The ending, according to my agent, needs to change. The bad guy faces off with the good guy, and the good guy gets away to a new time (it's time travel), but my agent wanted me to leave the ending open but not TOO open.
Ok, that probably doesn't make a whole lotta sense. Here's the thing. When writing a series, or what you hope will be a series, the advice I got from my agent is make it open ended enough that it could seem like a series, but not so reliant upon a sequel type ending to make it HAVE to be a series. Often time publishers will only option one book, see how it sells, and if it tanks, leave it alone. If it does great, terrific, they'll publish a series. But remember, once the ending of the first book is published, it's out there. You can't change it.
So, in my original ending, the hero goes back in time leaving the bad guy obviously alive and in 1862. Perfect set up for the sequel. But now we needed to have it be ambiguous as to whether or not he lives. That way, if the book doesn't sell, we didn't leave a lot of people hanging, and if it does, we can write the next one saying "AH HA! You thought he was dead!" without really cheating people.
SO! Round two - I had the good guy and bad guy square off, and there's a FARMER! He points his gun at the bad guy, tells him to leave the kid alone, and just as the bad guy leaps towards the hero, the farmer shoots. The good guy disappears just after hearing the gun-shot, and we assume the bad guy's dead, BUT, nobody knows for sure.
To which my agent replied (roughly) "Farmer? Where the heck did HE come from?"
So - back to the drawing board. How do I make the bad guy seem to die, but not tell for sure, while the good guy gets away, but NOT have it seem like I'm writing it this way 'cause my agent told me to.
They arrive in the 1862, square off against each other, in the MIDDLE OF A HURRICANE! High winds! Rain! Massive Lightning!
And because the watch that teleports the user through time uses electricity, it only makes sense that the lightning would be even more intense around the hero. So! They argue, they square off, the boy sets the watch, and lightning splits the massive oak they're fighting under, knocking a big, massive branch towards them, and just before it lands - POOF, the hero disappears. The bad guy lives? Dies? Who knows.
But the key here is that arriving in the midst of a torrential downpour is a LOT more plausible than having Joe RandomFarmer just happen to be nearby. I mean, it does rain in Chadds' Ford, PA, right? Especially in September?
So I'm gonna try that. If anyone has any suggestions or comments, I'm more than open to them! Otherwise, we'll throw this donut against the wall and see if it sticks...
I'm starting a new book today with that as the title. "The Strength To Stand Up. Memoirs of an Unemployed Man." People have...
Great time had at the SCBWI conference on Saturday! And a big hello to my friends from that conference who've hopefully joined us here....