Archive for March, 2012
I’m really into how things end. Yes, the first chapter in a book needs to be good if I’m going to keep reading it, but the last chapter needs to be even better. Someone once told me that stories are either tragedies (the hero dies) or comedies (the hero lives). For this post, I’ll use more than just two categories, with examples from books and movies. Maybe you’ll have a different opinion. If so, awesome! Different opinions keep a variety of books on the shelves of bookstores. *This post contains spoilers.*
The Disney Princess Ending:
Here’s the basic summary: good guys live, bad guys die or get sent to prison. The hero and heroine are usually married or going to be married soon, and they’re often going to be rich, too. To this category I’ll add Jane Austen novels and most chick flicks.
The Mostly-happy Ending:
The best example of this category is the movie “Star Wars IV: A New Hope” (the first movie in the original series). On one hand things are good: Luke learns to trust the force, Han Solo comes back to help his friends, R2D2 gets repaired, and the Death Star is destroyed. On the other hand, Obi Wan dies, the rebel base has been discovered, the Empire is still out there and a lot stronger than the Rebellion, and Darth Vader is still alive. I’d also put Espionage in this category, but it would involve too many plot spoilers to explain why.
For this post, I’m changing the traditional definition (the hero dies) to include anything that’s sad, but in a good way. Like 1984. Winston doesn’t die, yet it’s still a sad ending. But that sad ending makes a good point. Into this category also fall a bunch of Shakespeare plays and books such as A Man for All Seasons and For Whom the Bell Tolls. And the true story of Count von Stauffenberg—it’s told in a few books, and in the recent movie “Valkyrie”. Yeah, he and everyone else involved in the plot to kill Hitler get executed, but at least they tried and got oh-so-close to succeeding.
The And-now-I’ll-throw-the-book-(or DVD)-across-the-room Ending:
Sometimes it’s a fine line between tragedy and just plain awful. Take “Valkyrie”. If von Stauffenberg’s family had been ruthlessly hunted and killed and the Nazis had won the war, I’d put it in this category. Aren’t we glad the Nazis didn’t win the war? Into this category I’d put the original Hans Christian Andersen version of The Little Mermaid (the version where she turns into foam at the end of the story). And “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (the third one) makes it to this category too. Hero and heroine get married but only get to see each other one day out of every ten years? Horrible! Can’t believe I paid money to see that.
So what type of endings to you like to read (or write) or watch? Feel free to suggest more categories. . . if there’s enough interest, we can do this again on another blog post.
If you’re on goodreads (or want to join), you can enter to win a copy of my book here: Goodreads Giveaway
I also have two book signings scheduled, and I’d love to see some familiar faces (wait–I’d just love to have anyone show up, period). The first is Saturday, March 24 @ the Seagull South Towne store from 9am to 11am. The second is Saturday, March 31 @ the Deseret Book Orem Parkway store from 6pm to 8pm. More details are on my events page (or click here): events.
I love creating characters and then telling people about them. This week I’ve been working on the form I’ll send to the publisher for the audio version of my second book. The bulk of the form is in two parts: a list of characters that speak and what their voices might sound like, and a list of words that might be hard to pronounce and how to pronounce them.
For Espionage, I tried to do the entire form in one weekend. It was stressful, especially since I don’t speak French or German, so I not only had to figure out how to say all those foreign words I’d used, but also how to write out how to say them.
I have plenty of time to finish the form for book two, so I’m having fun with it. I compiled the list of characters during one of my revisions and now I’m writing out things like: “should have an English accent and sound like he’s an arrogant jerk” or “he’s the joker in the bunch with a nice Texas drawl”. Sometimes I feel like I’m listing the cast in a movie: gestapo agent one, man at the train station, etc. It’s fun.
As for the rest of the form, I’ll compile that list of hard-to-pronounce words when I go through the manuscript again. With the copy/paste feature, I’m thinking it won’t be so horrible—after all, I’ve already figured out how to pronounce standartenführer and einsatzgruppen.
I also want to say thank you to Jason Tatom. He’s the narrator/performer/reader for the audio version of Espionage. I wrote the book not thinking much about the poor narrator. Switching back and forth between a Scottish and a French accent? Yep, somehow he manages that particular conversation. I hope he had fun recording it. I’m having fun listening to it.
So remember yesterday’s post? The analogy of how getting a book published is a little like having a baby? Well, sometimes deliveries come sooner than you expect.
Like my twins. I had a scheduled Cesarian for a Saturday. So naturally I went into labor Thursday night and the twins entered the world on a Friday morning. That meant that all the stuff I was planning to do on Friday—wash the laundry, water the houseplants, watch my husband install two car seats, take a picture of my very large 38-weeks-plus-a-few-days-pregnant-with-twins self—never happened. A few of our houseplants perished soon after the twins came along, but I think I made the right choice when I decided to take care of the babies and ignore the ivy.
Today I got another earlier-than-expected delivery: my box of comp books from the publisher. It’s a very exciting day at my house. Watch out, houseplants. You’ve just been delegated to low-priority, again.
Thank you to MG for asking this blog’s first question (I’m hoping there will be many more).
The ebook comes out on Saturday, March 3. (Here’s a link to the Kindle edition: Amazon.com) The paperback comes out as soon as the printer gets it to the publisher and the publisher gets it to bookstores. I’ve been told that’s usually the second week of the release month, so it’s coming soon.
Getting a book published is a little bit like having a baby. You know what the due date it, but that doesn’t mean you know when you’ll actually get to hold it in your hands. Obviously having a baby is more significant, but I am looking forward to getting this delivery by simply slicing through the tape on a cardboard box instead of having my lower abdomen sliced open (twin pregnancy with baby A in the breach position = Cesarian delivery). Oh, and since I already know what happens, unlike a newborn (or a set of newborns), I don’t think Espionage will keep me up all night. But I do hope it keeps a few of my readers up past their bedtimes!