Sometimes an author can really piss me off. Things happen in the story that I simply don’t agree with. In a few books I read, there were spots where I threw them across the room, cursing the author’s name for totally screwing up the book. After I calmed down, I did finish all but one of those books. The one I didn’t finish I knew I would not recover from; the anger I feel still burns, and just thinking about it right now is sending my blood pressure up. I’m not going to jump off a cliff and start cursing that one totally awful book from an otherwise amazing, award winning, famous, and excellent author that I will never read again, though.
But this brings up an interesting question.What would happen if book endings turned out the way you wanted?
Be honest…you’d be bored. The best thing book endings can do is twist your mind, poke at your feelings, make you re-think the world, or at the very least, surprise you. The very best stories do this. Sherlock Holmes pulls all the clues together revealing the whole cloth. The Six Sense totally blew our minds with the final reveal. (If you are anything like me you went back and watched it at least a couple more times just to try to find a flaw in the performances. I never did, and it makes me want to shake the hands of everyone involved for pulling that off so well.) All my favorite authors do this regularly. I could go on for hours listing all the fabulous twists that made me do a head slap or sit dumbfounded with my mouth hanging open as I tried to process the revelations.
It is not surprising that I, therefore, strive to make my book endings, and even in progress plots do unexpected turns. I work to slowly but surely reveal the elements, sprinkling clues ever so carefully such that at the end, you’re doing a head slap while I’m doing a happy dance and totally geeking out over the ending. To be honest, I spun like a top for almost twenty minutes after carefully carving Thread Slivers from Thread Strands. I loved that ending. Finding the right place to end Thread Strands was even harder. I love the buildup, the spin on what Duke was up to, and where Ticca and Lebuin were stuck. It all worked for me.
Thread Skein has been a little harder. When I conceived the trilogy, I had an ending scene in mind from the very beginning, and I can prove it. That scene ends at a party with Illa singing a song that I introduced in book one and slowly built up through the set. All that to get to one little scene that I really wanted to do, and that scene shows that from book one I knew where things were going all along and yet twists things as a last tip of the hat. As promised, Thread Skein doesn’t end on a cliff hanger, and all of the major plots are resolved, most of the minor plots are cleared out, too. There are a few left over items, but hey, that’s life. There really is no ending. Also, I needed to end it somewhere.
All that said, there is one item in the book that is a major part of its delayed release. Love me or hate me, Thread Skein’s ending is precisely as I planned it from the start, but overall, the book is significantly better as the characters ended up with a bit more emotional treatment due to this delay.
The next part is a bit of a spoiler, but I promise it isn’t a major plot thread. In fact, what is discussed is only the state of Lebuin and Ticca’s friendship/partnership at the end of these books. If you want to wait, don’t click the reveal button.
My original plan was that Ticca and Lebuin would NOT end up as a couple. I honestly wanted a series where the hero was a woman who wasn’t simply eye candy to be saved and “won” at the last moment by the male lead. Lebuin started as an unlikely leading roll. He grew, but at the end, I specifically did not want him to be “the hero” or even finished growing as a person.
Many early readers (63 out of 88 final feedback reports to be specific) made a real complaint that Lebuin and Ticca didn’t end up as a couple. That is a large majority from my fan base (not just friends). So much so, I decided that maybe I was wrong to buck the standard trope of guy gets girl. I went back and worked with a romance writer I know, and we integrated some more elements that led to a nice final twisted get together for Ticca and Lebuin. (Honestly, it is as twisted as their initial encounter that pulled Ticca into this adventure.)
I loved the twisted mash-up, and with the reworked emotional ties and hints, it seemed to work. Still, I did not like the end as much as before. I felt Lebuin had not come close to earning Ticca’s undying love. Ticca isn’t the type to commit to anyone for anything less. I sent the revised edition and my thoughts about it to most of those original readers asking for a second review and feedback on the new ending. Seeing the book come out the way they wanted, they almost all had a turn of heart. Almost all of them backed off and agreed with me that it was way too early in the relationship. (Specifically 23 out of 31 second-read beta-readers wanted the ending reset in regard to Ticca & Lebuin’s relationship.)
So I was right. I had done a lot of rework to the story which I liked by adding that romance element. I couldn’t just revert to the prior version. Instead, I reworked the book again, removing most of the romance build up and then adjusted the ending to land them as friends and business partners. Lebuin is still in love. Ticca is only sure that she needs to think about it some more and other such stuff. I left a few small parts in there because I liked the interplay, and it really enhanced some of the scenes.
In the end of Thread Skein, Ticca is the primary heroine all on her own merits, she wasn’t “won” by a male lead, and Lebuin is that love struck guy who did not get the girl. There is room for a chance, but only if Lebuin doesn’t screw it up in the future. I am not sure I ever want them to become a couple. I’ll deal with that after a couple more books.
Thank you for reading this article! I hope you enjoyed it. I’d love to hear your comments.
If you haven’t read the Golden Threads Trilogy please check it out. The series has been a regular top 100 bestseller since it came out in early 2013. Book one Thread Sliverswas the #1 bestselling classic fantasy for three weeks, and has remained in the top 100 bestselling fantasy books on Amazon for over a year. (It is best to start with book one, click here to go to Amazon to get it: Thread Slivers.)
I mention the earlier readers. If you want in on the books before the come out, why not join my Street Team? They get to know everything way in advance and help plan some of my events. If you’re not a Street Team kind of entity, but still like to know things before the general public, you should join my mailing list where I send announcements about new releases and coming work (http://eepurl.com/woxIX).
“It’s hard to believe my books have been bestsellers for over a year! I guess that makes me an honest to goodness fantasy/sci-fi bestselling author. Which feels great! Thank you to all my fans! You can find and read all my books at http://lartra.com/author/lartra.“