Sunday, March 11, 2012

Predictably Speaking

First a bit of news:

My buddy Cole Gibsen’s debut YA novel, KATANA, came out this week. The weaponry on the cover—to say nothing of the title—hints at serious swordplay. I suspect there is also icky girl stuff in there, but you can find out for yourself at http://www.colegibsen.com/ and at the Apocalypsies blog http://apocalypsies.blogspot.com/.

Another Apocalypsie (and YA Fusion blogger) Kristen Simmons http://www.kristensimmonsbooks.com/, signed her debut novel, ARTICLE 5, at Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville KY this past week http://www.carmichaelsbookstore.com/. Kristen told the large and enthusiastic crowd about her journey, then she read and gave away swag.

Although I did not win an ARTICLE 5, ‘How I Can Help Survive The Apocalypse’ prize, I did come away with a swank bookmark announcing that (drum roll) YA Fusionista Bethany Griffin http://bethanygriffin.com/ will sign her new book, MASQUE Of The RED DEATH, at Carmichael’s on Friday April the 27th at 7.

And one more bit about Carmichaels and a YA Fusion member. Author Kelly Creagh http://www.kellycreagh.com/ was also at the signing, and while there, she autographed a couple in-stock copies of her novel, NEVERMORE. If you hurry, you might score one.

All of which, leads me to... When Kelly wasn’t scribbling in books, we talked about plot predictability, and she asked if I want to know what is going to happen next in a book. Oddly enough, that’s what I’d planned on rambling about this week, so without further ado:

Do I want to know what is going to happen?

No.

Okay, that’s a tad brief for a ramble, so let me flush it out. I like a believable surprise. Within the context of the story, I like characters to make consistent decisions that logically drive the plot to believable but unpredictable places. I like to be out-thought (not saying it’s hard).

Except when I don’t.

On rare occasions, I like knowing that the light at the end of the tunnel is a train. Seeing the impending impact only makes the crash better.

So here’s my rule: If I know what is going to happen next, the scene has to be better than a Roadrunner cartoon (and good luck with that). Not everyone agrees with me—you can find an interesting discussion on spoiler alerts at: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/14/139620278/spoiler-alert-you-dont-need-spoilers.

Please share your tastes in plot predictability. While you’re commenting, please list a couple books you find especially satisfying, either because of a surprise ending or because of Wile E. Coyote levels of predictability.

11 comments:

Kristin Lenz said...

Nice post, Kurt, and lucky you to live near Carmicheals - it sounds like a great bookstore and so fun to see our blog partners in person.

Regarding plot predictability - I love to be surprised, but have all the pieces fall into place at the same time. I just finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor which kept me guessing until the very end, but it all came together. And then, she ended with the worst 3 words ever... "to be continued." But that's another topic for another post!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm been wondering why I know the name Bethany Griffin. And now I finally remember why. She wrote Handcuffs. I loved that book and read it twice. I still have it.

Kurt Hampe said...

Kristen,

Thanks for commenting and for the recommendations.

And the race is offically on now, which of us will rant about "to be continued..." first?

Stina,
I enjoyed Handcuff, too, and also Bethany's challenge to guess which scene came from real life.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Wow, Carmichael's is the place to be! I like to be surprised as well but how to do that as a writer still seems as mysterious as ever. And so I make offerings to the Muses.

Kristen Simmons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristen Simmons said...

Thanks for the shout out Kurt! And yes, Carmichael's is the coolest! I had such a good time there. Love this update of what's going on with everyone. Thanks!

Regarding predictability: Am I lame if I say I don't like surprises? I mean, I like a little bit of a surprise...but I like the illusion that I'm clever enough to have solved the mystery (if there is one) myself. :)

Kurt Hampe said...

Vicky,
Thanks for commenting, and as far as offering up to the Muses, I hear they like high-end powertools. And I'm willing to store them for you--maybe give them a little exercise.

Kristen,
You're welcome for the shout out. I'm about halfway through A5. I just got to the part where... oh, wait, I don't like spoilers.

Kurt

Colette Ballard said...

Nice post, Kurt. I love to be surprised, but within reason. I don't like endings that are too outrageous to ever believe, nor do i like ones that make me feel like i've just watched an episode of Care Bears.

Meghan Kirkland said...

Just wanted to let you know that there is an award for you on my blog! Have a nice day!!!

http://meghankirkland.blogspot.com/2012/03/sunshine-award.html

Angela Ackerman said...

I've heard some good buzz about Katana, so congrats to Cole. I also read Article 5, and it was a great read. :) Plus Kristen is the nicest person ever!

To me, there's nothing better than being surprised in a book. I love authors who can manipulate a reader into expecting X, but then having Y happen instead, which is even that much more awesome than X would have been.

Kurt Hampe said...

Colette, I will forever link you to the Care Bears. Which is going to mess with my head when I read your steamy scenes.

Meghan, thanks for the sunshine award. Like the doors on the Starship Heart of Gold, it is our pleasure to open for you, and our satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done.

Angela, thanks for commenting. Your observation that there is nothing better than being surprised in a book, makes me think we should start of a list of comparable exeriences. What is as good as a good read? I'm willing to test the experiences of owning a Ducati motorcycle and a Laguna bandsaw.