Welcome Wednesday – Rewriting History

Welcome Wednesday – Rewriting History

Welcome to this week’s edition of Welcome Wednesdays!

We all have a book that we loved up right up until the author killed off our favorite character, or took an unexpected turn that we didn’t like, or in some other way didn’t turn out the way we hoped it would.

So today, authors (and readers!), I want you to tell us about a book that you wish you could rewrite.  Briefly describe the book, and then tell us what you would have done differently had you been the author…

(and be sure to leave a link to your own website so we can learn more about you and your own books!)

I’ll begin…

This is a no-brainer for me.  I am a huge fan of Frank Herbert and particularly the Dune series.  I even love the book nobody likes (God Emperor of Dune).  But his son took over after he passed away, and wrote first a bunch of prequels (which were dreadful) and then a two part conclusion to the whole series that picked up right after the last book Frank wrote (Chapterhouse Dune).

The first part of the conclusion was called “Hunters of Dune’ and I hated it SO much that I actually returned the book to the bookstore (which I’d never done before and have never done since).  I honestly don’t know how I would have concluded the series, and I know for sure I couldn’t do justice to Frank Herbert’s work.  But i also know that at my worst, I could produce something better than the truly awful books his son wrote.  And so could every single person reading this post.

Now it’s your turn!

 

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6 Replies to “Welcome Wednesday – Rewriting History”

  1. I absolutely HATED the end of “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult. It felt like a cheap cop-out, and ruined the book for me.

    It’s a very complex, tightly-woven plot. The younger sister fights for the right to say what happens to her own body, eventually winning the right to refuse to donate her kidney to her sister. All of the characters grow and evolve up to this point in a logical and yet heartbreaking way. And then . . . boom! Minutes after winning her case, little sister is killed in a random car accident and big sister gets her kidney anyway. The random car accident feels like a totally illogical deus ex machina swooping in to save the big sister’s life.

    If I were to rewrite this book, I would end it with the older sister’s death because that seems like the logical ending for this particular story. Tragic, yes. Sad, yes. But also a believable conclusion that would fit with the spirit and tone of the rest of the book.

  2. I just finished reading Ghost Gifts by Laura Spinella. I hated the ending, as lots was definitely left “up in the air” – of course, to lead you to the second in the series. Didn’t work with me, however. It just annoyed me.

    The author has a wonderful voice and the story, a great premise. But the “romance” seemed to have been thrown in as an after thought, just to put it yet another category. There was one love scene that was so clumsily written that I was confused and couldn’t figure out what was going on…more like watching contortionists at a circus than a love scene.

    The H/H, at one point, follow a trail of flies – yes, flies – down into a tunnel underneath a graveyard. Which is so pitch black, for miles, that they decide they’ve “gone too far to turn back.” Nobody knows they’re down there, and their cellphones don’t work underground. For one thing, flies won’t fly for miles down a pitch black tunnel, especially when no foul odor was mentioned or materialized. Second, I think this qualifies the H/H in the “too stupid to live” category.

    If I were to rewrite this book, I would have a) given more importance/closure to the implied romance thread, b) written a love scene that made sense, or left it out entirely, c) given the characters a bit more common sense, so their actions were more believable, and d) done a bit more research on the flight habits of flies.

  3. ************** SPOILER ALERT: THE DIVERGENT SERIES **************

    If I could rewrite Veronica Roth’s Divergent series I would.

    When my son told me Tris would die, I stopped reading the book. It took me months to return to it and only after a fellow writer urged me to finish. I love happy endings where the couple end up together, so even though the ending was tastefully written and it “worked” for this series, I still was disappointed.

    I would have the bomb malfunction and her to run out. Four would knock her out and plant another bomb, saving himself. Happily ever after achieved!

  4. You know, I just don’t get this way about books. If a book disappoints me, I just stop reading it.

    Films, on the other hand? I have SO many films I’d love to redo. The second and third Matrix films. All of the Star Wars prequels. M Night Shyamalan’s The Village.

    Actually, The Village is an important one for me. I completely bought into the initial set-up – remote forest village beset by monsters at night – that when the inevitable twist came, I was crushed. I wanted a film about monsters hunting villagers in the night!

    So, over a decade later I wrote a book about it :p. Thanks, Mr Shyamalan!

    http://www.benedictpatrick.com

    1. I’ve gotten to the point where I stop reading if a book doesn’t work for me, too. I think James is talking about great books with lackluster or soul-crushing endings.

      I know I’d totally love to change the ending of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, for example. Poor Roland. I’d totally rewrite Wizard and Glass and give Roland and Susan a happily ever after. Those books broke my heart. But the ending was perfect and has haunted me ever since I read it over a decade ago.

      I’d also love to completely rewrite the second half K.A. Tucker’s Ten Tiny Breaths. It was great up until the big reveal. Then it just felt dirty, and I wasn’t comfortable with it at all. I thought the main character deserved much better, that the “love interest” was a creepy stalker with serious psychological issues. I only kept reading because I was still invested in the little sister. I think the MC should’ve filed a restraining order. I would’ve liked to see her have a HEA with her best friend and sister.

  5. I LOVED the first two thirds of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch – I was so worried about the troubled, neglected teens Theo and Boris, and the prose crackled with energy… then we move ahead a few years and Theo’s a drug-addicted, lying adult, who worst of all is incredibly dull! I would either end the book before the time jump or rewrite it so adult Theo, while still messed up, isn’t so boring and snobbish. And, being an M/M writer, I would definitely do something with all the sexual tension between Theo and his friend Boris – feelings teen Theo readily acknowledges, but dull adult Theo gets all homophobic about.

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