Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Postbox in New Jersey

When I was young, I devoured books like candy corn on Halloween. No book was safe. I had my own library card from age three (it was yellow). By the age of twelve, I'd read every single book in the house.

As I grew older, I developed a sense of taste. Sure, I read every chance I got, but I noticed that sometimes authors took stories in directions other than where I wanted them to go.

"No, no," I said. "That isn't right." (Who kills Humperdinck?)

But these authors weren't listening to me. Sigh.

I got started writing my own stories by writing the tales other authors didn't.

As a teen, I read the Belgariad by David Eddings.  Good stuff for me at that time and that place.

Later I wondered, why is it the farmboys are always secretly hidden princes who must save the world? What if the farmboy was really a farmboy. And what if he didn't want to go off on adventures?

Thus a story was born.

Later, I read Dave Duncan's "A Man of His Word" series.  Also enjoyed it. Satisfying world-building, understandable characters, quests for intangible stuff.

Then I got to the end.  I wholly expected the ending to go one way. Duncan took it the other way. When I read that, my little Mormon heart went, "WHAT?!?  You've got to be kidding me!"

It was like reading a hot and steamy romance (extra spicy) and getting to the sex scene. Our Hero and Our Heroine are about to Get It On. They've torn off their clothes, exchanged Meaningful Glances, then leap into bed... spend the rest of the night doing nothing more than holding hands. Maybe not even that. Maybe only linking pinkies.

AND THEY PLAN ON DOING THAT FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.  For them, a condom is another name for a townhouse.

By gum, I vowed, I would not do that to my readers.  If I give my characters a vision of the future, we're gonna go all the way. Eucatastrophe!  Or Death! All or Nothing!
Man, I LOVE this stuff!


And another book was born.

Many of my stories take that road someone else could have taken, but didn't.

Sometimes I understand why an author chose the path they took. Other times, I am left to my bafflement.

I'm not unique in this; I've had readers tell me that they expected my story to go one way and I took it another.

If we all liked the same pathway, all our stories would be rather monochrome and predictable.  And where's the fun in that?
Her Grace believes that disappointment in a novel isn't an all-bad thing, if it inspires her to write something better.  Currently, she is doing just that.

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