I may have finished Lunar Boogie this morning. Then again, maybe not. I’m struggling with a situation and airing it out might help me. A few of your comments might be helpful, too.
First is to admit that The Hat series is a form of superhero fiction. Readers expect certain things, but I’m troubled by what you don’t see regularly.
Lizzie and the hat have a symbiotic relationship that lets them fight monsters. They need each other. However, Lizzie is just a regular girl.
In superhero tales, we get used to seeing massive destruction and various villains getting done in. It’s part of the expectations. We almost never see the down side of all that.
Lizzie is a good character, and I want to make sure she’s fully developed. Some of this should start to wear on her at some point and that’s what I want to get across. I understand it isn’t why we read heroic fiction, but if you have fully developed characters, sometimes they’re going to have issues.
In other genres, like adventure, we know people fire machine guns in the streets, but the cops never seem to show up. First, why not? Second, is this police absence expected in the story?
My thought was to deal with some of this between books. I understand that readers of heroic fiction don’t want to spend chapters of effort on mental health issues. Those stories are best suited to other authors.
To deal with it between books, I have to leave readers with a sense of the problem. I can pick things up on the other side with a nod before the next adventure. I have some fun things planned for that.
What I have in hand is a book that ends on a bummer note. The goals were achieved, people will live happy lives because of Lizzie’s efforts, but it’s kind of a downer at the same time. Keep in mind these are also supposed to be comedic in part. (Bummer and comedy don’t mix too well.)
When I pick it up in the next story, since Lizzie is a musician, I figured people might mistakenly refer to her episode as rehab. In fact, that part works pretty well.
My problem is the mental cliff-hanger I’ve created in this volume. I like it, but I don’t at the same time, and I’m out of time today. Perhaps a medical professional can deliver a line or two about things being okay and that would work. Would this be enough of an uplifting phrase if I do it well?
I could also add one more chapter, which after writing it here seems like a good idea. She wouldn’t be completely cured, but readers could see her getting some help.
In some ways, I’m lucky to be out of time. This has been on my mind for months, and now that it exists it could be easier to find a way to address it. Having a week to ponder the issues might play to my advantage.
One thing that’s also possible is to get the next book ready to go for a quicker release. Then Lizzie’s fans can get the answers a bit sooner than the annual release schedule.
Do any of you ever have struggles like this? I know the genre pretty well, and what I’m proposing isn’t required. Would I be better off to drop the idea entirely and go back to her musical lifestyle as if nothing happened?
Right now, I’m leaning toward the additional chapter. Maybe even just a scene to end on a higher note. What do you guys think?