Currently working on: The big 3/4 fubar
I consider myself first and foremost a reader. I learned phonetics with LOTR. (Ar-Sakalthôr, anyone? How about Tar-Ancalimon? Númenor didn’t fall to hubris but to unwieldy names — Sorry, I should’ve called geek alert first). I read Black Beauty 11 times in a row. My bookshelf spilleth over. I am reader; hear me slap down plastic at Powells Books!
That said, I have no idea what readers want. When I go through Powells endless stacks or I search my library’s collection online, I am amazed at how many choices there are, especially when I can’t quite imagine who those titles might appeal to — or why.
Sample these delights from Bookseller’s 2008 oddest book titles:
Though the impossible urge is to please everyone, I’ll have to go with what my mother told me about my story. My mama said: It better have a happy ending.
Demons were okay by her. And premarital sex (in fiction, at least). And some other fairly intense questioning of various “truths.” Fine, fine. But there better be a happy ending.
So maybe that encapsulates what every reader wants, from any genre she is reading? She wants a happy ending. Maybe not a great love between the hero and heroine as is the case in romance, but the happiness of a story that comes to its promised — if not necessarily expected — conclusion. The killer is caught. The mystery solved. The world is saved. The cowboy rides into the sunset. Ah.
Scientific analysis of a dog’s ‘happy end.’
As a reader, when I turn the last page, I want to be left in ‘ah.’ As a writer, I seek that ah-ful, ah-some moment of Happily Ever Ah-fter.
Besides, I figure, if I can’t please everyone, I can at least please my mom.
Out of curiosity, what have you done — or refused to do — to meet the expectations of your mother or someone else who mattered to you? In the end, did it feel right or wrong? How do you balance the expectations of others with what you want for yourself?
P.S. Mom, you’re all good; stories with happy endings were the only ones I ever wanted to write.