Translate

Monday, January 26, 2015

My personal thoughts on Ensnared's ending...


This past Sunday, the Splintered Series officially hit the New York Times Best Sellers list:



And I want to thank you! This could've never happened without all of  the awesome reader support. I'm planning a giveaway to celebrate and show my gratitude. It's coming soon! So be sure to stop by in March for details.

But first, not too long ago, I said I would share what went through my mind as I was wrapping up the final book of the Splintered trilogy. Anyone who has followed the series to its end deserves the inside track. 

So, let's get to it... 




Ensnared has been out for almost a month. If you've finished reading it, you’re probably feeling one or more of these emotions:
A) Elated
B) Bittersweet
C) Contented
D) Tangled up in feels
E) Dissatisfied
F) Vexed

G) Angry 
For those of you who are feeling E - G, I empathize. Although I have no control over how the ending might make people feel -- since reading is such a personal experience -- I've been there myself, upset about the final pages of a favorite series because I was left confused, dejected, or unsatisfied. So I do understand. 

I recently saw a fabulous article on Buzzfeed, and found this line pertaining to authors: "Taste is subjective, and you're not running for elected office." More fitting words have never been said.

Now that I'm in the author's seat, I look at those endings that once disappointed me -- or made me feel jumbled up inside -- quite differently. I now realize that it’s impossible for any writer to make everyone happy. 
Their only job, then, is to be true to their characters, and to tell an intriguing tale. 

One of my favorite quotes is by Gordon Lish: The secret of good writing is telling the truth.

I promise never to lie to you. I told the truth through my characters' eyes, down the line. And I'm hoping that Ensnared at least accomplished the following things for you:


  • Presented vivid settings, creatures, and scenarios that whisked you into the pages and helped you escape your everyday world. 
  • Offered twists and turns that kept you guessing and at the edge of your seat. 
  • Inspired swoons and angry outbursts and an occasional smile. 

If so, that's all I can really hope for as an author. I touched your emotions, and allowed you to wear someone else’s skin in a world that you would otherwise never see. Love triangles are subjective, and there is no resolution that everyone will consider perfect. So what I tried to do, from this book's beginning to its end, was entertain and inspire imaginations. And in that, I hope I succeeded.

To meet publishing guidelines, I had to cut 10,000 words from Ensnared's final manuscript, and a big chunk of those words came out of the last few chapters. There are deleted scenes that I wish could've remained in the book because they helped show how deep the sacrifices were running and how many emotions were involved in those decisions at the end.

However, I do get to share them with you (along with some new Splintered tales) in a follow up novella that will be released sometime within the next few months. But until then, I wanted to share what went through my mind as things were wrapping up in Ensnared. Believe me, the feelings/questions some of you have experienced, I did as well. 


Part of an author's process (often with the help of their editors or critique partners) is to play Devil's advocate and ask the tough questions they anticipate might run through readers' minds. We do this so that we can satisfy the answers for our own inner-editor enough to look past other people's opinions and find the story's ONE TRUE ending. 

Every book has one. But sometimes authors get talked into writing what the majority wants to happen instead (not always by readers ... sometimes by their publishers or friends). Or, the author decides it's too scary to write the true ending because it's in some way controversial, so they choose one of the easier, more palatable routes. 

When you read a controversial ending, the kind that causes mixed feelings or frustration -- or just a pure, heady emotional rush, whether it be positive or negative -- those are the endings that the author had to soul search to find. And rest assured, that author was terrified at some point to go through with it. 

That's how it was for me. 

Going through with the ending I knew was right for Ensnared was scary, because I had to justify it even during the editing stages. It was difficult and intimidating. But I believed in this ending so strongly, I fought for it. 

Why? Because it's the only ending that was true to my characters. They’re the ones who live in my head, so I was determined to make the choices that they wanted me to make so they wouldn’t haunt me day and night. ;)

Fortunately, I got to keep my ending. I'm so grateful for that! It helped, that for almost every question and concern tossed my way during edits, my own inner-editor had already asked it of me, so I had an answer. 

It's those "inner-editor" moments I'm sharing today, because they're some of the same questions you might be asking, and because the answers give insights into how the story played out, how the character arcs and canon figured in, and why certain plot choices were made, from my point of view as the author. 

Since there are Ensnared spoilers involved, and I wanted to keep the body of my blog spoiler-free, I wrote them into a PDF that you can link to below. 

Comment warning: I love chatting with my readers, so I left the comments open. But please be aware there might be spoilers there, so read them at your own risk. 



Now, onto my personal thoughts...

Before you delve into the PDF, BE AWARE . . . it has TONS of spoilers inside. Big fat, hairy-scary, matzah ball spoilers galore. 

Not only do I  talk about the ending, I also reveal some key plot points. So I'm asking that you please DO NOT open it unless you either want to be spoiled (Why? Why would you want to be violated in such a way?! The travesty! The humanity!); or, more preferably, you’ve already read book 3 and want an exclusive glimpse at the inner workings of the author’s mind.

Just be sure before you follow the link…


Click here to read the very spoilery PDF


I look forward to hearing from you in the comments! 

Also, I'm doing a live chat about Ensnared on February 7th at 2pm Central (8 pm GMT), in case you want to hang out with other readers, talk to me about the series, and possibly win some prizes. Follow the hashtag #NetherlingsRead on twitter for more info, or check out this announcement video:





Thanks for dropping by today, and I hope to see you again soon. :)


54 comments:

  1. love this post and you so much! major congrats to you and SPLINTERED, UNHINGED, and ENSNARED for making the NYT bestsellers list!

    *hugs you so hard*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you Twinkie! <3 I couldn't have done it without you and the goats! Also, I used your quote inside the PDF. Heh. *tackle hugs the cream filling out of you*

      Delete
    2. awww, i just saw it and blushed so hard!!! i am so, so proud of you and this series. xoxoxox

      *tackle hugs you right back*

      Delete
  2. Thank you for sharing this Anita!
    I do feel like the ending was the one truest for the story and for Alyssa, but I must confess that I felt affected by the resolution in a weird way, but it's really was more about my current emotional situation that is not very good, I was feeling so much for the situation that I had to distance myself emotionally from the whole thing to not be overwhelmed.

    The world was simply amazing and as visual as creepy as I can only expect from you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, I'm sorry for what your going through personally! It's interesting, how our perceptions of a book can be affected by real life. I can totally understand, because even while writing, my emotions often get entwined with my stories. That's both a tribute to your imagination as a reader, and to my imagination as a writer, I think. *hugs* And I hope you feel better soon.

      Delete
    2. Thank you Anita! I hope I will with time! Cannot wait to see what you'll write next!

      Delete
  3. Havent read the PDF yet but since I devoured book 3 already (hee hee hee), I will. But Ill be working when you have the contest :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks KSD! Don't worry about the giveaway. It will last a few weeks, so maybe you can still take part? :)

      Delete
  4. It took me a little while to come to terms with the ending of the novel. Just like one of the books mentioned in the pdf. But in the end I realized that it was very appropriate for the story and very satisfying.
    I look forward to reading more from you ans finding more characters that capture all my feels like Morpheus, Jeb and Alyssa!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally understand! I've been in the same situation. ;) But glad that at least it felt true to you! And can't wait to share what's on the horizon. :D

      Delete
  5. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there. I've loved this series since I picked up Splintered. Everything about the world and characters has been magnificent, and I can't wait to see what you bring to us next. Congrats on making the NYT Bestsellers List!!!! And thank you for throwing me into a world that I've loved for years, and putting a different spin on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Katrina! So happy you enjoyed the series, and I'm excited about putting out more stories!

      Delete
  6. Thank you so much for sharing this Anita! I wasn't dissatisfied with the ending, but I did feel like something was missing...turns out it was a whole 10,000 words! I hope you'll be able to share those missing scenes with us one day! I remember last month, I was at Barnes & Noble and the book covers catching my eye! On a whim, I bought Splintered & Unhinged and I just became so fascinated with this world you created! I had pre-ordered Ensnared and it was such an emotional roller coaster but so amazing! Thank you for this amazing trilogy! These characters have such a strong hold on my heart. I can't wait to hear about your new project! I'm super excited for it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank Shelby! And yeah, it was SO tough cutting those words. :( But, I'm really hopeful I'll be able to share them with you in the near future, one way or another. If nothing else, maybe another blog post like this one. :) So happy you stumbled upon the books. You've sent me some really fab fan art, too, so we're both lucky! :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks! I'm so happy you love my fan art! :) *hugs*

      Delete
  7. the only thing that didn't seem fair to me was the volume of pages LOL I would have loved to have at least 3 more chapters after the epilogue, showing her after that ending there.
    I definitively loved this series entirely, so much so, these are the 3 books that I red most.
    So looking forward to see what you come up with next.
    thanks for bringing me back to Wonderland <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *sigh* I tried to tell my publisher that the readers wouldn't mind a longer epilogue. LOL. Well, who knows. Maybe one day you'll get more of the story. ;) Thank you for the book support, and so happy you enjoyed the ending. :)

      Delete
  8. I have to say I love your work and the fact that you stay true to your characters and world. Its not an easy task to undertake because you'll never satisfy everyone but its the business unfortunately. Either way you did what was asked of a great author: you gave your characters SOULS. Something very hard to do. At least with me, i felt their emotions and clinged onto them as if I was Alyssa, Morpheus and Jeb. You kept it interesting from first to last page and i enjoyed the ending. It was fitting. Oh i do hope your publishers allow you to let us read the deleted scenes sometime soon. 😆.
    I truly love the series! And have read the entire three books back ti back twice. It helps me as a writer as well so thank you!

    Great work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! It means the world to me coming from another writer! As you probably know, when your characters become real to you, you'll do whatever it takes to give them the ending they want and deserve. ;) I hope to share those scenes one day!

      Delete
  9. I loved how it ended. You did awesome with the descriptions and vivid details and emotion, and all of it! I'm not sure I can wait till the end of February to hear about what I think you'll be telling us about. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you! And you have an idea of what this announcement is, huh? ;) Can't wait to share it and give some fun stuff away. :)

      Delete
  10. I loved the ending and thought it was the only way to end the story in a way that stayed true to the characters. I am so proud of you, Anita! You are not only an amazing, hardworking writer, but such a class act. I love reading over these comments and seeing how you interact with your readers--such a great role model to other authors (myself included!).

    xoxo :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *tackle hugs* You're so sweet, my goat sistah! <3 Thank you for your faith in me and my work. And I'm so looking forward to reading your fabulous debut!

      Delete
  11. I just want to say thank you so much for being an author and writing these amazing books. They have quickly become some of my favorites. Alice in Wonderland has always been a love of mine and the way you turned it on its head was just absolutely fantasic. Congratulations on finally joining that list! You deserve it. And from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I wish you and your family and friends a wonderful year of 2015 and I hope you keep writing the amazing things you do! :)

    -Jay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jillian, what a lovely comment! Thank you so much for the book support! And to know that you're a fan of Alice and that these books spoke to you is the best compliment you could've given me. Hope to see you in Feb for the announcement and giveaway!

      Delete
  12. A.G., you were my favorite author before I’ve read this text. And I can't even start to describe how I loved each one of the books in the Splintered series. But still I felt a little bit sad at the ending of Ensnared about things that I can’t say because they’d be spoilery. So, that ending was difficult do dig in, but ultimately I understood it, accepted it and liked it.
    And now reading all these things you just wrote I must say: It was perfect. It really cleared some doubts and makes all the sense. Now I admire you even more, and "rest assured" (I'm sure this was an expression I learned with Morpheus, LoL) I'll be reading EVERYTHING you write from now on. As an author, you've just won my blind trust . Congratulations.

    PS.: Where can I leave you my spoilery review of this text? Rsrs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Deborah, thank you so much! DAY MADE. :) And don't worry about leaving me the spoilery review, it came through in my email notifications. ;) In fact, I was reading it and wishing I didn't have to delete it from the comments because it was so beautiful, when you caught it yourself, deleted, and posted this one. So now I get to read both in my email any time I like. Haha! I'm so happy my thoughts helped you make peace with some of the sadness, etc... That's exactly what I hoped it would do. Can't wait to share more books with you!

      Delete
    2. Aw, so glad you recieved it. I noticed I was spoiling the comments as soon as I posted it rsrs. Oh yes, can't wait to read more from you ^.^

      Delete
    3. Did you read my review for the book in the Goodreads page? It's spoiler free ;)

      https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1170309935?book_show_action=false

      Delete
    4. I did! It was lovely. Thank you! <3

      Delete
  13. Anita you are a extremely talented writer. The way you turned wonderland into this amazing, magical, and twisted work made me fall in love with this whole trilogy and made me really love your characters. Alyssa is badass and Morpheus and Jen are just down right sexy. I have to admit when I finished Ensnared I felt a little torn but when I thought about it for a while I became content because it really is an ending true to your characters. I am really sad to see this trilogy end but I look forward to reading your future work. I definitely will be checking back for details about the giveaway (which is very generous of you by the way). Best wishes to you this coming year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ivy! And you aren't alone in your reaction. A lot of people are feeling torn. It's one of the reasons I wanted to reach out and give a little insight into the why(s), to maybe make it easier for some. ;) I'm hoping it's not goodbye forever to this world. I would certainly like to write more Wonderland tales some day! And I'll see you for the giveaway! Also, best wishes for your 2015, too.

      Delete
  14. Quiere decir que en febrero iniciaran las suscripciones al concurso?
    porque en verdad des}ceo participar y mucho mas ganar.Vera yo vivo en Culiacan Sinaloa y no puedo encontrar estos hermosos libros en ninguna librería y no podría estar mas contenta por tener algún premio relacionado con ellos <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hola! Traté de usar Google Translate para leer tu post, pero aún no podía entenderlo. Lo siento!

      Delete
    2. When will begin the subscriptions for the contest?

      Delete
  15. I think I've rewritten this three times now...I have always wanted to be a writer but never had someone to look up to, but after reading your books I do. I look up to you as an author and hope one day I write as well as you do. Over the past two years I've really struggled with self-harm and anorexia, but my happy place was curled up with Splintered and a cup of coffee. Thank you for unknowingly helping me for so long. You even released the books on my birthday, January 6th, which made me extremely happy and I've always wondered why that day? I can't wait to read more of your brilliant work and I wish you the best of luck and happiness this year. From a future author to a current author I thank you deeply for all you've done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry for your health issues, but equally glad that what I wrote helped you find a place of peace and escape to combat it. And to be held up as a role model to an aspiring author is such a great honor! I hope to share the shelves with you one day. :) Thanks so much for your kind words and book support!

      Delete
  16. I waited to read this post until I had finished Ensnared (even though it says no spoilers, I didn't want anything coloring my own reading... lol). And YES! You accomplished all you set out to do. You *definitely* created a world to escape to, and I loved every minute of it, even when I was hating it and my heart was breaking. Thank you. And hopefully someday we'll get to see the parts you had to cut - dang those publishers! lol I doubt any of us would've cared to have more to read... we would have relished it. I hate leaving this world behind, but take comfort in knowing I can revisit it at anytime, in varying formats (physical, ebook, and audio... I became a bit obsessed...). And now I shall go read the PDF. :)

    Thank you for writing, for being so awesome, and I look forward to reading more from you!!!

    xoxo,
    Brandy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Brandy! I'm so thrilled I accomplished all I set out to do! And especially that you loved the world. Also, there might be more one day. I really do want to revisit Wonderland again. I love it too much to say goodbye forever. ;)

      Delete
  17. I have not read Ensnared yet, but it is on its way to my mailbox and I can't wait to finally read the stunning, without question, ending! I appreciate that you took the time to write this post, and explain endings from an authors stand point. Even if an ending isn't what I had hoped, I want to know that the ending that I read is true to the author, to the characters and the story. I don't want an ending that was brought on by peer pressure, or in pursuit of making readers happy. I want an ending that, even though it leaves me all twisted up and feeling wonky, it also leaves its mark and I know that it was the right one. I truly appreciate the post, and I can't wait to come back after reading Ensnared and check out the spoiler PDF! Author insight just makes the story even better. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jaime! I look forward to you reading it, and hope you enjoy the extra insight the PDF will give after you're done. ;) Be sure and come back to let me know your thoughts! :D

      Delete
  18. I think the ending was perfect and stayed true to the story and characters. I can see how some people could have problems with it, but I loved it! And it always takes courage to write controversial endings. Kudos to you for that :)

    P.S. I will eagerly await those deleted scenes, especially if they contain more of my favorite moth ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you Jessi! Yeah, it was pretty scary to go out in the world with this ending, but it's the only one I could live with. ;) I couldn't let my characters down!

      And haha! You can rest assured your favorite moth is in those deleted scenes. I'll keep you posted!

      Delete
  19. I honestly feel like this would make a decent movie series as long as it is done correctly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree... Although it would have to be really well-cast, with a screenplay that stays close to the originals, and it would expensive to make with all the special effects that would be required. But I hope maybe one day it might happen!

      Delete
  20. Thank you so much for writing such an amazing, creative and wonderful story! Alice In Wonderland was one of my favorite stories and movies growing up and I still love it just as much. You took that fantastical story and made it twisted and so much better! The ending made me cry out of sadness, understanding, happiness and love, and I don't think you could have made a better choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tarah! I'm so happy you liked it! And the ending made me cry, too. ;/ I really hope to revisit this world one day again, because I love the characters and setting so much! :)

      Delete
  21. SPOILER WARNING
    DO NOT READ IF YOU DONT WANT SPOILERS!!!!

    Actually, I love the whole story! I read myths and legends from around the world as a kid, and certain ones always stuck with me. One of them was the greek myth of Persephone and Hades. When I read Alyssa's dad say to her, "How could you do this to Persephone? She's your friend!". That's when the smirk and the lightbulb went on, and i began plotting and wishing for the ending that you actually gave to the book. What surprised me was that after all my swooning over Mothra, I actually had a pang of regret that the only thing left of Jeb was his muse in the heart of wonderland. Such a nice guy. I almost wish he'd come back in the next book but i know that is never going to happen. Yup, I'm content with the ending. But you're right the last chapter was clipped. I cringed. Jeb and Alyssa had been through a lot; they deserved a a couple more paragraphs to their "afterwards" lifetimes. After huffing and practicing the "pick up the book put it back down, then read some then put it back down" exercise, I finally admitted that the shortness was genius. A novella would easily elaborate everything i'm missing from that last short chapter. The children, the time spent with Jeb, Jeb's epiphany and hard work on his new project, whether A and J ever did enjoy a vacation at the flat while her parents hang with "the family". I think the only friend they'd tell the truth to would be Jenara, and I think she would take it as truth too. I'd love to see if any of her children get curious about the rabbit hole...Overall, i'm enthralled with the series and looking forward to become entangled by more :) I just wish my mind would stop running with a new idea every month about future books...it's not my series it's Howard's lol!
    You write with a proactive, enlightening perspective. In one sentence, my perspective shifts...thought provoking stuff...Grenadine, how she always forgets her mistakes so she is always happy to give a go at something. The red queen, how she has hopes and dreams that she represses- maybe i have those too...how the mean girl has potential but doesn't take it, too- so all the "bad guys" got a good side that's repressed. I had never realized that before. The growth and strengths that i see in each main character inspires me to grow and find my strengths. To fly with my own wings, to avoid allowing my pride to define me and turn me into a monster; to make sacrifices for others even though initially i'm unwilling; to see my potential even when i feel like it's all gone, and to live flexibly and creatively. Thank you for lighting my path, and for giving me such a fantastical read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow! Thanks for the awesome comments! And also for labeling this spoilery so I wouldn't have to delete it. :) I'm so thrilled that my series meant so much to you, and that you learned things through my characters. That's the biggest compliment a reader can give a writer! I can't wait to share Untamed with you! :)

      Delete
  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi I am Jaysson, Brazil fan. simply amazing, in love with this story. crazy pro third book to be released in Brazil. environment is unique, passionate here ♥. Congratulations, thank you for doing that. I loved and you are beautiful, Kiss ♥♥♥

      Delete
  23. Hi, my little writter! ;) First of all, I have to thank you this perfect saga! Well, my name means Alice in spanish, so I do like almost everything related to Alice in Wonderland, but those books... are my love. I hope lots of people know ypur books and feel what I felt.
    Secondly, I have just read Ensnarned. But I have to admit that, when I finished, I really hated the end. Because Alyssa didn't choose any of the boys, and about the love triangle I had my own idea (Team Jeb foreveeeer!). The rest of the book was perfect, as the previous, so I do love it. But, the end of the love triangle was what made me hate it.
    Now, that I found your blog (trully lovely too), and I read your opinion, I think you wrote the right end. I understand you, and I share your point of view. I couldn't see it was a beautiful book because of the anger. Thank you so much for sharing your opinion (and for thousand things more).
    A pleased fan:
    Alicia, or Alice (a descendant of Alice, who go down the rabitt hole ^.^)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alicia! You're not the only one who felt that way. And I anticipated that reaction from some readers the moment I wrote those final chapters. But I just had to do what felt true to my characters/world.

      I'm so happy you came here and got satisfaction from my explanations! Also, I hope you get to read Untamed soon (if you haven't yet). It offers even more closure and peace in a lot of ways. Plus, you get to read about kids, etc... :) Thanks so much for leaving this comment, and for the book support!

      Delete