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Panzer Bears, Sequels and Treasure Hunters

Went and saw The Golden Compass this afternoon. Pretty pleased with what I saw, but I would have preferred if the story had an actual "stopping" point ala Star Wars versus the way it ended ala The Fellowship of the Ring. The world was familiar enough that I could logically follow what was happening, yet different enough to keep the suspension of disbelief going.

After discussing the movie with wishweaver and dzeytoun over dinner afterward, I find it interesting that I see "Star Wars" as the way to write a trilogy. In fact, I've used that analogy before at panels I've sat on at conventions. Note, I'm discussing the original trilogy, not whatever he foisted off on us in the second trilogy (but I seriously digress here).

Star Wars - 90% complete story. Sure, there are hanging threads, but if they'd never made another movie, it could easily stand on its own.

The Empire Strikes Back - Everything goes to hell in a hand basket for the heroes and the story ends in a cliffhanger. If they hadn't made the third movie, there would have been lots of torqued-off fans. I know there were a lot of torqued-off fans leaving the theater that evening who knew they'd have to wait three more years to figure out what the hell was going to happen. Something Pirates of the Caribbean tried to address by shooting 2 and 3 so close together and I was very appreciative for their efforts.

Return of the Jedi - While I thought it tied up too many of the cliffhangers too soon, still everything in movies 1 and 2 were dealt with and there was a (mostly) successful resolution to the story. (Jabba's death seemed almost like an afterthought. I expected taking his organization out would be much more of a problem, much less Bobba Fett's (apparent) death which was more of an "oops, sorry" than methodically taking out the "greatest bounty hunter". Quibbling I know.)

Still, it applies to novels. Write #1 as if you're never going to sell another book, because weird things happen and if for some reason, #2 and #3 don't come out, at least your readers get a complete story. I keep thinking about The Architects of Sleep by Steven Boyett. I loved his work on Ariel and quickly bought Architects when it came out. It was obviously the first of a series and ended on a cliffhanger.

And he never wrote the sequel.

Hell, I thought maybe he'd died or something, but eventually, through the wonders of the internet, I found it appears he never wrote the next book and went on to do other stuff.

Hey! What happens next, Steven? I've been waiting since 1986 to find out!

See, I'd be less aggravated if the first book had been a complete story. At least I'd feel like I got a story instead of half a story . . . one that will never see print.

And, on a cheerier note, I did get back to writing. Well, I have been doing some work on Steel on Target, but I've been handwriting it the past few days. I'll get around to typing my new additions to that story pretty soon. Tonight, though, I did work on Childhood's Tears and added another 1237 words to the story. I should finish Chapter Two tomorrow night barring something weird and be ready to have the heroine meet one of the major bad guys in the next.

I'm already deviating quite a bit from the original plot I'd submitted to Abbadon, but it's really fun slipping Rowena and company into the world of the Chronicles, and while I don't foresee the two main characters interacting, I do foresee some of the secondary characters appearing in both sets of books. It'll be interesting to keep track and see where their paths almost intersect. *grin*

All right, time to call it a night.


( 1 howl — Howl with the Pack )
Jan. 7th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
On your take about TGC, I'll utter a rousing "here, here!" My twins would echo the sentiment except they don't know that expression (they're 11). All three of us were pleasantly surprised how much true substance survived from Pullman's work. Have to say that, with the advance reviews, we were cringing in fear it would be another Eragon.

I did chuckle to myself over your point about novel series. I just posted a lament about my 17 years (and counting) worth of doses from Jordan's WoT epic. Not quite the duration of your wait, yet, but at least I'm still getting regular fixes from the dealer instead of going cold turkey out the chute.
( 1 howl — Howl with the Pack )

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