A HERO'S SPARK: the final book in the Wicked Women series!

Monday, February 9, 2015

In real life, not everything is neat. Should fiction be different?

Good afternoon all!

I woke up from a nightmare last night and instantly realized I had to write this blog.  The particulars of the nightmare aren't important, in fact I typically forget my dreams immediately.  I have a friend who has fantastic dreams and she remembers them, I simply cannot remember mine.  Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that the nightmare involved, in part, an argument with a former acquaintance of mine. It's one that comes up in my brain from time to time because it's an argument what was very one sided and I was never able to really resolve the outcome in my head.

We all have that relationship that ended without being neat and tied up and done.  It can be a friendship that ends, a romantic relationship, or a professional relationship that ends and you didn't get a final word, you didn't get to speak your peace, you didn't get to go out in control of what the final perception of the relationship would be for the rest of time.  Real life is like that.  Things happen, relationships ends, and it's rarely wrapped up neatly in a package. Most of the time real life is a random collection of events that leave us saying, "Wow, if only I could have said this...or done that."

I'm one of those people who like things wrapped up neatly with a bow.  It's probably why I write more romance novels than anything else.  When I watch a movie that has one of those endings that leaves me saying, "WHAT?"  I'm usually screaming at the screen..."THAT'S IT?  What about this...what about that?  How can this be the end?"  The thing is, I understand that real life tends to be 
chaos and rarely fades to black perfectly.  Most of the time, the ending is a lot like the movie I just saw, "The Rover."  I'm not going to blow it for you, I'm just going to say, yeah, that ending left me yelling at the DVD.

Some years ago I wrote and published a novel called "Lies in Chance."  This was a book that took me more than thirty years to write and it truly is my favorite.  I created the world of Rock Harbor, Wisconsin, and I go back there again and again in my books because it's my favorite place to be.  I grew up with those characters in my head, it's home.  While I market it under the romance banner, I've been told time and time again that it is not a romance.  Probably why I wound up self publishing it.  The thing is, while I think the story is perfect, I've gotten plenty of feedback, especially from one friend of mine, that the ending simply horrible because it's not a neat, tidy ending.  While there's a "happily ever after" it's not ALL 'happily ever after.'  

Terrible book.  Stop looking at the cover!
Cover your eyes!  
So I have to ask, does all fiction have to be neatly tied up and given to us in a package?  Literary writers will tell you NO in big block letters. If you look at the greats from literature, you get mixed signals.  "Gone with the Wind" was hardly neatly ended.  In fact, people begged for a sequel. And we got "Scarlett" which was horrible.  Later, we got "Rhett Butler's People" which was amazing.

The Brontes tied things up neatly with a 
bow.  Jane Austen sure did. So okay, if you're writing romance, then yes, you best have everything done neatly I guess.

But I challenge that idea.  So much is put into series these days that I think it's almost short sited to not give yourself some element to return to if you want to.  
Maybe what we write, no matter what we write, should be more like real life, and leave the reader wondering what, exactly, is going on?

To that point, I look at the reviews for "Lies in Chance."  (And if you read a book by an indie author, and you liked it , please leave a review!  Word of mouth reviews is the only way we can survive!)  One person was less than excited that she figured out the plot in ten minutes.  Well, it's not like I hid the plot, not really.  I put it right there in words.  Anyway, I think, I hope, what the reviewer was really saying was that it was a really completely packaged book.  So there was no, "WHAT THE WHAT?" at the end. And if that's what the reader was saying, I'm okay with it.  For me, life is that random series of unresolved events.  When I write, I like to be more in control.  I think those who read, especially romance readers, are looking for that escape from unresolved into the "happily ever after."  And there is nothing wrong with that!  

So where does that leave us?  With the same question, I guess.  Life is random. Should fiction be any different?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Tell you what.  If you want a random, unresolved experience, watch "the Rover" or read the last chapter of "Lies in Chance."  If you want things wrapped up neatly, read the rest of "Lies in Chance."  Either way...just read "Lies in Chance!"

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