Thursday, June 16, 2011

Unanswered questions

While going through suggestions and red ink from my beta readers, a question popped up. And I'm sure the question will pop up when MB gets back to me with her opinion. With beta readers and critiques, when a question is brought up by more than one person that usually means there's a problem. Something needs to be changed. The thing is, the question I'm talking about isn't supposed to be answered in Being Human.

The question I'm talking about has to do with how my vampires turn a human. In one scene, Tommy, while trying not to kill a human, accidentally turns the human. Another vampire, Amy, helps him deal with the new vampire. Afterwards, she asks him if he knew how he turned the human. He says no. At that point, my betas wonder, why doesn't Tommy know? How can he turn someone and not know? Vampires always know how to turn a human! I'm not making sense!

Why the hell did I write it this way?

The real simple answer is at the time I was writing the scene, I had NO idea how it happened. I kid you not. Tommy had no idea so I had no idea. It wasn't until I was fiddling with what's going to be some what of a squeal, Drew's story - Being Vampire, that I figured out how to turn a human into a vampire and I only figured it out because Drew is faced with that decision.

That being said, I'm still not going to give the answers away in Being Human. The most I'm going to do is hint. I'll give a subtle hint that readers may or may not pick up on. Why? Because that question isn't supposed to be answered until I get to Drew. Tommy's story is about him figuring out what it means to be human. Drew's story is the opposite, he's figuring out what it means to be a vampire and therefore all the questions that readers may wonder while reading Being Human will be answered in Being Vampire.

Not every question is supposed to be answered in the first book. My all-time favorite author, Heather Brewer, she didn't answer a question I had in Eight Grade Bites until Twelfth Grade Kills. Five books later! It happens because that's how the story goes, not all mysteries will be solved ASAP.

It makes me a little nervous. How will readers react to the unanswered questions in my story? Will they understand? Shrug it off? Get annoyed? I know I get a little confused and frustrated if a question that pops up in a story isn't answered. How am I supposed to know the answer comes in a later book? I don't know and I have to realize I need to expect the same of my readers. They won't know that sometimes the answer comes in a later book. I have to be prepared for the reaction.


  1. I think if you make it clear that Tommy doesn't know how it happens then readers will be okay with that, we don't mind mind knowing only what the characters know. It's when the writer makes it clear that the character knows, but won't share the answer with the reader that people get narked, I think.

    As an added bonus, when readers find out the answer in the sequel they'll say to themselves 'aah NOW I get it' and feel like they've been let in on some secret. Well, I would anyway :)

    I hope this makes sense, it's 6.30am hre and I need coffee!

  2. 17, 2011 at 3:32 AM

    Personally, I think it's kind of cool, and refreshing, that Tommy doesn't know how he turned the human. I've read it several times, and it never bothered me that he didn't know. I don't think it requires ANY explanation!

  3. I don't know anything about any of this since I don't think about this topic and don't read the genre, but my thoughts are that if you are creating the world, then you are creating the rules. Consistency is the key--you must adhere to the rules you have created for your world and if you break them you must have a good reason that is logically acceptable to the reader.
    It's good to think it all through before the story's out there to have holes punched in it.

    Tossing It Out

  4. @Sarah, yeah, I think I make it clear Tommy has no idea.

    @Erin, =D

    @Arlee, Yup, I'm following the rules I created for my world. It's just tough because I know ppl will wonder and there is an explanation. It's just has to come later.

  5. Hi Patricia!

    I am totally okay with questions left unanswered as long as I have a reasonable expectation that my questions will be answered . . . eventually.

    But if a great story leaves me with questions and that needed second (or third or fourth or . . . ) book doesn't come, then I'm pissed at the PUBLISHER, not the writer. I trust the WRITER won't let me down--but the publisher is the one who holds my answers. Ya know?

    So right on, just the way you want/need it to be Patricia! If I love your story, I'll happily follow!

    And thanks for participating in #ninjachat tonight!