Tag Archives: Kenneth Oppel

Finding an Ending

I truly don’t understand why I am having trouble with the ending for the second book. It’s as if there is an invisible bubble and anything I write is simply deflected away from it.

I want to finish it. There’s more work to be done and my brain pops ahead to it and then I think, “but I can’t do anything about that yet, you’re still on Chapter 17 of the revision, remember?” I think I have literally written at least five different endings. One was 700 pages long, and is now sitting in a ‘cut scenes’ folder. It’s not that I don’t have an idea where I want it to end, the characters keep changing their minds (easy shot, isn’t it–they can’t defend themselves) about how they want to do things. I’m worried I’ve made them all the same character in different people’s bodies. They’re all possessed. Maybe it needs an exorcist. I will say, though, there are no exorcisms (at least currently) in any of the books. And no zombies. I’m not sure how I’d work that in.

Actually, to deviate for just a minute, has anyone read Kenneth Oppel’s series starting with This Dark Endeavor? It was a little bit of a struggle for me to get through them, but they’re his version of what a young Victor Frankenstein could have been like, which was really fascinating in terms of characters. The idea and the story are good as well. It’s sort of like a modern day story, only set back a hundred years, and instead of the angst of today’s choices for young adults, some of which are the same in the books–jealousy, coveting your brother’s girlfriend, having a friend who’s also interested in the same girl… that all sounds typical (it’s more of a love square than a love triangle). But trying to figure all that out while attempting to raise the dead through alchemy and physical sacrifice, confronting evils of your own creation, while a giant something is incubating in the cellar in an alternate dimension are all things I would never have put together. I truly don’t know why I had the trouble I did, maybe it was just a different writing style than I’m used to, but the more I think about the first two books, the more amazing I think they are. When I was somewhere between eight and ten (I think) I had the comic book version of Frankenstein, which fascinated me, and then years later when I was working on my English degree I used the novel as one of my books for my emphasis on Gothic Fiction (there’s a whole argument about whether or not it really falls into that category or not). At the time I obviously thought it was, since I included it. It all depends on your definition of Gothic Fiction, and that was so many years ago I’m not even sure I could have a decent discussion about it anymore. I was just thinking about characters and that little mini-review popped out. Sometimes it seems like there’s a dearth of unique YA novels out, and lately the past five or so I’ve read have all been good.

Another reason I’ve been thinking about the whole finding an ending/revision process is that twice in two days I’ve read blogs on finding critique partners–there was one site that even had a sort of classifieds for critique partners wanted. It’s very hard for me to let other people read things while I’m working on them, except for a few people. My computer literally faces the corner of the room (almost) so someone has to come up deliberately to see what I’m doing, because I don’t even like people looking at it–I don’t know what part they’re looking at, and what if it’s some part of a romantic interlude that will most likely be edited drastically later because I’m not good at writing them? Not as bad as the award for worst sex scene in a book for the year. No one’s riding any saddles here, sorry.

I’m on Chapter 17 on a book that has, at the moment, 27 chapters (some of them should probably be about three chapters in themselves). I’ve literally been cutting whole chapters and putting them in the ‘cut scenes’ file. Just the insides of the chapters. It had a frame, just nothing in it. And sometimes when I’m writing something I’ll think to myself, “Why are you doing that? It’s only going to make things harder later on. I think this is where an outline would be useful. I’m not good at outlines, but desperate times call for desperate measures.