Monday, February 23, 2009

It Made Sense At One In The Morning

I have worked out the ending to This World We Live In.

You may notice there's no B3 in the blog entry title, and I'm not warning you about spoilers. That's because I decided I'm not to going to tell you what the ending is. Not now, not ever. Or at least not until the book is published, which is a year or more away.

I came up with the idea last night during a particularly nasty bout of insomnia (I had a fine time at my cousin Danny's wedding, by the way). My brain clicked into gear and when it does that, it's hard for me to unclick it.

Somewhere between 1 and 1/2 sleeping pills, I got up and emailed my friend Christy to tell her what the idea was. The last idea I shared with her (one I didn't tell you about), she responded to with, "Yikes." I didn't take that as a positive.

I'm going to quote a little bit of last night's email I sent Christy, because I think it will give you a taste of what I was working through when I should have been sleeping. I'm taking my chances that you won't regard it as a spoiler:

... comes to face with death, which she acknowlolrfhrd sd nojyjionhinhh moyjhinhnrdd nothingnrdd- im really drugged and sneezing0=

My favorite part is the sneezingo. Or snee-zingo! if you prefer.

This morning I woke up and thought about my 1 AM inspiration and still liked it a lot. I thought about it some more while I did a half hour on the treadmill, and then I called Christy and ran the idea past her. She gave it the Christy Seal Of Approval. I would quote her exact gerund but that might give away some of the essence.

I still have some decisions to make before rewriting the ending, and I'll have to do a bit of reconstruction to get the story where I'll need it to be. I'll tell you the following three things and then I'm not going to reveal anything more about it.

There's a little scene I quoted over at thirdmoonbook, with a Bible lesson, and I'm going to change the Bible story. Same basic scene, but a whole other lesson.

The new ending isn't the same as any of the endings I've discussed here or at thirdmoonbook. It shares some elements, but it's very very different.

It isn't a trick ending. No one wakes up and realizes it's all been a dream.

Because to know me is to mock me, I'm going to put a poll up where you can give vent to your cynicism that I can keep the ending a secret from all of you. Which I can and I will. But mock away.

I don't care. I got my ending and my nojyjionhinhh!


Linda Joy Singleton said...

Because I get the sense that this ending is one which could be dire...I'll share a little something I learned from Betsy Byars who learned it from Lois Lowry.

In the book, MUD BLOSSOM, Betsy was going to kill off the grandfather & the dog at the end. The book was beyond galley stage. Then Lois mentioned to her that in one of her books a main character dies and the majority of her fan mail is about that tragedy -- that while 99% of the book was about living, all the readers took away and focused on was the death. So Betsy pulled back her book to rewrite the ending, and the book went on to win the Edgar award and (although not on her priorities) the book also won my love.

Just sharing (g)...

By the way, I was haunted and loved your LIFE AS WE KNEW IT. My favorite line was what the mother said on New Years.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

I'm an 8th grade teacher and my students have started reading LAWKI as part of a school-wide reading initiative. The purpose of the program is to get kids to *want* to read. And it's working fabulously!

My students love LAWKI. When it's time to stop reading for the day, they beg me to keep going. I've never seen the students react with such intense interest. Thank you for sharing your amazing stories with us.

We're all looking forward to the third moon book!


Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Linda Joy Singleton-

Thank you for your comment (which I quoted almost in its entirety in a blog entry I'll post as soon as I'm through answering these comments). I love Mom's New Year's line also; that may be my favorite line of dialogue in LAWKI.

I read your profile, and I'm so jealous you wrote a Judy Bolton book. Judy Bolton was my favorite series because she and her life changed throughout the books (Nancy Drew stayed kind of static).

My parents met Margaret Sutton once, at some worthy organization meeting or another. I can't tell you when this happened, just that it did. My mother told her how much I loved the Judy Bolton books, and Ms. Sutton said she actually didn't have copies of all of them herself.

I trust you have copies of all your books!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Ms. Vasani-

Thank you so much for your comment, and for using LAWKI in your class.

I love hearing that your students are enjoying it. When I wrote LAWKI, I felt such a strong connection to the material. I hoped other people would feel that as well.

But I never dared dream that not only would people love my book, they'd let me know that they did.

So please say hi to your students for me, and tell them how glad I am to learn that they like LAWKI. Knowing that brings me great pleasure and pride.

Anonymous said...

Isnt it weird how good ideas at night? Like how babies get the idea to be born at night & the dad is mad-ish when he has to drive to the hosipal at 3:00.