Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Serial Blues

This is a pretty timely post for me as I'm really making an effort to jump back into my writing. I know I said I would as soon as I quit my second job, but things have been a bit crazy…or rather, I've gone a little crazy with socializing since then. You have to understand that I haven't had many Fri/Sat nights to myself in a very long time, so I've been doing a little catching up on all the fun times I've missed. That said, I'm getting some of it out of my system and would really like to refocus on getting these dang stories out of my head and on to the page.

Even my reading time has been put to the wayside with everything going on, which is just irritating. Nothing I love better than snuggling up with a good book. I recently started reading the next in line in a series I ADORE, and have found myself becoming slightly irritated with the author. Said author shall remain nameless, because I hear she redeems herself quite nicely in the next book. That said, I thought I'd delve into why I'm annoyed, and why that annoyance sparks concerns with my own work.

First, let me tell you why I love this series. It's wonderful, frankly. And I think she did a superb job of world building. Everything has been well set up, the characters and their roles defined… you know how things work in this world…what the rules are…who is bad, who is good. YAY for her world building. It's awesome. Add to that some kickass characters and story lines…and this series is just fantastic. Then came this book…

She pulled a quick one. Through in a new type of character that had before gone unmentioned. This is fine of course, there are always surprises in books…especially series, but I really feel the way she did it was SUCH A COP OUT. She pulled it off (or didn't pull it off) by saying knowledge of this race (for lack of a better term) of people are kept secret until a person reaches a certain age. I mean…W.T.F.??What kind of crap is that? To think (1) anything in society of this significance can be kept under wraps is fairly implausible (2) the people in the dark are teenagers. If anyone is connected to the world at large and can tap into the underground crap that goes on, it's teenagers. If there wasn't full knowledge, there would at least be rumors…or myths…or whatever. Something.

To put it bluntly: It bugs. Whereas I devoured the other books in this series, I find myself meandering through this one. This is actually the second time I've started it and I can tell you EXACTLY where I got hung up both times. The part where they introduce this hidden race. Oh le sigh. Yes, I need to get over it and move on, but there are other things bugging me.

The second major one is that she's using a series of flashbacks to include things that WEREN'T in the previous books. Most are fairly simple interactions between characters that COULD HAVE happened off stage, but GAH. Irritated here. It's as though she's suddenly realized she doesn't have the necessary foundation for things occurring in this book and therefore must go back and create them after the fact. CHEATING. She's CHEATING.

LOL. Any Joss Whedon fans out there? Okay, I'm going to cop to the fact that I got slightly irritated when Dawn arrived on the scene. It seemed like such a CHEAT to create Buffy a sister out of thin air. Granted, I ultimately forgave him because he made it work…but yeah, it bugged for quite some time. And don't even get me started with the "one slayer at a time" rule that he bended at his will. I loved the series, and yes, he ultimately made it work…but was he cheating? Probably. J

And that brings up my main concerns as I head back to work on my books. This doesn't really have much to do with Madison and her crowd. Her world – hell, I've lived in it. I understand the rules and who is who. And I have a fairly good idea of where the series is going. Yes, there are big reveals in later books, and I do worry from time to time if they'll be too much for my reading audience…but I think I've done a pretty good job of setting up things in book one. And well, yeah, I'm not overly concerned about it.

My main concerns surround BY THE PALE MOONLIGHT. When I originally started it, I intended it to be a one book, one shot deal. Then I started writing… LOL. It grew…and it grew…and it grew… SHIT A BRICK. Before I knew it, I realized that I would probably end up with at least 85K….and that alone would NOT tell the entire story. It was right about then that I decided to break it up into 2-3 books. Maybe more. That said, I'm worried about it. Whether or not I've put enough in to set up what I have planned for the later books. And when I say "planned," I mean I have a vague idea of what is going to happen. How I'm going to get there is a little fuzzy. J

Reading this book mentioned above, I'm getting even more worried. To tell the truth, there's a big reveal at the end of book one that I'm not sure I've properly laid the foundation for. Basically, I'm going to reveal it…and book two is going to be spent trying to figure out how the heck said event transpired…. and well, this is when the "true" rules of this world will be explained.

Problem? I'm not exactly sure _I_ know the rules yet. As you know, I'm a chunkster… And well, I consider each book separate globs that I pound into shape. This method is a little nutso, but it works great with the FAKING IT series because each book is very self-contained. Yes, there are story arcs that bridge all of the books, but ultimately each book contains a story from start to finish, and could most likely be read separately.

I'm beginning to worry this isn't the case with BTPM. And if this is true, I may be in trouble with the way I've approached this series of books. I DO NOT want to cheat is what it boils down to.

Hmmm…food for thought. Any opinions? Can anyone think of other examples when an author has pulled a rabbit out of a hat? Did it work/not work?

1 comment:

  1. The first example I can think of off the top of my head is Diana - she picks up stuff in her earlier books that even she didn't realise were important at the time! I'm sure if you find you need something you'll figure out how to make it work... Shouldn't the creator get to bend the rules? Without cheating of course :-)