First Cup of Coffee – June 3, 2022

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.




Transcript
00:01.12
jeffekennedy
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

00:26.00
jeffekennedy
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.

02:08.48
jeffekennedy
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.

07:46.34
jeffekennedy
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.

13:19.72
jeffekennedy
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.

19:01.38
jeffekennedy
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.

23:28.66
jeffekennedy
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.

24:48.32
jeffekennedy
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.

29:48.52
jeffekennedy
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.

35:18.26
jeffekennedy
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.

First Cup of Coffee – March 18, 2022




Transcript
00:00.67
jeffekennedy
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

00:16.73
jeffekennedy
Sometimes you just have to take a moment to savor the coffee. Um today is say it with me Friday woo March eighteenth kind of a darkish morning here in Santa Fe we from. Been getting a lot of sort of rain snow very springtime in the rockies around here. Great moisture. Did I tell you guys I don’t think I did I’m supposed to let go of this and I haven’t let go of it yet. We had a substitute postal carrier and he ran over my rain gauge I have. Had bought a rain gauge and put it out. We have sort of we have like a circular driveway with this cactus garden in the middle and I had it like two feet inside of the rock border of the cactus garden and this guy who was obnoxious anyway and I I woke. I won’t bitch about all the ways in which he was invasive I only saw the 2 days like our regular guy who’s fantastic and we tip in generously every year because he’s fantastic must have been on vacation or something how dare he and so there’s a substitute guy and he’d like. Clipped so far over into the cactus garden that he ran over my ringage and shattered it and I know I’m supposed to be letting go of it. It was not an expensive rainage. But I have no idea how much moisture we’ve gotten in the last few days because ran over my rain. Gauge I am bitter I haven’t complained about I considered it but he hasn’t been back so anyway. Ah yeah, so ongoing rains. No sleep. Little bit of accumulation. Not a lot. Not super cold either. It’s like hovering right around freezing. But yeah, very um, winterry kind of wintry press lots precipitations March which is good. We want it? Ah so. Yesterday yesterday was a day. Ah I did not get my 2000 words I got a little over a thousand. Um I I hit tired I I did my first couple of hours and I was gonna do my third and I still had like 900 words to go and i. Really hit tired I I wonder if it was partly from having the stuff done the day before like my body was still recovering from anesthesia or you know just like being poked at and all of that. But yeah I felt tired and so I um finished out some stuff.

03:03.13
jeffekennedy
You know, handled some SFWA things that I needed to approve and so forth and then I knocked off early and started watching snuggled into my chair and started watching Severance you guys been watching Severance? It’s on Apple Tv um I saw one gel I follow Regina Small who used to be with RT and was like when the first people to love my books so she obviously has fantastic taste and she had posted a funny set of pictures because they she’s got a little boy who’s like for and. She and her husband had a date night and so she had photos of her and her husband in New York with their wine and she said um, yes, your mom and dad had date night so that they could drink went out to pick oh that we was um. Splurched spl fliurched on a babysitter so that they could go out drink wine and talk about severance and I thought huh what is severance so I start watching it and there’s um, 6 episodes out so far. The sixth 1 comes out today and some it’s kind of a freaky show. And like especially after that episode 5 I’m like now I want to go out and drink wine and talk about severance with somebody facto I should tell Megan that so that she will um, put that on her schedule. Ah, yeah, it’s it’s one of those shows where I’m I’m so intrigued and it keeps getting twistier and twistier and I hope they won’t like make it so Twisty and weird that it ends up making no sense anyway. So I was watching my show and then. I had watched an episode and it’s pretty intense. So I bounced off and my mom had told me to watch a 60 minutes thing about Ted Lasso because I’d got my mom to watch Ted Lasso so I went and found that on Youtube and I was watching that mom and it had a fire going on the fireplace and I thought. You know, as soon as that was done. It was like a 15 minute segment I was going to get up and feed the cats and pour some wine and put some lazonia in the oven because David had decided to go out and get a few rides he drives through uber and so he said he’d go out and get a few rides before. You know evening the afternoon flights coming in and so forth. So about four thirty David text man he got rear ended so I will put picture on the show notes everybody was fine. Our car may be totaled. It’s.

05:48.90
jeffekennedy
It’s hard to say the the rear end is really missed up. Um, kicked off the muffler and the whole exhaust train pipe underneath I’m not a car person and ripped off the back bumper and kind of jacked up the trunk I mean it’s a. It’s a Toyota camera that’s got over two hundred thousand miles on it. 225000 so I mean it’s had a good life. It’s served as well. We’ll find out if it can be repaired so I drove into town to get David he had passengers at the time 2 really nice guys. Polish guys. From Denver originally from Poland I guess Polish accents but have been in Denver for like 20 years and they were just down here touring and they just wanted to get to the Plaza. They just wanted to see the Santa Fe Plaza and the cops had kept them there for a long time keeping everyone’s id so. Um, what had happened was I I won’t go too into the weeds for you guys because you don’t know Santa Fe streets and stuff. But this gal was in It’s a fairly busy street. It was on serreos for those of you who do know but serreos on the plaza side of St Francis so they had crossed st francis it was after the railroad runner train had gone by so over they surging forward. Leaping forward to get out and you know be ah free at last and this gal in front of David was in the left hand lane and he was right behind her in the left hand lane and. This other person came zooming up on the right cut left in front of her and across traffic to turn into this street where la shows is if you know Santa Fe I said I wouldn’t get into the weights and I did sorry and and so she hit the brakes and David. Stopped and had his foot on the brake and he was making sure that he didn’t hit hurt which he didn’t and the gal behind him slammed into him so but fortunately the gal in front of David got the plate of the person who pulled that shit because they. Toward left in there. But then there was traffic and they weren’t able to Zoom off. So apparently the cops had told David that they had already located that person so we’re David’s fine he seems to be doing well he’s had a couple hot bas. But so far now. Ill effects and I think they um you know didn’t hit terribly hard despite the the damage he says he got a little bit of Whiplash. So we’ll see how he did so it was a good thing I hadn’t started.

08:34.94
jeffekennedy
Drinking my wine I had to figure out how to put out the fire I’d won those fire logs and I to put it out because I thought all we needed was for me to come back and have the house be on fire. It was fine so went got him and then gave his passengers a ride dropped them off to the pla I’m like do you want me to. Drop you off at our favorite bar. That’s like a block from the plaza so you guys can get a drink and and they’re like no we want to get to the Plaza. So I was like all right, take it right to the plaza and drop them off so at least they achieved their destination but only at like an hour’s delay more than an hour. Probably. Ah, the 2 cars had to get towed off. Yeah so that was our excitement. We’ll see what happens with getting another car if this one’s totaled. We didn’t owe much on it. So maybe we’ll be able to get something else. Although David was saying I really don’t want to try to shop for a car in this market and that’s like you know it? So so hard to get cars right now. But maybe we can get a good use. 1 David’s really been wanting to get an electric car. Which would be great for you know, doing stuff around Santa Fe so maybe we’ll look into that that’ll be nice. So um, that’s what we’re doing and I’m going to the nice thing about. My new schedule is that I only need 2800 words 28 61 to hit 10 k for the week so I am going to try for that today because it’s less than 3000 math and. We’ll see if I can get that and that way I’ll be back on track and if not oh well that’s just worth worth shooting for right um. Yeah I’m closing in on the act 1 climax so I may be slowing down slightly on that because I I do need to get the stake set up and I’m still not entirely sure how this is gonna go I even asked doranda about this the other day because this is um, The Storm Princess and the Raven King last book in Heirs of Magic. Um, this is Salena and Rhyian’s story and I set this up in the prequel. Novella The Long Night of the Crystalline Moon and I knew from then kind of what.

11:15.77
jeffekennedy
At least what trope I wanted to use for this fourth book and and and those of I don’t some of you have been reading. Others have not but they have ah a huge problem. With their love affair and I think I could tell you because this is not spoilery because it comes out at the very very beginning of the prequel novella and book one so that Salena and Rhyian were lovers when they were teenagers first. Love beautiful and all of this and Rhyian screwed it up by cheating on her. And I know and in an unforgivable way. I mean is there a forgivable way to cheat. But um, you know basically he panicked she told him she was in love with him and he panicked and he screwed it up kind of on purpose because Rhyian is a messed up boy. So. Now. They’ve sort of been trusting each other’s company on this whole quest and fighting with each other for those of you keeping up with it and so now comes great resolution and so I’ve known kind of how I want them to come back together. But. Now I’m not sure how it’s going to dovetail with the external arc of the quest of what they need to do to resolve the quest and so I’m I’m overthinking I’m thinking too much. We’ll see how it goes but I’ve got like 18000 words on it so far eighteenth eighteen four 60 so and I’m shooting for around 95 so it’s not terrible. Um, we shall see him. So um I did make a note that I wanted to talk about cliff hangers which. This is a term that’s getting thrown about in reader stuff yesterday and some of this comes from responses to what I talked about yesterday with the readers really going after Jennifer L Armentrout which I am am reliably told Meghan Ciana Doidge commented on the Instagram post. That she thinks readers are reading it wrong and you know what do you do this happens I remember when I was teaching at community college teaching writing and I was using best american short stories and we were. Talking about some of the stories and one of the gals in the class said this story sucks. There’s there’s no nothing redeemable in this story and I said well the story doesn’t suck.

13:58.27
jeffekennedy
Story isn’t a bad story because obviously enough people thought that it was a really good story for it to get best americans short stories. So there are things that you don’t like about it. But it’s not objectively bad and she said no it is bad. She said my opinion matters. And I and I find that very interesting because I do think we’ve moved that way as a culture where everybody’s opinion has equal weight and it’s like well yeah I mean you get to say whether or not you like a thing you know and as a reader. Yeah, absolutely read the thing that you like and if you don’t like a book. Yeah, you don’t like it. But you don’t necessarily get to say this is what the book does ah because that is your subjective opinion and what happened with Jennifer is that apparently she tried to explain. That readers had misinterpreted some things about the book which Megan says yeah they misinterpreted but it’s it’s a balance right? because as I mentioned yesterday readers take in a book and make it their own. We all read things to our subjective lens. And I’ve talked about numerous times on here about going back and rereading books. Ah you know thirty years later and reading it in a totally different way because I bring a totally different set of experiences to the story than I did when I read it when I was younger. So this is something that really happens. Um, do readers read things wrong probably I mean there are times when people bring their own experiences to something and so they say well this is bad and it’s like well it’s not bad. And and and we can go to the other end of the spectrum on this because you guys have heard me rant before you know like um, Stephen King said that Stephenie Meyer was a bad writer you know and and people talk about like twilight being badly written and it’s like no no, no. People don’t read 5-800 pages of a book that is badly written. It may not fit a particular aesthetic that you have but that doesn’t mean it’s bad so cliff hangers. 1 thing that and I get this all the time too. People will say that a story ends that my stories end in cliffhangers and the thing is is if you are writing a series you are going to have open ended threads at the end of the book and.

16:47.44
jeffekennedy
Different readers have varying tolerances for how open endeded that ending is so let’s talk about what a cliffhanger actually is a cliffhanger is a deliberate device that was developed in serials I think from like melodramas. Where it was literally. The story would end with a person hanging off of a cliff. Okay, you know like we have the whole joke about um, you don’t like those old melodramas where the heroin is tied up on the railroad tracks and here comes the train lone game jones there is a song. Um, and they would end with the character in grave peril hanging off of a cliff a cliff hangar that is what a cliffhanger means it’s it’s a non ending well readers really throw this around now. That they call anything that doesn’t have every any story that doesn’t sufficiently tie up everything that they want to know by the end of the story. They tend to call a cliff hair and as my assistant Karine will say you know she says I don’t think they know what this word means and it’s like yeah. It’s it’s being misapplied and the thing is is that there are a lot of authors out there doing the serial cliffhanger style approach. It’s being used a whole lot in. Kindle unlimited ecosystem right? I even listened to a class taught by 1 gal who said that she’d built her career off of cliffhans and she said make them the cliffiest of cliffhangers make those cliffhangers sharp. She said those readers will. Write to you and they will bitch at you and then they will read the next book and so she was leveraging that it. It’s a method. It’s a way of doing things hydrop pause to sneeze there. So and I read. 1 of her books and it did end with the hero and heroine in grave peril you know it was like they were surrounded and it looked like they’re going to get killed I can’t remember the specifics but it was something like that and it ended and it’s like that. Is a cliffhanger if you have someone writing a series and you know it’s a series in particular if if a book doesn’t claim to be standalone then you’re going to have dangling threads at the end you are going to have some things that are open-ended.

19:38.23
jeffekennedy
Even a book that finishes a series or is a standalone may not answer every single question because sometimes there are things that can’t be answered. So. Maybe we’d need a different term I like open-ended. You know we could call it something else, but it’s not a cliffhaner and you know I actually don’t pay much attention to when readers complain that my book ends on a cliff hanger. Maybe I do pay some attention because I it irritates me because I actually don’t do cliffhangers I don’t do the literal definition of a cliffhanger I may have unresolved threads but not cliff hangers. So um. Just thoughts on that you know if you guys don’t if if you guys you know if readers don’t like open-ended endings then then maybe don’t read series. That’s one way to do it. And I know that there are some readers who deliberately look just for standalones. There aren’t a lot of those anymore. That’s true. Although um, dorda and I have been talking about wanting to have cliff hangers or not cliffhanars sorry wanting to have standalones. Just because we do get kind of tired of the cliffhaner accusation and also writing the last book in a series as heart. So it would be nice to skip that. So anyway, I’m going to go write mine. I hope you all have wonderful Friday I hope you have a great weekend and I hope it’s uneventful. Let’s go for uneventful, right? You all take care bye bye.