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Friday, June 4, 2010

Oh no.

Revising is going along beautifully now.  I have 3 chapters to go and then I'll be able to send it to my critique team...or do I?  As I was working on my revisions last night, a horrible thought seeped into my brain.  "Perhaps," it said, "it isn't a good idea to leave Dream Girl as you do and continue in a sequel.  Perhaps you should continue on and make it into one larger book...to the tune of around 90,000-100,000 words."  There was a moment of panic before I answered this rogue thought.  "No, no no no no!"  I said.  "That's too horrible.  I'm continuing with the plan."  Whew, crisis averted. 
 I had recently read an agent blog post about great books with poor endings.  One of the commenters said how much they hate endings that don't wrap things up and obviously leave an opening for a sequel.  Hmmm.  I had the first sneaking suspicion that I might be guilty of doing that very thing.  I hastily retreated from that thought and back to the safety of revising. 
But today is a new day.  As I was rocking the baby for his morning nap, the thought came back to me.  My ending isn't good enough, but is there any way to do it right, given the circumstances of my story, and still have a sequel?  I used to think there was way too much information left to contain in one debut novel, but now I'm wondering if that's true.  Are 90,000-100,000 words too much?  Which option would be more appealing to an agent or editor?  Can I be honest with myself and put off the excitement of querying and write the rest of the story as one novel?  Could I rework my current ending and leave things as is and go ahead and query?  Would an agent be interested enough in the project to take me on and give me their expert answer about the ending?  Could I ask any more questions about this? 
As our friend Joseph Conrad so brilliantly said in HEART OF DARKNESS, "The horror...the horror." 


  1. I have to say that from a reader point of view, I like books that wrap things up. I don't mind if there are some things not neatly packaged, and I'm not opposed to series books, either, but books that leave Big Important Things un-referred-to at the end and seem very obviously just the first chapter in a story sort of irritate me. That said, I adore the Hunger Games series, and they are totally guilty of this, so I guess it's live-with-able. I believe that you will find the right answer for your story - though I'm not sure what it is!

  2. it's a delicate balance. For your first novel (i mean, first you try to get published) general consensus among agents is that it should be standalone.

    But that just means you should really wrap up all the plot points etc that were brought up within the novel.
    But if something shows up right at the end, who says you can't write a sequel based on that? (or at least, that's the way i handle it...)