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I have learned my lesson!!!

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Oh, you guys.

I feel like a very bad author these days.

I didn't realize how many kids would be so unhappy with an open ending. An ending that ends happily, with the character getting something she wants, but with a question that still remains.

I thought - oh, it's not really important to address that. Kids can imagine what happens, and they can see how happy she is just to have gotten there.

I am getting e-mail after e-mail after e-mail - kids wanting to know the same thing, and feeling a little disappointed and frustrated that the book ended too soon.

Yes, I have learned my lesson, and now I'm sharing it with all of you!! Because I would hate for you to feel like I do. Like this:

And all I can say is, I hope I get the chance to remedy the situation in the only way I know how!!


( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
Well that seems to call for a sequel then, don't ya think? :-)

If you're getting lots of emails, that means these readers cared a lot and you've got them thinking. That's a good think, my friend!

Apr. 28th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
How are you, Lisa!? Are you working on revisions yet for your book? What's the release date anyway - do you have one yet?

You are probably right - it is a good thing in a way. But, I feel bad! Hopefully, my publisher and I can come up with a good solution. :)
Apr. 28th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
I hope so too! :)

Another option could be to include a bonus ending in the paperback version.
Apr. 28th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's a good idea!! Although fingers crossed the other thing is going to work out. We'll see...
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah! I like the bonus ending idea! And even though you're getting all these emails, think of all the emails you AREN'T getting from readers who read the book and found it completely satisfying.
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
One girl's mom e-mailed me after I e-mailed her daughter (she let her use her e-mail) and said her and her husband were laughing because her daughter was so frustrated when she finished the book.

I'm like, well, good think someone finds it humorous.

Hopefully you're right Becca - there are some out there who are okay with it open ended. Hopefully!!
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
I get quite a few emails from people who are dissatisfied with my book's ending, too. They hate the cliffhanger. And I'm like, what cliffhanger? There is no cliffhanger! I guess it all comes down to personal interpretation and preference...

And YES there are people out there who think you nailed the ending!
Apr. 28th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
I get that too. All. The. Time.

And here I thought I wrote a pretty close-ended book.

How are you going to remedy it? With a sequel? Or a dozen cupcakes?
Apr. 28th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
Hoping to do another book, yes. More of a companion, though, rather than a sequel. We'll see!!
Apr. 28th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
I think some kids DO like the open everything else, it's subjective. So you probably made tons of kids happy with the ending too -- but as they always say, the unhappy ones are those you hear from most!
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reminding me of that, Robin! Hopefully there are some that are okay with it.
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
Uh oh. My next YA ends with something not resolved. The last sentence is something like "Cheyenne took a deep breath and thought about her answer."

But it seemed the right answer.

Hopefully older teens will be happy to imagine it?
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
Well, I guess you'll find out, won't you? :)
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
Okay, I've thought about this some more. One of the books I read when I was a teenager (although I think it was an adult book) was about this guy who has had all these experience and adventures and brushes with death. And everything seems to be going well with him at the end. But then, right at the end, he falls into a pond.

The book ends with it not being clear whether he will drown or not. It bugged me no end.

But boy, did I think about that book a LOT.
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
A pond? A pond???
I'm sorry, but this is giving me the chuckles.
*makes mental note to avoid ponds*
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
Well, this was like 35 years ago. There was a good reason he was in there. Like he tried to get something out that was floating on the surface. Or possibly someone even pushed him in.
Apr. 28th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
But I love hearing about how your fans are emailing you! And I agree with Robin--I'm sure there are just as many who love the ending. When I think of open endings, I think of The Giver. There is such a mixed response to that ending, but ultimately, it makes kids think, and isn't that just wonderful!
Apr. 29th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
THat's what someone else said Lorraine - that a book that leaves you thinking and wondering is not necessarily a bad thing. I hadn't thought of it that way - thanks!
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
Well, this is giving me food for thought (or even a cupcake for thought). I have an unresolved thread at the end of my book of my own doing which my editor is asking me to ditch. I sort of think it's all neat...but maybe it will end up pissing people off at the end.

I don't see a sequel in my book's future...but I could see one in yours. :)
Apr. 28th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
Oooh, interesting!!

See, my editor wanted me to tie up the thread, and I didn't really want to. I didn't want the focus to be winning or losing, but rather, enjoying the journey. But a lot of kids seem to want everything tied up.

I don't know - it's hard to know what to do, huh? Good luck!!!
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 29th, 2010 12:57 am (UTC)
I don't know that there's a cut and dry answer in general, but it's definitely something to think hard about with each book.
Apr. 28th, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC)
Usually I hate it when books (or movies) have open endings, so I can sympathize with those kids. What surprises me is that your editor didn't have something to say about this. Presumably if this is a problem for kids below a certain age (because I understand it isn't for YA) the editor should have been aware of that and at least warned you that you might be disappointing your readers.
Apr. 28th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
I don't know--sometimes people don't want what they *think* they want. They may say they want neat endings, but they might find actual neat endings too boring.
Apr. 29th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
You know - I never thought about it like this. Thank you!!! Such a good point!
Apr. 29th, 2010 01:42 am (UTC)
Well, I'm not a kid, but if it makes you feel any better, I liked the ending a lot. I thought it drove home the point that that one unanswered question wasn't really the most important question at all.

And I have to say that after reading the description of that one particular treat that wasn't a cupcake, I thought, "OMG, that is the greatest idea ever, why doesn't somebody actually make that?!?". And I keep thinking it from time to time ;).
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
Thank you for saying that. I think kids are big on winning and losing. And I kinda wish they weren't. Sigh. But they are, so they want to know.

And I keep thinking I should try to come up with a recipe for the chocolate JT. I still may try one of these days. :)
Apr. 29th, 2010 06:32 am (UTC) mg that's making the rounds has an ending like this...but I have a sequel in mind. Do you? That might help your little fans!!!
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm working on a companion novel to go with it. I guess that's "the thing" now, versus a sequel - something told from a different character's POV. But it's not sold yet so I can't tell the kids who e-mail me there's another book because at this point it's not a sure thing. Hopefully it will all work out. :)
Apr. 29th, 2010 09:58 am (UTC)
I get that, too, Lisa. Young middle graders aren't used to open endings (picture books and chapter books rarely have them)--so they're shocked that I didn't tie everything up neatly at the end. I especially find 3rd graders sometimes feel cheated by the ending of RULES.

It was a surprise to me, too.

I remember a phone call I had with a 3rd grade class in Montana and when the fourth kid mentioned the ending, I said to that boy, "Well, what did you WISH would happen at the end?"

He paused and then he said, "I wanted Ryan (the bully) to turn nice and Catherine to be friends with everyone."

I loved that he thought that could be a possbility, but it really showed me how he expected things to end up in book--for all things wrong to be made right.

I hardly ever get a complaint from a fifth or sixth grader, so I think it is tied to age and reading experience. If your book is one of the first ones that child has read with an open ending, you'll hear about it :-)
Apr. 29th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, the age thing is very interesting - I hadn't thought of that. And can I say I'm glad to know I'm not alone? :)
Apr. 30th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
I got this a lot with my first YA, and it's for older teens (14+)! Emails from readers saying: But what HAPPENS? I was surprised, because all the main threads were resolved, but there was enough ambiguity about exactly what the character's future life was going to be that it drove some kids batty. I always emailed back saying, You can take the story from here in your head...but here's what I think happens.

I agree with the folks who point out that these kids really became invested in your story and characters, and you got them thinking hard. Don't beat yourself up!
Apr. 30th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, I like Cynthia Lord's response - "What do you WISH would happen?" And saying, okay, then that's what happens. :)
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )


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Lisa Schroeder, Author for Kids and Teens

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