Seanan McGuire (seanan_mcguire) wrote,
Seanan McGuire
seanan_mcguire

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Poor reviews, expectations, and endings.

Moshe posted his review of Deadline. He didn't like it very much, which is absolutely his right as a reader, and some of his points as to why he disliked the book are interesting and thought-provoking for me. Most of the time, I don't link to the negative reviews, both because I try to be fairly positive (biosphere ignition and all), and because I don't want to risk accidentally sending a swarm of people over to yell at a reviewer* for being wrong.

(*All reviews are matters of opinion. One man's trash is another man's treasure is a third man's raw materials for their planet-buster earthquake machine. Please do not yell at reviewers, unless the reviewers are saying things like "and this book is so bad that it proves the author likes to microwave kittens." If I am accused of being a kitten microwaving fiend, feel free to step in.)

I did not meet this reviewer's expectations, and my ending did not meet his standards for "this is how a book should end." That is fair, and I am sorry, although I stand by the shape of the story. I do find it interesting that there's often this assumption that a) things are artificially inflated into trilogies, and b) my publisher forced me to end Deadline the way that I did. So I wanted to state two things, for people who may have been wondering:

This was always a trilogy. It's a trilogy not because people expected it to be, but because that was the shape the story took. I started writing Feed (then Newsflesh) as a stand-alone book, and watched as it turned into something longer, a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Acts one, two, and three. We went to Orbit with three books, one finished, one half-finished, and one heavily outlined. The next project I'm planning to undertake as Mira Grant is a duology, rather than the admittedly more marketable trilogy. Why? Because that's the shape of the story.

The ending of Deadline (then The Mourning Edition) was always exactly as written. Why the stress? Because when you read the book, I want you to understand that the book's last line was in the original pitch package. Orbit had absolutely nothing to do with that ending. If anything, they might have encouraged me to provide something a little more concrete, and a little less "now is the time that the house lights come up and we all go to intermission."

The Newsflesh trilogy is a Schwartz musical, not a Sondheim; it's a 1980s horror film, not a 1950s monster mash. That's just how the story is shaped. I'm really sorry if I let any of you down, or if you don't like this shape. But it was my choice, not my publisher's, and it was dictated to me by the way the story needed to go. I will always go the way the story needs to go, even if that way isn't the one that's guaranteed to make the most people happy.

Treasure, trash, or death ray. It's all in the eye of the beholder.
Tags: contemplation, deadline, mira grant, reviews, writing
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