Thursday, December 15, 2011

Three, It Turns Out, Is The Best Number For A Trilogy

My publisher and I have mutually decided not to pursue a fourth moon book. I won't be writing any new versions of The Shade Of The Moon.

This decision was decided so mutually that I don't even know who mutually decided it first.

I've been a writer for a long long time, and during that long long time I've figured out what I can do and what I can't. I can do rewrites. I may gripe and complain about the process, but I've worked with quite a number of excellent editors who've helped guide me as I've tried to make my book better.

What I can't do is write to please someone else. It's simply not a skill I have. Even when I've written books pretty much just for the money, they've been stories I've enjoyed figuring out, with characters I've wanted to get to know better. For better or worse (and it can go either way), I write for myself.

Emily Bronte wrote a poem that has a couple of lines I've always loved.

I'll walk where my own nature would be leading:
It vexes me to choose another guide

I could devote the next few months of my life to trying to figure out an approach for a fourth moon book that would please my publisher, but frankly, I avoid being vexed. Therefore yesterday afternoon I dug through my file cabinet, found the unsigned contracts for the fourth moon book, and mailed them back to my agent. This wasn't a foot stomping whining tantrumy decision. It was simply an awareness that a fourth book wasn't going to work.

So if you want to know what happens to Miranda and Alex next, you'll have to decide for yourself. Maybe they'll be happier in your mind's eye. Maybe they'll be sadder. But either way,you'll take them where your nature would be leading. And that's just where they should go.


Mr. Cavin said...

Oh well. For a while there what I thought happened to Miranda and Alex next was in some danger of becoming wrong. Probably very wrong.

It's too bad, but I'm one of those few fans (it seems to me) always interested in the new something even more than revisiting old somethings. So this might work out very well for me. I certainly hope there are other irons in the fire.

Today's word verification supports my comment: noun on (I added the space).

Happy Hanukkah!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you're at peace, and that's what's important this Rainy Thursday (at least in my neck of the NH woods).

Can't wait to read your next project, though!

-Another Susan

April said...


Emily said...

As disappointed as I am, I think your decision was wise. (not that you need my validation).

I am excited to read more about what you will pursue next!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello and thank you Mr. Cavin, Another (and far better)Susan, April, and Emily-

I have no idea what I might work on next. The past few months I've been thinking almost exclusively about The Shade Of The Moon in one form or another.

Right now my plan is to not worry about it. If my brain comes up with an idea that I like and I'm in the mood to write, I'll write.

That's what happened with Life As We Knew It, and what a joy that proved to be!

Bridget Higdon said...

Although I was hoping for a fourth book, I understand your desicion. Thanks for keeping us informed, and have a happy holiday season!

Nina said...

My students will be disappointed, but I certainly understand the decision. Enjoy the decision!

Lee said...

They wanted vampires in it, didn't they?

Mr. Platyperson said...

I have a query for thee! I've been toying around with the idea of writing a book for some time now. In fact, I've got four different types of books of which I want to choose from. However, I don't know if I'm any good at writing, or where at all to start. Any advice?

Also, on the topic of writing, Deviant Art. Com is doing something really interesting (in my opinion, that is) i was planning on writing an entry for it.
Here's the URL for the page about it.

Basically, you submit your part of the story, less than 300 words, and then see if it gets chosen!

And, you're write! My real name isn't Mr. Platyperson. It's something much more cryptic than that! 3:D Muahahaha!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good morning tigerlily*, Nina, Lee, and Mr.Platyperson-

My publisher is very high class, and didn't request vampires, werewolves, or any of the currently popular non-human lifeforms. I think what they really wanted was more of the same only different. Anyway, I'm not worrying about it.

Mr.Platyperson, if you scroll down the right side of my blog, you'll see links to various entries I wrote about writing. Maybe one of them will give you an idea or two.

Meanwhile I'm going to devote much of today to buying Scooter more catfood. It's been a mild December so far, and the 10 day weather forecasts say more of the same, but when the snows start falling, Scooter is going to want his daily can of Gourmet Grill!

lizzieTC said...

Even though I would enjoy another moon book, I completely understand. For whatever reason, it wasn't meant to be right now. Maybe one day, but feel like I can tell when a book wasn't written with love. I'd hate to see someone dash your name off their list because they didn't care for an anthology. I wish to keep reading work from you, with the little bits of Susan dashed in there because she crafted it with care. It would be a disservice to you to have something published that would not be beneficial. On behalf of the Pfeffer Fan Club of South Carolina, please write what you enjoy to, and use the wisdom you've earned over the years to do what you feel is best (or more fun).

Although it wouldn't be a bad idea if you tried contributing to anthologies as practice until you feel ready to go back down the rabbit hole…

Youryoungestbiggest fan! said...

Well im kinda sad but you know, your books are still awesome, and so what if you dont write that book? your still one of the best writers ever. I mean how many other people can end the would better then you ( no one) :)p.s im going to call myself Arin from now on

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Beth Pfeffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi lizzieTC and Youryoungestbiggestfan!-

Thank you both for your kind words.

If I can ever locate my brain (I know I put it somewhere), I'll see if I can come up with another book to write!

Anonymous said...

I fell in love with your books and I totally agree, what an awesome way to end the world. I can't find books like yours so I was hoping you'd make more but I do understand and I'm looking forward to future projects.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you Anonymous!

Anonymous said...

I totally respect your decision, I mean, if you had forced yourself to pump something out for another book, it could have been totally dissatisfying to you and maybe even readers.

Now us readers and wannabe writers can conjure up our own ideas about what happen to our dear Miranda and Alex

Happy Holidays~


Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you Emily.

It's fun to imagine all the different things people might come up with for Alex and Miranda.

I hope most of the possibilities are happy ones!

Jasmine Alicia said...

It all started with me looking for a book to read at school and I was caught by the cover and the book description, and then it transformed into me depending on this great book to keep me occupied now I am afraid to read the third book because I dont want to not read about alex and miranda anymore and I dont want to see them end, I dont know how it will feel for me to not experience the adventures I had with alex and miranda, I really put myself in that book. But I also understand how you feel, because I also write. Just know if you write another book in this series, I will be the first person reading your magnificent work. You are my role model and I am your most biggest fan ever, and I hope you have a Merry Chrismas, and a Happy new year!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you Jasmine Alicia-

I think you can take your chances reading This World We Live In. It will certainly tell you what happens next with Alex and Miranda, and then you can decide for yourself how their lives turn out.

Your decision will be as good as mine!

O123 said...

Your decision will keep me in suspense forever. I wish you would write a fourth book. I also agree that a trilogy is better.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi 0123-

You pretty much summed up how I feel. It'd would be nice to write a fourth book, but three is probably the right number!

Emily said...

I really wanted another book to be published but since that's not happening I'll be sure to read your other work. I also think this novel would be a very interesting movie.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thanks Emily!

Maddie said...

Though I will admit I was exited to see what happened next to Meg & Alex, I'm happy you decided to leave the series there. I think I would've gone crazy if you decided Meg & Alex weren't meant for each other (which probably wouldn't have happened) or if another main character died (which might have happened. So now I suppose I am thanking you for sparing my sanity until I get my hands on the next utterly-amazing-yet-oh-so-sad-novel. I can't wait to see what you come up with next! ;)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thanks Unknown (great name, by the way!).

Amy B Rejmer said...

I am an 8th grade science teacher in Athens GA and, after having kids continually asking me about what would happen if a rather large object hit the moon, I bought all three of your books to see what the fuss was about. I read all three in a matter of a few days over this holiday break and thoroughly enjoyed them all. I grew up in NEPA and giggled when I read about Binghamton, NY. Thanks for a great read.

Maddie said...

Though I was exited to know what happened next for Meg & Alex, I am happy that's where you decided to leave it. I would've died if Meg & Alex didn't end up with each other (doubtful)or if another main character died (not doubtful, though I would've cried for about 10 seconds then begin reading again.)Can't wait to see what you decide to write next! Happy New Year!

Javier said...

I was extremely looking forward to the fourth book I understand but no fourth book makes me feel lost I can picture what happens next in my mind, yes.but I’m always reassured by the book and the author but sadly not this time, but please in your mind if there would of been a fourth book would Alex and Miranda have lived happy together? I feel I need this for reassurance I loved this trilogy one of my favorites

Carolyn Watson-Dubisch said...

Shoot-I was really hoping you'd wreck it for the rich and powerful people living in their "safe" towns with all the food and advantages. Maybe just to make a commentary on how when the world goes to hell, it doesn't matter who you are, but I guess that always does matter.

Jenn said...

I was so hoping for the 4th book! I know you made the right decision. I wish you the best of luck in your future projects! I look forward to reading more of your work. friends and I would have loved to have learned about a persons story on the West Coast and how the the erruption of yellowstone affected them.
Thanks for sharing your stories, they were truly amazing books!

Anonymous said...

I respect your decision even though it will kill me to never know what happened to Miranda and Alex, as I'm not one of those lucky individuals who are just as satisfied with coming up with their own ending. If, like you said, you did finish writing the book, as imperfect as you think it may be, it still seems a shame that all that hard work was for nothing. You could always post the unofficial version here for us! Haha.

Angie Lee said...

But I want to know...what are the "safe towns" like? Do Miranda and Alex get married? Does he learn her secret? Does someone invent filters to keep the ash out? Will they forever be moving around looking for civilization? Where did the president go? And the movie stars?

Soooooo many questions! I guess i"ll just read the wonderful trilogy againg and be satisfied with the unsaid.

Thanks for your work!!

Timo said...

I'm a fan from Taiwan, we had your first Moon Book in Mandarin out earlier this year. I fell in love with it at the first place, and couldn't wait for the Taiwanese publisher to translate but to buy the english version of the next two books!
I've just finished reading all of the three books this morning, shed a few tears and wanted to know if there is or will be more to the story... because I, and I believe a lot of others as well, all cared about Miranda and Alex so much.
Knowing that you've decided not to go on with the story is a little disappointing, but somewhat relieving at the same time... I know the story could go on forever, and eventually it's going to end at some point, but I'm sure you're as concerned about how it should end as we readers all do.
As I finished the third book, the ending actually gave me strength and faith about what will happen to all the survived characters.
I understand your decision! and it's perhaps the best for the story! Thank you so much for creating this trilogy and characters like Miranda and Alex, cuz it changed a lot of my perspectives and the ways i see things in life! thank you!

best regards,
Timo (sincerest reader from Taiwan :)))