Wednesday, July 22, 2009
After the Climax
Should I bask in the afterglow? Or is it better to sneak out while the memory still has him breathing heavy? Is he asleep now, anyway? (Is the preference gender specific?) In my process of shortening CONFLUENCE I recently did some serious analysis of my last chapter. Some of it is totally necessary to how things end up, but a lot of it was the tidying up of ‘what happened to so-and-so’. Do I mention the trial? Do the bad guys go to jail? Does the nut get therapy? What is the best way to end things? Is all that matters that it’s OVER, or is there a need for some closure? My son is ten and I still read with him almost nightly. We’ve read some GREAT books together and there is a noticeable trend. He is COMPLETELY uninterested in the prologue and the epilogue. Just read the book, mom! You see, he doesn’t consider the prologue or epilogue as part of the story. I, on the other hand, want the juicy set-up of the prologue. I love that anticipation of where it will fit in. I like to get a little tingly before dive in. And I want the tie-up of the epilogue, maybe just to make sure the Author really remembered all the plot strands, but I definitely want to know how it REALLY ended up. I don’t know whether these preferences are his maleness, or his ten-ness (or my femaleness or forty-somethingness), or if they are just stylistic preferences. It DOES, however, offer a solution to my own dilemma. I’ve pulled out the extraneous stuff from the last chapter and put it into an epilogue. The people who don’t want it, don’t have to read it—their story will be complete without the pesky aftermath of who is supposed to call whom, but those of us who prefer he spend the night spooning us, will have the option. I’d love to hear others’ preferences on how a book ends!