Sunday, April 06, 2014

What are you doing, Sue?

This graphic has been in my head for a long time and I've finally made it a reality. There are lots of ways you can look at three-act structure, but I liked this graphic to the structure the best. As you can see, I have a layered thing going on with the Haberdashers.

What this is showing is that for any particular book in the Haberdashers series, I take into account the following (top to bottom):
  1. The essential elements to advance the overarching plot for the 12 book series.
  2. The essential elements to advance the overarching plot for the 4-book subset of the series. (Yes, to heck with the Trilogy, I have Quadrilogies! Or, as Douglas Adams would say, a Trilogy of Four.)
  3. The plot for this specific book. (We should fit that in there somewhere, right?)
  4. Resolution for the Hero's and Heroine's (H/H) problems that were set up in establishing scenes (character growth vs. specifically plot).
  5. A smokin' hot cover. (Ok, actually included the covers so you knew where we were in the series.)
As you can surmise from this, the novellas are not essential to the plot advancement of the series. They are entertaining, they reveal more about the primary characters - but they aren't essential.

If you've been keeping up with the reviews for Fates for Apate on Amazon, you'll see quite a few readers having issues with how the book resolves. Some hooks were there on purpose. Some were there that you probably didn't even notice (*writer cackle*). But I have an incredible amount of sympathy for readers who felt the ending was a bit off because I FELT IT MYSELF. There was a good bit of stomping around the house and yelling at the characters. "What happened to the plot I gave you? We've hit everything in your outline BUT YOU'VE MADE IT FEEL LIKE IT'S NOT A PLOT." Fighting with your characters is a losing proposition. Once they're tired of you, they clam up - then you get nothing.

It's ironic, really. The underlying theme for Fates is trust and betrayal. I usually trust my characters deeply, but these guys... Man, I love George and Cas, but they fought me from the beginning. I wanted more action and spy thriller stuff. They wanted to hang out and moon over each other. I wanted this to be the strongest plot-wise and tightest action-wise in order to propel us to the fourth book. But, apparently, the heart wants what the heart wants. Meanwhile, all of my other characters have been almost impossible to shut up. "Sure, you think you're done with the book, Sue, but we have another 10,000 words to put right here. So sit down, shut up, and keep typing." George and Cas? They wanted out. "Yeah, we're good. You can stop right here. Don't type anymore. It's over." So I shouldn't have trusted them. But as of yet I don't know how to get more out of them. How to find the missing element. All I know is that the more I fought them, the longer it took to write the book. Ugh.

Obviously, I'd better sit down Robert RIGHT NOW and try to get these issues worked out ahead of time for book four.

Am I Getting Better or Worse?

Haberdasher reviews as of April 6, 2014
Review Website Trials of Artemis Athena's Ordeal Common Christmas Fortune Said Fates for Apate
Pub Date 5/13/13 8/31/13 12/15/13 2/8/14 3/31/14
Amazon 4.4 4.0 4.6 4.4 3.4
Goodreads 3.75 3.77 4.21 4.17 4.07

Obviously, books that have been out longer have more reviews (and are therefore more reliable?). I'm not even sure what it all means.