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Tanuki Racoon

Not Entirely Alone With Myself

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I'm going to bitch. I'm warning you up front. Serious author rant coming on. Run for the hills before it's too late.

I got another fan letter today -- and I am ever so grateful for it. It's not like I'm being buried in an avalanche of them. I think this new story has generated a dozen or so e-mails after it was formally released. (The teaser, generated a deluge, so I must assume people are reading).

So what's my bitch about? People (not) writing? Nope. I can't stand that people don't write authors even if it's just to say "I like your story. I'm here. Thanks." but I'm not going to rail on the readers who don't do it for whatever reasons.

I am peeved because people keep calling my new story a sequel. It's NOT A SEQUEL DAMMIT.

A sequel is a book such as "Decision at Doona" by Anne McCaffrey which was followed by the sequel "Crisis at Doona" (I highly recommend that first book, BTW, but don't read the two sequels).

It is entirely possible for a book to have a second entry and NOT be a sequel. I offer both the Harry Potter series and Lord of the Rings as proof of concept. My new work Not Entirely Alone With Myself is certainly part of a series of books set in this world, but it's not a sequel to Alone With Myself.

It really bothers me for several reasons. First, very few sequels top the first. Secondly, it implies a secondary relationship with the previous and subsequent tomes while at the same time saying it's not the same. Sort of along the lines of "Well, we're going to use the same characters and tell a different story." Think of the three films Back to the Future if you want an idea of a Sequel and why they aren't so good.

I'm writing a series. There is a constant theme throughout. I don't dare compare myself to J.K. Rowling but she wrote a series. She did not write a book followed by six more sequels. That is a small but enormously significant difference.

So thanks for writing about the new book in my series. If you're writing about a sequel, you have me confused with another author. stare.gif

I was going to make this a blog post instead of a forum post, BUT I decided that more people would read it here.

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I have two reactions:

1) you're absolutely right. An extended story with similar characters -- like the James Bond novels, or the Harry Potter books, or many others -- does not necessarily have sequels per se. Each book can stand alone, telling a complete story with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

2) be glad you're getting some positive fan mail. Don't slam your readers because they don't understand the subtleties between a sequel and an extended story. You can't complain because your readers don't like your stuff precisely the way you want them to like it.

Think of the three films Back to the Future if you want an idea of a Sequel and why they aren't so good.

Well, first, I think all three Back to the Future films are actually pretty good -- at least they Zmeckis did try something completely different with each film, which was an admirable idea.

I would argue that the follow-up films were not sequels, in that the story continues, rather than rehashing what went down before. Same with Star Wars. I think the key has to be the element of time. If the second story basically starts immediately after the last page of the first story, then it's an ongoing tale. You can make a point that the Indiana Jones films are sequels, since there's a big jump in time between all three (plus the new fourth film, due out next year).

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you're absolutely right. An extended story with similar characters does not necessarily have sequels per se. Each book can stand alone, telling a complete story with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Exactly. Thank you for agreeing.

Don't slam your readers because they don't understand the subtleties between a sequel and an extended story. You can't complain because your readers don't like your stuff precisely the way you want them to like it.
I am not slamming anyone, especially not my loyal reader(s). I am educating people. You can (dis)like my writings for whatever reasons you'd like. But someone shouldn't like it because it is/isn't a sequel. You should like something because it's good, it speaks to you, or some other reason. Liking it just because it's related to something else is weird.

You can make a point that the Indiana Jones films are sequels, since there's a big jump in time between all three (plus the new fourth film, due out next year).
A sequel isn't necessarily bad, mind you. I am just clarifying that this is not a sequel, and I am not, nor ever, writing a sequel to AWMS*.

* Total lie. I tried once, I thought it sucked, so I deleted it about 20 pages in. Then I did the prequel, IDAD. It had zero fans except for me. Part of it lives on as a flashback in AWMS: Director's Cut. The only two chapters are still posted over at Beagle's site.

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Ah, one of my readers speaks. I know I've got 2 or 3 of them out there. Yay.

Quality over quantity. :)

Nah, it was me reading it 2-3 times. :hehe:

I don't care what you call it, I'll still read it.

[shameless plug]

Hopefully I'll get a new audience here with my stories. Mine go by books. No sequels here. :hehe:

[/shameless plug]

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I want to give a special comment to Dude:

:lol:

:lol:

:hehe:

:hug:

You will all notice the rest of the index page for NEAWMS is now posted. There are not one, not two, but THREE pictures. Two give clues to where the story is going. One is, well, figure it out yourself dammit.

I am mightily pleased. A blessing of Catnip upon the Dude's household.

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I'm sometimes slow on the uptake. Where's Trab when I need him? I think, but I'm not sure, that Lugnutz just wrote he was fantacizing about the Raccoon's end. Did I misinterpret something? I doubt either end of this particular--or is it peculiar--Raccoon is anything to get dreamy-eyed about.

C

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LOL, Cole. I had thought to mention that one end of a raccoon is cuddly, but the toothy end is rather dangerous, but decided it was rather too obvious a comment. :wink:

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LOL, Cole. I had thought to mention that one end of a raccoon is cuddly, but the toothy end is rather dangerous, but decided it was rather too obvious a comment. :wink:

Both ends are dangerous! Be careful, observe only from a safe distance.

Colin :wink:

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I think, but I'm not sure, that Lugnutz just wrote he was fantacizing about the Raccoon's end. Did I misinterpret something? I doubt either end of this particular--or is it peculiar--Raccoon is anything to get dreamy-eyed about.

C

Their cute and cuddly right up to the point of them beating the crap out of you to get to the bottom of your trash can. :wink:

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Avast thar, mateys. Bein' as yer all gointa be warkin' my plank ternite, Aye'll be ordrin' yer all ter bounce around real hard and long at the end er my plank. This 'ere P'eyeRat really luvs a good boing, afore the big dive. :wink:

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For those keeping track:

1. I am working on Chapters 15/16/17 as I type this. Or am avoiding working on them, as I type this.

2. This story was designed as a 18 to 20 chapter story. But it's taken me a lot longer to get where I'm going. It'll be 20 to 22.

3. Things were complicated by the arrival of Gavin. He was a throwaway character designed to vanish after one and a half chapters. Only I couldn't throw him away. My characters never fucking listen to me. Anyway, it forced me to replot the entire novel.

4. Then, my editors -- damn them to hell* -- have pointed out some stuff that needed reworking here and there. After editing some of the chapters were 20% longer.

5. I am going to maintain my monthly posting schedule until such time as I finish the novel. But there will be a surprise this Kwanzaa for my reader(s).

6. I have made every effort to keep this novel as clean as my previous (AWMS) novel -- that is PG13 -- but you have now noticed I've failed in that attempt. There are scenes you've seen that are necessary to the story. In an effort to keep those who dislike sex scenes happy (me being one of those) I will mark said chapters at the top.

And, as I've always said, if you want a story to be finished quicker, send the author an e-mail. Feedback motivates us.

* for doing such a good job, that is.

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All right Awesome Dudes, you heard it straight from the rodents mouth.

Everyone send Wibby an email at least once a day until the next chapter is posted.

Jason R.

PS: Hey Wibby, what's your email address again?

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:huh: If Wibby would receive a ton of emails everyday, I don't think he would have time to write the story anymore. :hehe:

True, he does answer everything. Returning messages to his two fans shouldn't take that long, so he'll still have time to write. :hehe:

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True, he does answer everything. Returning messages to his two fans shouldn't take that long, so he'll still have time to write.

Yes, exactly that. I answer short emails on the spot. Longer emails I do once a week.

I've made surprisingly good progress on the story. I've also decided upon the new ending (mostly) and just have to figure out how to write it.

I can promise you all this: I'm not going to sell my readers out for a pat, easy ending. Life is often complex -- shades of grey -- not black and white.

I believe that any ending must satisfy the author while leaving the readers feeling the novel ended properly (though not necessarily in the way they would have liked).

It's no secret most of my readers hated the way AWMS ended because they all felt that there should have been a happy ending. I consistently respond that it would have been completely out of character for Alex for AWMS to end with he and Nicky together.

An author MUST stay true to his characters or you lose credibility and beliveability. All my characters (the main ones anyway) are complex. I leave clues all over every chapter about what makes them tick, and even subtly hint at why (or sometimes overtly state it). Some of you even take the time to write and comment on this which I dearly love, especially when you pick on some of the clues I didn't deliberately leave but are there nonetheless. (Yeah, since all my characters are modelled on real people, that happens sometimes).

If you like psychology you will, by the end of chapter 17, be able to figure out that there are only three possible endings. As to which I pick, I will assure you, you will NOT KNOW until you read the last chapter. To that I will leave no clue.

Don't you hate it when an author rambles?

This is the sort of shit I like to discuss with my reader(s)

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It's no secret most of my readers hated the way AWMS ended because they all felt that there should have been a happy ending. I consistently respond that it would have been completely out of character for Alex for AWMS to end with he and Nicky together.

I think there's a fine line between a corny "happily together everafter" ending and one that's satisfying to readers.

I lean towards going an optimistic, poignant ending, rather than one that's unrealistically upbeat, with all the loose ends neatly tied up. I think there's a middle ground for you to try something that's not out of character, but is still more satisfying to your readers (and yourself).

Granted, it's the writers' decision. And -- much as I hate to admit it -- there have been stories I've read that were unrelentingly downbeat that stuck with me for a long time. I had a long argument with our old pal Keith Morrisette, because he wanted to end his novel The Boyfriend (about two high school teenagers that have an affair for a few months, then suffer through a terrible break-up) just as they breakup. I argued for a final chapter where the ex-boyfriend mails the lead character a postcard (or a photo of them together), with just the word "sorry" on it. I felt it gave the other character a sense of depth, where we realize he did have a little bit of a conscience, and at least made an effort to apologize. They were still broken up, life went on, they weren't going to get back together again, but it made the story more satisfying to me, and gave it a poignancy -- like the very last shot in the fade-out of a movie.

So that's the kind of thing I'm talking about. (That was a rare argument I won with Keith -- he definitely gave as good as he got.)

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