink or if I ran out of steam… Absolutely not. I stopped where the characters told me to stop for now. Some things aren’t resolved because, honestly, they won’t be until book 4… the end. Because in life majority of the closure we get is endings. So it makes me wonder, and I just texted this to my editor because it’s an interesting question…
I wonder if life offered us clean closures for a penny if it would add up to $0.99 before we die.
One of my favorite writers in all of history is Kate Chopin, specifically for her short story The Story of an Hour. If you haven’t read it, you must. Unless you are someone who needs something resolved and clear at the end. I will not spoil this short story for you, but let me say the ending is the most brilliant I have ever read of any story ever. Because it’s open. Because there’s room for interpretation. Because it gives you room to talk.
I also ask for my coffee with room for milk, so that says something about me.
There are a number of works of creative art that have taken this route with endings of late. Two come to mind immediately… The Sopranos and Lost. Both upset a number of loyal viewers because the endings weren’t delivered with a shiny bow making it all make sense and thus ending conversation beyond “Well my favorite part was..” No, they inspired conversations for those willing to start with, “What I THINK happened…”
Think. Such an interesting term.
Where does the light come from? Is it good or bad? What do you think?
So who does she choose? Devin or Dave? Who do you think?
Is she really going to save everyone or is she really there to join Rex? What do you think?
When you venture into such an endeavor as writing a book, a song, a film, or performing a play, monologue or creating a painting, sculpture, mural, etc., you know there is no pleasing everyone. All you can do is stay true to the story that’s in your mind beating at the inside of your skull to get out. But I am surprised at the number of people who are saying “I loved it until the end, I hated the end. Therefore I hated all of it.”
What I think you’re saying is you hated that the pages ran out for book 1, because the story has not ended. Granted, readers are used to a certain formula in general for what they read. My characters and therefore I am doing something different. It’s not going to be for everyone, but what I hope some walk away with is some sense of comfort that someone else out there recognizes that closure doesn’t come necessarily when it’s all tied up nicely in a bow the way we want. It comes when it comes. So we accept, and we wait. Until that moment, no matter what it is, when our only healthy choice is to accept again.
For those willing to invest in these characters and their ongoing story, I swear to you it will be joyous and heartbreaking and complicated and exciting and everything the good things in life are.
For those who wanted a clean cut, cookie cutter ending where everything is explained and wrapped up succinctly… email me your name and address. I’ll send you a personalized check for $0.99.