Tag Archives: Speculative Fiction

Remember to finish your story – Why the movie “Timer” failed

Hubbs recently rented the movie “Timer”. It had all the squishy romance stuff he likes, plus a little Speculative Fiction twist to make me happy.

The premise is that an invention has hit the world where on your 14th birthday, you have the option of having a device implanted in your wrist that will “Count Down” to the day when you will meet your soul mate.

Very Neat Plot Device.  I was interested.

The story is cute and sweet as a woman in her thirties living with sister both date and wait for their timers to start “ticking”.

Despite the sound problems in the move, which had my husband and I asking “what did he say” – we really enjoyed the first 99% of the movie.  It was well done, and a great twist at the end that had us both saying “No Way!”

**So why did it fail?**

Stories need closure.  Without closure, there really is no story, is there?  It’s like being forced to read a book, but not getting the final chapter.  It’s annoying.

As the camera zooms away from our protagonist, and the music starts to get louder, I was happy to hear my husband say “They are NOT going to end it there, are they?”

Yep sweetie, apparently they are.  I was glad that he was as miffed as I was.  Here lies the problem:

***Spoiler alert from here until the next bold.***

Stop reading now if you don’t want to know the end of the movie…

During the move, both sisters fall in love.  Our main character falls in love with a much younger man in a rock band, and gives his CD to her estranged father, a record promoter.

Problem #1:  Why even have her do this if you are never going back to this plot line.  We don’t know if he signed them, or if he hated them.  They make a big deal of it, and it is never mentioned again – NO CLOSURE

Problem #2:  The MC’s timer goes off at her birthday party, while she is looking at her sister’s boyfriend.  His timer goes off too.  – Her sister is very upset.  She’s heartbroken.  I can’t blame her. We never see the sisters or the boyfriend really reconcile, and the sister, who we’ve grown to love, is left unhappy. – NO CLOSURE

Problem #3:  We watched the MC fall in love with the musician.  They are better people when they are together. We LOVE them together. Despite their differences, we are rooting for them.– He is left crying, saying the MC broke his heart (We don’t even know if he got a recording contract out of it) – NO CLOSURE

Problem #4: We don’t even know if the MC and her soul mate get together.  It’s left open. No closure in a big and unforgivable way for me.

Nothing is sewn up.  I’m even left HATING the MC because she left the man she loves for someone she doesn’t know, leaving him distraught and crying… and also, in my opinion, stabbing her sister/best friend in the back by considering a relationship with her boyfriend, and not even seeming upset by all of this.

***End spoiler alert***

It was really frustrating for me.  The only good thing about this is it’s making me comb through my novel and make sure I tie up EVERY loose end.   As a creative artist, I don’t want anyone feeling this way about my work.

Great premise.  Great story. Great execution. Poor attempt at a surprise ending.




There is a book out there that’s better than yours

I’ve been told time and again that there are thousands of books out there looking for representation that are as good as or better than yours. It’s just one of those “slap in the face” things that you are told when you start out in writing to make sure you understand that there is fierce (but friendly) competition in the query-market.

Up until today, I had read quite a few beta novels that were as good as my work, or would soon be just as good.  I throw out my pom poms and wish them all the best as they begin to submit.  I do.  Really, I do.  I am THRILLED when I hear that someone lands an agent or gets something published.  I think it’s awesome!

Today, I finished a beta that shattered me utterly and completely.  I just read a novel that will be querying the same time as mine.  It will be in the New Adult category, where mine will be in the Young Adult category, but that is still TOO CLOSE for my comfort.

Is the story like mine?  No.  Not at all, but it is Speculative Fiction.  So, what scares me?

Scare is not really the right word.  I have the sinking feeling that I have just read the next Hunger Games, or the New Adult equivalent to Harry Potter. I have never been so on the edge of my seat.  I have never been so absorbed thinking about a novel and dying to get back to it. I have never been so invested in characters that were not my own.

Swirls of emotion go thorough you when you are touched by something so deeply.  You begin to question yourself. Is your novel anywhere near this good?

You push aside all the accolades you’ve received.  You forget that people have told you how much they like your book.  All you can do is envision THAT OTHER BOOK sitting on an agent’s desk, right beside your own.

It’s humbling.  Very Very Humbling.

I contacted the author to let them know how I felt about their story, and to make sure they shoot for the stars, because this is where that book belongs.

I could feel the gushing coming through on her response.  And she should gush… all the way to a six figure advance.

How am I? Well, after downing a vat of Chocolate Almond Fudge ice cream, I slapped myself upside the head.

Her novel is NOTHING like mine.  There is even a possibility that someone might pass hers over and reach for mine because they have not seen a good high-paced alien explosion novel lately.

The publishing industry is so odd and unpredictable that you can’t know what will happen.

If she emails me in a month and tells me she landed an agent and a big six contract all in the space of a week, I will not be angry.  I won’t be surprised either.  I will do a happy dance of joy for her, because she will deserve it.

And then I will send out another query as I toast her success.

Yes, there will always be another novel out there that is better than yours.  But somewhere in the world there is an agent or publisher who will pick up yours and say “Holy cow! THIS is what I’ve been looking for FOREVER!!!”


For now, I think I might need to get another half-gallon of ice cream.