Errata from the Cliff – what a view it is!
So I’ve been contemplating cliff hangers lately. Probably because my first book ends on a major cliff hanger. I’ve heard (via anyone who has an opinion on the topic) opposing opinions on this. Some lobbying for just putting it (my book- Angels of Mercy) out there. My fear: that I’ve asked readers to invest in my character (the main character that the book is dependent on his POV) only to have something happen that threatens the investment that my readers will have put in at that point.
But then I think about authors who have written their first novel of a series and it ends in an unresolved or even a cliff hanger state and their readers came back for book two. I mean, they had to start somewhere, right?
Take Rowling, for example. Sure, Harry’s story is hardly a real cliff hanger series (well, except maybe for the last two books which sort of were real cliff hangers because he Muggle/Wizarding world was upended on both sides so yeah, those last two could be argued were cliff hangers). By that I mean that the books all had a serious situation to deal with that the characters had to cope with and resolve. And each book ended with Harry being returned to the safety of his uncle and aunt’s home in Little Whinging. He was relatively safe for another summer, THEN all hell would break loose, so to speak.
So yeah, HP is not a perfect example in my pursuit of how I should handle my series (Angels of Mercy) because my story (my first novel published anywhere) ends on a d00zy of a cliff hanger. I was a little concerned that I might piss off my new readership and since it was my first story, I might not get them to come back again. Part of me hopes they will. I’ve been told by my beta readers that they would read the second book without a doubt. So I know I have something. But again, I am untested by the masses out there. Betas are fine but they aren’t the whole enchilada and I’d be remiss in my due diligence in sorting this out if I didn’t cop to that. So yeah, while I like what they’re telling me about how solid my writing is, and how engaging my characters are, there is the potential that there will be others out there that won’t like the whole leaving you on the edge of a cliff with nary a hope in sight (it ends REALLY dark).
I had lunch with one of my beta readers and he made a comment to me – why not pose a teaser at the end? An interesting prospect. The second book is told by the boyfriend of my main character in book one. That’s sort of the point in this series: the entire tale is told from three boys perspectives. Book one is Elliot, book two is his boyfriend Marco’s turn, then the last by Marco’s brother, Pietro. Each boy retells the same sequence of events only advancing the timeline further down the road towards the final resolution. It’s a very thought out process to put each of these boys in play to tell this big tale of a love between two boys and the foibles that they encounter (both trivial and fatalistic in nature) to get to their Ever After, Happily.
This isn’t something new that I’ve been toying with in the back of my mind. And okay, I guess I’m good with if it doesn’t sell out the door right away. A really great post from a self-pub expert out there (thebookdesigner.com) explains how I need to keep working at expanding my social media reach but also accept that if my book is well written, well executed and well edited, it should find its audience. It may not be this year, or next, but during that time that it might languish in relative obscurity I need to press forward with everything that I can to put my name out there – only by marketing ME can I hope to garner interest in my work. Also, I needed to sort out why I have a site at all. I need to take a look at what am I offering readers by coming to my site.
Thus, I’ve sort of turned a new leaf. I am honing in on not only why I am writing my novels but why I associate with other authors and readers. I am going to try and bring something else to my readers. I don’t know how I am going to do it, but I know that my success as a writer sort of depends upon it. I want to discuss with other writers in my genre their craft, their approach, their point of view on why they write what they write and most importantly, why do they feel so drawn to do so. I know there’ll be the usual – well, because I can’t think of any other way to be. I am a writer – plain and simple. Somehow, if I do my job correctly, I think there’ll be more interesting reveals down the road for some of these authors on why they are passionate about what they do. In a very real way, this can only enrich us all by having this dialog.
So yeah, my buddy authors out there – I just might be tapping on your shoulder to have such a dialog on my site. Get a real feel for what you do and why you do it. I know why I am in the mix – as they say, but I’d so like to hear why others feel the drive to do so as well.
Should make for some very interesting conversations.