This week at the SFF Seven, we’re discussing collaborations – if we’ve done them and what our dream collabs would be.
I’ve never (quite) collaborated with another writer on actually composing a story. I added in that “quite” because my friend, Jim Sorenson, and I did start writing a book together. However, even though we wrote several chapters, our mutual agent (Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency) didn’t ever love what we came up with. Getting our voices to gel together was a challenge. We’ve talked about going back to the project, which I’d love to do someday. It’s definitely a different way of working though!
The collaborations I do regularly are anthologies! My bestie Grace Draven and I love to put together anthologies, either of stories from just the two of us, or with more writers. Our next project is THE WATERS AND THE WILD, an anthology that will include fae novellas from Grace, Dana Marton, Maria Vale, and myself. It will be out in late April, with a special print edition available for Apollycon attendees, and then available in ebook and regular print form after that. I’m very much looking forward to what everyone comes up with!
If I could collaborate with any writer, living or dead, it would’ve been Anne McCaffrey. I was too late to meet her and too slow in coming to writing fantasy to be one of the several writers privileged to write in her worlds. I would’ve LOVED to do that and, in one of the sliding doors versions of my life, I believe it totally happened.
Thoughts on leaving readers with an emotionally satisfying ending, regardless of whether it makes perfect sense plot-wise, along with a story about buying wedding flowers and celebrating with joy.
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.
Delicious. Today is oh say it with me Friday ah June Third my friend’s wedding weekend. For something that started as um, basically we’re going to run to the justice of the piece we’ve ended up making this into quite the party and it’s been awesome. It’s ah been really super fun. I’m really glad that Charlie and Megan decided to do the party in a way that. Included all of us and lets us just do something purely fun.
Ah, hummingbird is busy. It’s kind of a little breezy morning here in Santa Fe but it’s supposed to be really beautiful today. Just a little tumultuous here it as the sun comes up but warm enough to be outside without sleeves. so so yeah um yesterday was a good day I felt like I was behind all day. Um I had went to writer breakfast coffee brunch and. That was fun. Um, you know, but still it just sets my morning back and I have to try to be let go of that because I do feel like the social interaction with friends is important right? And then I went to trader joe’s and bought the flowers for the wedding and I think I told the story on here before it that I was like I want to do the flowers for the wedding. It worked out great going to trader joe’s it turned out that they were turning over their flowers on thursday morning. My mom commented that her trader joes doesn’t seem to have as um, big a flower section. Ours is quite extensive and I was there. It’s right by the front doors and I was there um filling my cart. And it was. It was really funny because this was one of the best parts because very often going to trader joe’s is not a happy experience as far as the other people are concerned. It’s it’s a happy experience for buying what we want to get. And for the you know prices in general but people tend to be really stressed there like no and I don’t know why the parking lot tends to be like a rage fest I don’t know why so this was. Pure joy. Um, people were just commenting one person after another and people were like oh look how beautiful the flowers are and then they’d be like and look at you look at you with this card full of flowers and I said yes. My friend is getting married this weekend and they’re like that’s such a good idea to do it this way and um, it was just um, seeing how happy it make people. It made me think of the movie Bed of roses which I love this movie.
Where he talks about Christian Slater talks about after his wife died why he goes into the floral business because and I’m I’m gonna have to paraphrase but he he has this wonderful thing where he talks about you know that there’s something about delivering flowers to people that it’s out like. Best moments in their lives or the worst moments. But either way their faces when they take the flowers and he takes her who is a very wounded person along with him and she gets to experience that same delight. And and I could see it yesterday in people’s faces when they they looked there was this one older lady who um, you know said can I get to those and I said oh yes, you know pulling my laden card out of the way and I’m like just yell at me if I’m in your way and she goes. Ah. It was funny. Um, so and even in the parking lot I have my cart out there. You know and I’ll throw the photo on the show notes you laden with all of these colorful flowers and this. Lady and her daughter pull up. You know they’re they’re passing behind you know, like in the lane and she stops and they have the windows rolled down and she goes those flowers are so beautiful and I said for the upteeth time you know my friend is getting married this weekend and she’s like oh that’s so wonderful and so then i. Stepped pictures of the cart and texted Megan and said do you want to see the flowers or do you want to be surprised and she didn’t reply right away cause she was at work and as I’m driving home I get the text from her and. Saying I want to see and then she adds I hope I didn’t miss my window by not responding right away and I was like now of course I took the pictures anyway and sent them to her. Um, and she said um, it’s just so much. Joy. Um, and it is you know a joyful thing get married 2nd wedding for both of them and um, yeah, that’s really cool. So um. Yeah, so then I brought them home and realized I had a little bit of a problem I’d been thinking about it like where am I going to put them and then I had a stroke of genius and put them in the washing machine. Ah I tried doing like the pre-soak thing but it wouldn’t.
Fill I think I had to have stuff in there already. So then I just filled the the bucket that David uses to refill the fish tank did a couple of runs of that and filled up the washing machine and it it held I’m curious to see I’m going to look this morning and see if the water’s still standing in it I think it will hold until I drain it. So I just had all of the bouquets in there and then some in the bucket and I don’t maybe I’d gone overboard in acquiring but the armloads of flowers and it was funny because I’d had a specific budget mind but I didn’t count. As I was loading up the flowers I kind of just went with proportions of you know oh I want these I want these I want these and then I had to grab a couple of grocery things too. So I did that and I came out like $10 over budget I thought well that was amazing. So then I had to get to actual work and work on the book and I ended up adding like 2700 words yesterday and made it almost all the way through the second of the 4 epilogues, two to go you people Ah oh well. Yeah. It is what it is so ah, we’ll see how far I get today I would love it if I could get the last 2 epilogues today. Maybe they’ll be shorter second one was longer is what it is. And I still have to add the last few lines because I wasn’t by the time I finished yesterday. It was like almost 3 finished my 3 hours and I went longer I went like 15 minutes longer Dorinda signed off and I said um I’m going to stick with it and see if I can get these last few sentences and it ended up being more than a few sentences. And then I wasn’t sure if it was right I wasn’t quite hearing hearing the words. so I stopped if so I’ll see how it looks this morning and so then I did not go to in-person yoga. Because it was too tight of a turnaround and I thought I need to deal with these flowers and I wanted I really wanted to get them all arranged and into vasas so that and I’d gotten out I borrowed some some from Megan just like 4 and then it turns out you guys I have a lot of vases. But. So I had all my vases lined out and I thought well if I end up with not enough faces at least doing this tonight I can return any of the ones I don’t use to water and then go run to Michael’s or something tomorrow and get the.
Get some more vases or Tuesday morning. So I spread out I put a sheet on the rug. Well David and I ate dinner first but that’s we don’t you don’t need the blow by blow. Even though I’m giving it to you and we did ended up eating a fairly early dinner and. Then I spread the sheet out on the carpet in the living room and I just started and I got out a big garbage bag you know because they’re all wrapped in cellophane. So you know tookck off the cellophane took off the elastic and laid them out and bunches by type of flower and color and dan i. Started doing the arranging and I had 1 really big face that I had to like solve an engineering problem for um because the flowers looked too. Short in them. You know, like even the really tall lilies like barely stuck over the top of it I solved my engineering problem and I felt very clever for that as well and got my other bouquets all arranged and it ended up coming out just fine. So. Yeah, they are um, they’re beautiful. Beautiful I’m very happy with them. So this afternoon I need to text the homeowners of where the wedding is going to take place and see when I can drop those off I’m going to try to go take those flowers this afternoon. And couple other little tasks little errands and then um, yeah, and then party at their house tonight and I got out of all of my SFWA meetings for tomorrow. So I can go hang out at the pool. With with people and I may end up working on this book more first thing in the morning. Yeah because I would really love to dive into revising on Monday I haven’t revised those final pages yet. So.
So now that’s that’s my story and I’m sticking to it I did up. Um I put a lot of it on Instagram stories I made a real I need to like make a story too. But I kind of did some of that this morning and. Also slept long because I think I stayed up a little late so I’m running a bit behind but I’m on top of things I feel like I’ve got plenty of time to work on the book today and do the other things for the wedding and just have a really fun party weekend.
Yeah, so dont know do I have anything else to say At writer coffee yesterday they were telling me an interesting story because I was saying that on this book that my concern is is that I’ve not stuck the ending the way that I want to and Jim Sorenson was talking about um because he’s like involved in transformers and gi Joe and so he hands up going to. Different conferences than I do but he so I can’t remember the writer but it’s like one of the ones I think who did incredible hulk and he said he was talking about how at the end of one of them. That’s sorry about this where I won’t get my specifics. Jim could tell you but anyway ah I guess Bruce I remember it was incredible Hulk Bruce banner goes running after the train at the end she she gets on the train and then heing goes running after the train and trying to stop her but the train pulls away. And all dejected. He turns around and goes back and she’s standing there on the train platform and they embrace and it’s all good and he says that audiences love this ending. Love love love this ending. It’s like the huge emotional punch reward ending and it’s like what a. Best received endings he’s ever done and he hates it. He hates this ending because he says it actually makes no plot sense whatsoever and he wrestled with this ending because he’s like if she’d already gotten on the train. How did she know to get back off the train again and how did she get off the train when the train’s already been moving that she’s back on the platform. None of this matters to the audience because the audiences love the emotional reward of the ending and so that was what Jim was saying to me is like you know you’re doing these epilogues and you’re doing this big emotional reward for the ending. He said nobody’s going to mind whether or not, you’re ending of like the the resolution of the plot actually makes any sense. So ah yeah I thought to. Um, was probably what I needed to hear.
I know that um from inside the writer brain that we can belabor things quite a bit more than the readers will and then readers end up belaboring things that make no sense to us that they focus on. So yeah, it’s a good. Exercise in zen and I do agree. This is one thing that I have learned over the course of writing books and seeing which ones work is that once I got really good at real. Really good. I feel vain saying that but I feel like I’ve gotten much better at it anyway of delivering that emotionally satisfying ending that it it makes all the difference because it’s what you leave the reader with in the end. It’s that feeling that they close the book with. So so yeah, it’s really the opposite of the cliffhanger ending right? because the cliffhanger ending isn’t actual ending. It’s a moving straight into the next story. Yeah, so it’s um, it’s useful to think in those terms and of course you can’t please everyone all the time I saw a review of one of my books yesterday where somebody said that they wished that there had been more resolution at the end or you know that I had tied up more of the events and like and I couldn’t there was too much I’m sorry you wish that um you know if wishes were horses sometimes sometimes you’ve got a. Decide where you’re going to stop the book. You know I could have stopped it earlier that that’s you know one way or the other. But when you’re writing a series that’s in a continuous arc. It’s not always possible to tie up that full you you can put in that scene with that. Um, emotional resolution but sometimes it’s not enough for everybody if not all the questions are tied up so but but this is tying up the four book series and in some ways the whole. Whole series right? you know and that’s why it’s been fun to touch back to that original Twelve kingdoms trilogy in these scenes kind of bridging the generations I’m really enjoying that. Yeah, so.
You know I mentioned and and quite a few of you replied back to me with aghast faces that this might be the end of the 12 kingdoms and uncharted realms world. Yeah I don’t know maybe maybe not. Right now I don’t have clear ideas of what I would write next. It could be that I’ll write like little novellas here and there it could be that I’ll get some idea that will connect it. Um I remember 1 reviewer. It was really funny in reviewing the forgotten empire’s trilogy said it was set in the same world as. 12 kingdoms and uncharted realms and I was like um, no, no, not not even close. In fact I went to some effort to make them distinct worlds. But for those of you have been reading along with Heirs of magic ah you will will. You know there’s the altar realms and so there’s this thing that you know like maybe the world can connect I don’t know we’ll see. Um, yeah, so all right I’m gonna go get to work see if I can get this uploaded in time to ah. Concentrate on these epilogues but I hope you all have a wonderful weekend I hope that it is joyful in any way that you can make it joyful and I will talk to you all on Monday you all take care bye bye.