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THAT ENDING....

The thing mentioned a lot about Abendau's Heir is the ending. My editor talked with me about it, reviewers have mentioned it - some favourably, some less so - my beta readers were fed up talking about it.

One reviewer this week picked up what it meant to me - the set up of Abendau feels familiar and generic, and so it should do because it is a trilogy that sets out to ask questions of one of the central tenets of the genre - that of the untouchable, unbeatable hero. But, this reviewer went on, when the epilogue was read the generic became unique.

The ending is the first real hint of what Abendau is about. It was essential that the normal ending, the one the readers wanted and the premise that would be expected to deliver on, wasn't what happened.

Because, frankly, that ending isn't believable. Not once you put real people into books - and that's what my characters should feel like, real people in an extreme world.

People are not unbreakable. When they're in trauma - and there's plenty of trauma in there - people do strange things. They fall apart. They believe in things they'd normally laugh at. Some rise to the occasion and go over the top in saving it. But, for most of us, once faced with trauma we wouldn't overcome. We'd crack, at least. Some of us - most, I think - when faced with the events of Abendau would break.

This isn't a trilogy about a hero's journey - or, perhaps it is, but it's not the usual gung-ho hero of fiction. It's not a trilogy about one person's journey, even though there's a clear central character. By the time I get to book 3 all my betas remarked that it wasn't one person's story anymore but three, at least (I'd argue five).

We don't walk our path in life alone. Our heroes are no less ordinary than anyone else - they have fears and darkness and strength and hope. We can follow the same story laid down time and time again, we can be the same trope to succeed in that story but, if a character is real, they'll bring their own shape to the story. They'll make their own mistakes. They'll struggle to do what's laid down and cast in genre-stone. Because I would. And you would. And him over there.


Comments

ML said…
Thanks for picking up on my review (I have also posted it to my poorly-tended and probably largely unread blog at slow-sf-reader.blogspot.com). I was very interested to read it as I'm from the same town as yourself.

Looking forward to the next one.
Joanne Zebedee said…
Thank you so much for leaving it - every review is so appreciated at this early stage! (And always will be, I imagine.)It was thought provoking in the sense that the generic set up has always been a challenge to sell as something original but that without that feel, at least in the beginning, I couldn't play with the tropes and ask the question (which is largely around what it would actually mean to be the hero in sff, and what it would really do - I got fed up with invincible heroes constantly dusting themselves off and getting on with things) effectively. Hopefully as book two and three come into play it will diverge more into a unique world (I think it does) and answer some of the questions.

I had a scene based in Carrick in Inish Carraig (my aliens invade Belfast book), down at Kilcreggan farm, but it fell at the last edit as not adding more than another scene did. I might pop it up as a short story/excerpt for the Carrick people on the blog - that might be fun!