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Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.

“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Loose Ends

I woke up the other morning and found myself snuggled against my wife, something we haven’t done in a while. We used to snuggle every morning, but as life got more complicated, as we had our kids, as we both worked hard and came to bed exhausted, we both wanted—and got—our space in our king size bed.

Our kids are teenagers now. They get themselves up, make their own lunches, and my son drives them to school. Life, therefore, is a little less hectic now that they do these things for themselves. I’m no longer up at zero-dark-thirty barely awake shoving my oversized hand into a tube of Pringles trying to reach the bottom twelve chips to stuff into a snack bag. I can relax a little. I can afford the time now to snuggle in the morning.

I thought it was a nice metaphor for a normal life and marriage, this clinging together, drifting apart, and then sliding back toward one another. Then I discovered my wife bought some of those slippery-ass polyester sheets and my slithering around in the bed had nothing to do with any metaphor.

Sometimes I overthink.

I have a long scene in my current writing project I do not resolve, and I wonder if it will bother a reader. The scene is crucial, in my view, for my character’s development, but its resolution (if it had one) is inconsequential to the overall plot. It’s merely a loose end.

Should I resolve it or should I let it remain something undone? Am I handing out an incomplete story, or am I leaving something to my readers’ imaginations? Or am I simply overthinking it?

When you read, do loose ends bother you?


James Montgomery Jackson said...

Sam -- I prefer my mysteries to wrap up all subplots with the one exception that for continuing characters in a series, I am content to wait for the next book to address open issues, provided I have reason to believe they will be addressed.

All of which is to say that I don't enjoy modern short stories without ANY resolution.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

Is this one book in a series, Sam? Will the loose end irritate or intrigue the reader? If this is a standalone, I'd tie it up. If it is a series book, you may not have to tie it up, even if you don't address it in the sequel.

Life isn't neat so in a series, as you reveal the character more to the reader, the episode in this book could be part of a pattern of the character's behavior--like someone who doesn't finish his/her sentences, but the reader knows what they would have said. You're teaching your reader to read between the lines, creating a more intimate dialogue with the reader by omission. What isn't said can be just as important as what is said especially when it comes to character development.

I say in a series, this is a terrific creative element. Go for it. But in a standalone, the reader won't revisit this character so tie it up and leave the reader satisfied.

Warren Bull said...

Will your readers be annoyed if your leave it open?
You could test i with beta readers. If it is crucial for character development, readers are likely to remember. I'd resolve it. Nobody ever complained (to me) about tied up ends.

Anonymous said...

Sam, I agree with Jim and E.B. I read and write series and that little bit leaves me wanting more. Louise Penny's latest book didn't leave any of those hooks so I'm wondering if she's ending her very popular series. - Gloria

Paula Gail Benson said...

Is the story resolution ultimately satisfying? If a reader finishes the novel with the feeling of completion and closure, a loose end can be overlooked.

Kara Cerise said...

Sam, I wouldn't need a tidy resolution and wrap up. But after reading a long scene dealing with a character's development, I'd like to see the character do something to prove that he/she has changed or is in the process of changing.

Shari Randall said...

I don't need EVERY subplot wrapped up and tied with a bow, but I do need the major things wrapped up. One writer I adore (and I won't name) left one of two murders unsolved in one of her highly acclaimed books "because that's how it is in real life"... I still haven't forgiven her, after three more books!

KM Rockwood said...

I don't mind minor points not being neatly wrapped ups, since very few things in life are completely explained to everyone's satisfaction. I also enjoy books whose endings point at possible futures rather than ending "and they lived happily ever after." But there has to be a feeling of satisfaction or I feel cheated.

On the subject of sheets, we are debating whether the time has come to make the switch from the crisp cotton sheets that feel so wonderful and cool in the hot weather to the snugly flannel ones we use in cold weather. Making the switch is almost sure to trigger a reverse in the weather and make us sorry we were in such a rush.