The Fox Dilema

fox-kit-pinup4Well, this morning I started work on the next Fox Meridian book, Emergence. Technically, I started on Sunday, but that was plotting and character planning. Today I started writing again. Rather to my pleasure, the 25k words I already had don’t need to be changed for the new plot elements I’m adding in, but as I write this I have one glaring problem: the ending.

Here’s the thing, and I’d value your opinions on this, I have three ways this could end. Essentially they follow a continuum between status quo (near enough) and extreme change. I want to go with the extreme change, but that’s a problem. Even the mid-range option has hints of the same issue, but I can work with that.

The problem these endings have is repeating myself. I want to make a big change in Fox’s life which isn’t exactly the same as something I’ve done before, but it’s so close I might as well just call it a repeat. I believe I have things to say about this which are worth it, and it’ll make several future plotlines massively more convenient logistically. I was going to do this in a later book (if I decided to go with it at all), but it just fits so beautifully into this one it’s hard to resist doing it.

I’ve now given enough away that attentive readers paying attention to throwaway scenes in the books might well guess where I’m going. PLEASE DON’T SPECULATE IN THE COMMENTS!!!

What I’d like to know is… Do you trust me to have new things to say about something I’ve done before? I’ve got a couple of weeks, at least, before I need to make a final decision. Tell me what you think.

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27 responses to “The Fox Dilema

  1. Books are always better when the author is telling the story they want to tell. That’s just inevitable. They story may or may not be better in terms of technical criticism, but it’s got heart, and energy. Those are more important.

    So yes, I trust you. Tell me a story.

  2. If you were planning to do it anyway, and now seems to you like the time to do it, then you should go for it. It’s your story, after all.

    Or are you asking because you have doubts? In that case it probably needs more thought.

    • I have doubts about the reaction to it. I think it’s awesome and a really great way to go, and I think I’ve got new stuff to cover based on current developments in real-world technology and changes in my understanding of things.
      It’s reader reaction I’m concerned about.

  3. What ever makes the series as a whole more interesting is the better option to me. If the big change is a repeat of something youve done before and has the down side of perhaps making one book a bit less, but the series as a whole work better, then that is the better option. Youre writing a series, not a stand alone novel, so think long term, You wouldnt be the only author out there to revisit a theme either. The only caveat I can think of would be, is it a repeat from the Fox books, or is it from a different series? If its from Fox, then it makes it a bit more iffy but could be viewed as simply a recurring life theme for her. So, I still wouldnt mind if it makes future books smoother.

    Having said all that, Im not the one writing the book. So far Ive enjoyed every book youve written enough that Ive reread all of them at least once, and I dont do that with many authors. So, keep on writing what you want to write, not what people may tell you you should write. As a reader, I trust you as an author to write a story I will enjoy.

    It would be interesting in the future to hear what the different options for an ending you were considering, no matter what direction you decide to go.

    • This would be repeating a, um, theme from a different series.
      The nature of the Fox series is going to result in some stuff coming up again and again, such as potential adverse effects of AI development, as well as potential benefits, and bio/nanotechnology is bound to crop up as a theme in more than one book. I’ve already had several AIs of one sort or another as the villain. It’s going to happen and I can live with that as long as I’m happy I’m doing something different with each one.
      In this case I was bothered by a fairly obvious theme explored by another series, though there is something I keep coming back to over and over again in a whole, huge lot of my books, and this is an aspect of that, I guess.
      Let’s see what other people think and I’ll go from there. All positive so far.

  4. Personally, I don’t mind if things are repeated, as long as the plot itself can’t easily be predicted by knowing this other series. Reading the book and simply knowing what’s going to happen would break it for me, I think.

    Apart from that, repeat away. Everything is a remix (that is a web film i can’t recommend enough)

  5. I have liked every book of yours I have read. Unless it’s a cut and paste I can’t see myself not liking it. Reworking a plot like to see how it flows out is not always a bad thing. With the number of books and worlds you have written about there is bound to be some overlap. Having Fox and Kit do or have happen to them that fits with the story line I do not have a problem with. No one works in a vacuum. You are not borrowing plot lines, they are your’s, USES THEM

  6. Do it!

    PS See how the ending is different from Danny’s version? I added a bang!

  7. Eh, I think you’ve got a solid track record for reasonable plot decisions, don’t second guess yourself (any more than the normal amount, I suppose). You can always put in some author’s notes at the end to reassure folks, once you see what you’ve written.

  8. claus jørgensen

    Do it the way you feel is best.

    Even if it have some elements from you other books you kan take it on other direktions later or make other variations on it.

    i have read lots of books from other authers and they alle have a style in how there books end out and start and the ways the plot and charetors develop.

    so reuse you ideas and things you lige from other books as long as you dont down right copy it wite no variation

    sorry if my english is bad

  9. Honestly do it and see where it goes, change is the spice of life. You can alway go back and blog about the different plot lines and thoughts after which way you decided to go. From reading your books I really like how your writing style has evolved over all your different series and I’m looking forward to see where is goes.

  10. It’s your world and we are enjoying the hell out of it. Do what the story tells you to do.

  11. As Shannon said, It’s your world…Go for IT!!!

  12. If you feel it will make later volumes stronger, then do it.
    Your series are all good, and seem to get better (more rounded) as each one adds volumes, so it should be to our (the readers) benefit.

  13. Huh. There were some things I had noticed and wondered if they were intentional or not, and thought about asking you. Now I know. I’m curious to see how far you might take things, so I’d say do it, especially if it makes your life easier down the road and we get more books quicker. 🙂

  14. If you don’t write what you feel is the path you want your stories to go, and concern yourself over much about what some may think, it is a step toward stifling your creativity. This is a bad thing. We do not want that.

  15. Tell the story you want to tell.

    I cannot COUNT the number of times people have demanded I tell THEIR story instead of mine. My response is always: ‘Who is writing this?’

    I have YET to see you write ANYTHING that I don’t enjoy. Yes, some of it may seem a bit repetitive. Unless of course you happen to know a redhead who is kind of like Ella in real life without the future technology and then… um…. NO COMMENT!

    I have read so many works that had the EXACT same plot and the writers got away with it for a bunch of reasons. It got so bad that you could literally tell on what page different situations would happen and how they would be resolved. (The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew come to mind)

    Fox is a character that I HIGHLY doubt would stagnate. I think if you DID write her that way, she would jump out of your psyche and hold you off the ground by one hand until you changed things.

    • I would just like to state that I do not know a redhead anything like Ella. Let’s face it, if I did, I’d never get any writing done.
      I do seem to create pseudo-nymphomaniac redheads a lot. It’s not entirely intentional, but I did get that “redheads will keep you up all night” joke drummed into me at one point. I may have made Marie a redhead and more subdued to counter this effect. Also it means the redhead jokes make her blush more.

      • SO TRUE.

        That particular redhead is why it has taken me 3 YEARS to get CLOSE to finishing the sequel to my first story. Only reason I am finally able to write again?

        She got married to someone else and moved to another state. Both are very good friends and I wish them well, but man, he WILL need lots of caffeine to keep up.

        I don’t see Marie as ANYWHERE close to Ella. then again, Marie is nowhere near as -ahem!- experienced.

    • I’m guessing you’ve stuck to the sci-fi stories. Over in the Thaumatology series we have Lily, who has vibrant auburn hair, and happens to be a half-succubus. She makes Ella look like she’s not trying. Technically, her excuse is that she’s a half-succubus, not that she’s a redhead, but I did make her a redhead…
      Oh, thinking about it, Helen Dillan is a strawberry blonde, which sort of counts, and she’s quite subtle.

  16. Now that the book has been released, like to see a blog post readdressing this topic (with full spoilers) and an “after action” breakdown of what choices you finally went with, and why. This was important enough that you agonized over it, and thought it should be addressed in another book series…now lay down on the couch and spill all your secrets and demons. I’m also dying to know about the throw away scenes from the other books that I was apparently too dense to notice.

  17. Now that I know where your doubt came from: You did it very well. The other storyline has very little on the whole process and on the struggle of the people behind the decision, which makes the new events – apart from a similar outcome – absolutely unique.
    And since the new “thing” was made by humans and not by overpowered aliens, there are a lot of possibilities of different storylines afterward.

    BTW: What about “tank stops”?

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