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Friday, March 12, 2010

Music Inspires

I've kept no secrets around here about my love for music, but what I may not have told you about is my active involvement in the industry. Which of the following statements do you think is true? Answer correctly and your name will be entered into the drawing for the i-tunes gift card. #1: I was the lead singer and songwriter for a band my friends and I put together in high school. We called ourselves The Flying Penguins. (Lame, I know.) Our first paid gig was at an 18 and under club during our senior year. Everything that could go wrong that night did. I would give you all the details, but it would take you a week to read this post. Suffice it to say, no one ever hired us again, and we all went our separate ways. #2: I sang a little ditty for a local radio station commercial when I was in my early twenties. For two weeks straight, people asked me to sing it for them everywhere I went. After that, it was completely forgotten. My moment of fame was over, and I never sang professionally again. Okay, about yesterday's wedding ring scenarios... Apparently, my lying skills are regressing because most of you guessed correctly. My wedding ring wasn't stolen. I lost it. I wish the first scenario was true because then I'd have a wedding ring and a much happier ending. This brings me to an important point, though. As I near the end of my rewrites, I'm torn between two endings. The original one is the heart-warming, feel-good, happily-ever-after ending that teenage readers adore. The other is not so happy but more believable. My daughter is begging me for the happy ending, and she is a part of my target audience, but I'm more drawn to the other. Do I dare risk disappointing my readers? How important do you think a happy ending is compared to plausibility, especially in regards to teenage readers? I'll be back Monday to reveal the truth about today's statements and to announce the winner of the drawing. Be sure to leave a comment before noon on Sunday. Until then, have a great weekend with a very happy ending!

41 comments:

Faith said...

That's such a tough one... because on the one hand, you don't want your target audience to feel cheated when they come to the end of the book, but on the other hand, on want to stay true to the story.

Is there any level of compromise you can make? Create a third ending out of both pieces? :)

Such a tough call!

Solvang Sherrie said...

No matter what you decide, you're not going to make everyone happy. There were times in my life where I craved happy endings, and times when they made me mad. I still think the original ending for The Little Mermaid is far more poignant than going home with the prince. But obviously Disney disagrees. And they've earned far more money with their version than Hans ever dreamed of!

As for your lies, I'm going with #1.

Christine Danek said...

I agree with Sherrie. No matter what you choose someone will have something to say about it. Go with your gut.

I think your lie is #1.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I'll guess #1 but I've been wrong on all the other ones... :D

I personally prefer a happy ending but it's the realistic ones that generally leave you thinking long after you close the book.. Hard to ignore the wants of your target audience though..

MG Higgins said...

I think #1 is the lie. I agree with Deb, it's realistic endings that stay with you. Does your realistic ending at least deliver some hope? If so, I say go for it.

Angie Muresan said...

I'm trying to remember, and I think most books that I liked as a teenager had happy endings. If your book is part of a series, you can give it a happy ending now, but a more realistic one at the end of the series.

Tamika: said...

Since you love music I choose #2. If you love it there is a 50/50 chance you can sing.

I really hope I'm right- that is so interesting!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

As a teen, even then I loved "moody" endings. But I'm really weird. :0)

Have a great weekend, Susan!

Carolyn V. said...

Jane Austen always wrote a happy ending because that's what her readers wanted. I always try to remember that when I'm at the end of my book. And personally, I love a good happy ending.

Good luck on your choice! =)

Stephanie McGee said...

I love a good HEA ending but you have to be true to your characters and story. Readers will know when something is off from the rest of the book. If your ending doesn't fit with the motivations and story that came before it, they'll be alienated.

Heckety said...

Story endings? I'd say plausible over feel-good because plausible will stick in their minds longer, and also I know from discussions with my teenagers that if they are left with some points to mull over they like that in the long run. Feel-good is lovely for the ten minutes after they've finished but then its forgotten. You want them to return to you, either your book or the next one.
That's my ha'penn'orth!
I'll go for #1 true...have you read 'Johnny Coffin'? The stories of their band are hysterical, I read part of that aloud to a class of ten year olds few years back and we were all laughing so much we had to keep taking breathing breaks!

L. T. Host said...

I'm going for #2 just because I want to believe it!

I always prefer the happy ending. But I just don't like being depressed.

Patti said...

I'm guessing number 2 as well.

As for endings. I love happy ones, but they don't have to be everything is solved, life is perfect happy. As long as their is some closure.

On the other hand, if you're drawn to the other one, I'd go with it.

Robyn Campbell said...

YIKES! I thought you were coming back next week. Dang. Maybe I am a slacker. =)

#1? Aw shoot, I'm no good at this. I need to go read the wedding ring post. I'm intrigued.

And you have to end your story the way you KNOW it must end. If it isn't the feelin' good ending, so be it. Put your ending in Susan. Your daughter might write a book and use the happy ending in her book. *grin*

See you after unplug week. Or the week after you come back. Or...=) Should I wish you a happy Easter now? hehe

I've missed you so much. Glad you are back.

Laura Pauling said...

Middle grade tends to be happier endings. But with YA I think the unsettling one that is believable can stay in reader's minds for longer.

strugglingwriter said...

Always end happy. That's my opinion. Happy doesn't have to be, and probably shouldn't be, perfect.

I'll go with #2 for the truth.

Karen said...

I'm going to guess #1. Either way, the truth is going to be very interesting...

And as for your ending, I say you end it the way that feels right. Yes, happy endings are great, but you need to end it in the way that feels natural. If a happy ending emerges from a situation that doesn't call for it, then that won't necessarily feel "earned" and can alienate your readers.

Then again, if your target audience is the same group that made the Twilight series an international bestseller, well, their standards for what makes sense don't really exist anyway...

Nancy said...

I think you were a lead singer,and I think you should have another go at it.

Which ending? If the book truly needs the sad ending,then do it. It has to be an integrated whole. But if it can be just as good with a happy ending, do one. We can all use a bit of good,even if it is just fiction.

Kaytee said...

I'm questioning myself now that I was wrong about your wedding ring...I'm going to go with #2 as the true answer this time. Actually, I'm kind of hoping it's true just cause it would be pretty neat. As far as the ending to your book, I think it really depends. Teens are wrapped up in fantasy thoughts at that age and may need a dose of reality. On the other hand, because happy endings are what they want, they will be more apt to love your book and pass it on to others making it a bigger success. I guess it really comes down to what is truly important to you. Would you feel that you were untrue to yourself and your characters by writing the happy ending? The end of the book is so important. Do what you will be happy with and that's all the happy ending you'll need.

destrella said...

I would say if your book is a series then you could get away with the not so happy ending, hence drawing them into book 2. If this is a stand alone, go along with your daughter and make it happy. I think a few movies that should have been box office gold flopped because the ending did not satisfy the happily ever after need. :O)

K. M. Walton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K. M. Walton said...

*my first post had three typos!!!!

#1 TRUE
#2 FALSE

Endings, well, I'm drawn to the happy kind. Maybe ask your daughter to take an informal poll at school and ask her grade that very question: happy or sad endings?

Abby Annis said...

Woohoo! I got another one right! :)

I'm going to go with #1 as the truth today. Just a guess.

On endings, I tend to like plausible over happy, but for teens, I don't know. That's hard. Sorry I'm not more helpful. Good luck!

Kathy said...

Yay, I finally got one right, the one about the wedding ring. This time I think:

#1 truth
#2 lie

As for happy endings: It's a matter of perspective. I thought my YA novel had a happy ending. The teenage girl's teacher leaves the school (she has been in love with him), but she has evolved into someone who has finally started to like herself (and a boy likes her.) But when my son read the book, he thought it was an unhappy ending because the teacher leaves. Oh well.

Suzanne Casamento said...

The name the Flying Penguins is so good I want it to be true. Therefore, I vote for #1.

And as for endings, I find that a realistic ending with a little bit of hope does the trick. Most of the YA novels I read (and write) end up that way. They feel honest.

jbchicoine said...

I'm going with #1--it's so crazy it just might be true (besides, you've got a thing for penguins.....or are you just baiting me.....?

staceyjwarner said...

That is tough but I'd go happy ending...not sure why.

Your lie is number 1...

much love

Susan Fields said...

I think #2 is the lie.

I'm a sucker for a happy ending, as long as it's true to the rest of the story.

Jenn Johansson said...

I'm guessing #2 is the lie. I am also a fan of happy endings. :)

Mary Campbell said...

I'm guessing #2 is true, but since I didn't guess correctly the last time, I'm not about my ability to know truth.
As for the ending - I prefer happy endings. I feel like I wasted my time reading a book if it doesn't end well. There can be varying degrees though. Satisfactorily resolved is okay too. I don't read to escape reality.

David F. Weisman said...

In my opinion it's very book dependent. Star Wars without a happy ending would be like discovering the Jedi were secretly the bad guys.

I hear Charles Dickens had the same problem you do with Little Nell, first published as a serial. Everyone begged him for a happy ending, but it didn't accord with his vision for the work. She died.

Patty said...

Hmm I think I'm going to have to go with number 2 is a lie. Hope you come up with the perfect ending!

Jackee said...

Those are really good singing stories! I'm going to have to go with #1 only because it's more detailed.

And as far as the ending, I guess no one (not even your daughter) can tell you what's right. You'll just have to go with what rings true. And remember that bittersweet endings can be just as rewarding for a reader as happy endings. So if you have to find a middle ground, that might save you the decision!

Kathryn Magendie said...

I bet they are both true!

Anyway- hmmm, you know, I'm a sucker for a happy ending - not that everything has to be tied up with a purty pink bow, but I hated it when for a while there it was the "thing" of literary writers to leave such depressing sad endings -- killing off fave characters or leaving an ending where I feel as if I slammed against a brick wall!

In my books, I try to end it in a resolving kind of way, where the reader can let out a sigh, but where some things may not be resolved or where some things may not have ended all happy go lucky - it's hard to do sometimes - balance that out.... :)

which is why I'm rethinking the ending of my SWEETIE novel -- my mom read it and said "NO NO NO you can't end it like that *sob* no no no no!" -- lawd.

Dominique said...

I'm hoping for the Flying Penguins, personally. That sounds cool.

Lily Robinson said...

You're right... that was a lame name. But I pick that story.

I'm not an 'and they lived happy ever after' kinda gal. I love happy endings for a romance novel, but it really depends on the story. I think readers don't want to see the ending coming. But if you're writing for your daughter's age group, her opinion should have a lot of weight. Perhaps you need to get more opinions from her age group.

I keep in mind my target audience when I steer the story.

Heather Sunseri said...

I read a very emotional ending to a book last night. It was not the happy ending by any stretch, but it was definitely plausible and it left me thinking myself to sleep, and I'm still thinking about the characters today. WOW!

I'm going with choice #2

You should write both endings and send them to me. I'll help you decide. ;) heehee

Girl in My Own World said...

Dude, I am so bad at this guessing game. :o( I am going to say 2. I think that you should go for the realistic ending. As an adult who was once a teen, one thing that I wish that people would have done more of was keep it real instead of sugar coating and making everything seem so easy. Not to say that we should not be postive, but I just feel that me and my peers needed more of a reality check back then to soften the blow that we experienced on some things later. Go for the real Susan. I am counting on you. However, I will read your book either way. I am sure that it will be swell. :o)

jenheadjen said...

Ack! So I missed the deadline, but thought I'd throw on a comment anyways! I say scenario #1, just because it's more exciting. But after reading the next part of your post, it could very well be scenario #2, from what you said about the wedding ring. (I missed that post, but am catching up!) Sometimes the truth is not as extravagant. I'd say to keep a YA audience happy, go with the happy ending. I enjoy unpredictability in not knowing how it all ends, but I rarely will re-read from an author with a crappy (translation: unfulfilling and sad) ending! So I say go happy!

Glynis said...

I think when you are an angsty(? a real word), teen a happy ending is always sought after.
If you are unsure, maybe try getting another teen to browse and compare both answers.

Why not write an adult version with the other ending? Just a thought :)

Cindy said...

I love your blog. It keeps me smiling all morning.