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Author Jamie Sobrato's Diary


Phantom of the Blog

I have a book deadline January 31st, so I am in the final throes of deadline hell, hence my rather phantom-like blog activity, here one day, gone the next.

But on a completely unrelated note, the title for this entry makes me think of Phantom of the Opera (duh!) and I have to ask, am I the only one who was really pissed off that the heroine didn't go live in the basement with the phantom at the end?

Anyway, I know my whining about Phantom of the Opera isn't the most interesting topic in the world, but it does make me think about story endings. There are the expected endings, the unexpected endings, and the in-between ones. What makes a disappointing story ending, and what makes a satisfying one?

In the romance genre, there is only one acceptable story ending--happily ever after. But as the genre evolves, that boundary can be pushed a bit, and in my own stories I find myself moving more toward just the promise of a happy ending rather than a very concrete one. I think that's only a natural evolution as we live in a post-modern world with a post-modern sense of happiness.

And if that's all too boring, tell me what you're working on now. Or send me some motivational thoughts as I bust my ass for the next week.


At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

Hey, Jamie, I recently watched Phantom, and, no, I did not at all want her to remain in the basement at the end. That guy was too tempermental, and I could just see him belting her if she didn't wash the concrete properly. Maybe it's kind of sick of me that I thought that, but there you go.


At 12:50 PM, Anonymous melissa said...

I've noticed a trend lately in contemporary/non-traditional romance that books no longer end with a proposal every time. And that makes sense, because some of these characters started out completely commitment-phobic and there's no way they'd be popping the question after a week or two or whatever the span of the story may be. My characters end up engaged about half the time, and the rest of the time I just make it clear that they're very happy together and all that other stuff will happen at some point in the future.

I don't know if I should admit this in public, but I haven't seen Phantom yet. Not that I haven't *wanted* to, it just hasn't happened. But it will, now that I'm all curious about the basement...

And Jamie, I don't think you need many motivational thoughts. You're a successful bad ass and lots of people would like to be in your shoes, isn't that enough? :-)

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous what Lee would say said...

Here is a satisfying ending. You have to convince the reader that there is a chance, that they're gonna get that farm with the rabbit hutches and all, that everything is gonna work out. Then you destroy all the glimmers of hope with one inevitable mistake.(bye-bye Lennie, no more ketchup and beans) Or just kill one main character, or both. All good endings.

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Shannon Canard said...

I'm with you, Jamie. Yeah, the Phantom was scarred and full of torment, but he was a helluva lot more interesting than the other fella.

At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

It just wouldn't have worked if Christine had stayed with the Phantom. Can't you just see it?

Christine Why don't we ever go out? I'm so sick of being cooped up in this basement.
Phantom Well, I can't exactly go out looking like this can I?
Christine Aw come on! You can wear your mask.
Phantom Oh yeah, and that worked so well for me at the opera, didn't it?
Christine Well, you got me didn't you?!

You get the picture....

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous melissa said...

Here's a question and/or blog topic for you, Jamie--what exactly do you do during deadline hell? How much do you have left to write with only a week to go? I'm picturing unwashed hair, gargantuan mugs of coffee at 2 a.m., and dictionary pages that have become frayed from the search for the perfect word.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Melissa, the unwashed hair is accurate, definitely, and in past years the coffee at 2AM was also happening, though since my younger child started preschool I've been keeping slightly more normal hours.

I usually live in denial about the number of pages left to write in the final week, but it coud range from 30 to 100+ at more desperate times. Regardless, I always get the pages done, and often some of the best scenes come out in a rush, and later I can barely remember having written them.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Cindy, the beauty of living in the bowels of the opera house is that it probably never needs cleaning.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Melissa, you should watch Phantom, definitely, just so you can weigh in on the tortured phantom versus the bland blond hero debate.

And Shannon, I'm so glad someone agrees with me! The phantom was way more interesting than Generic Hero Guy.

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Melissa, I really like your description of me, LOL. "A successful badass." Maybe I'll start using that on all promotional materials...heh.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Oh Theresa, sure, go ahead and agree with Cindy! But just tell me one single thing you can remember that was interesting about the hero of Phantom?

I will admit it's a flawed story. I mean, the middle sags in a huge way, and if they're going to have a hero, he should have at least been interesting enough to compete with the tragic, deformed mentally disturbed guy locked in the basement, right?

At 5:44 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Lee has a really morbid sense of a happy ending, apparently. Then again, maybe a story like Of Mice and Men, with its tragic ending, is a perfect illustration of how at times the happy ending it too unrealistic to be believable. Wouldn't we have felt robbed of truth if everything had worked out perfectly at the end of the story?

I wll also concede that maybe living in a weird basement thing with a mentally disturbed person would not exactly have been the best ending for Christine. But it would have been the most romantic one!

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Oh, sorry, maybe it looks like my two paragraphs above are related, but they're not. The second one is talking about Phantom of the Opera again.

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

I have this memory of you trying to convince Lee that happy endings are okay, not sure when/if this happened?? And for your information, I may live with a weirdo, but we don't have a basement. We're saving up our money so we can get one, though.

I haven't seen Phantom of the Opera, and won't unless Disney makes a version starring the Wiggles.

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

Ah, Jamie, you've finally seen the light. I'm right, you're wrong. It's a wonderful world.

I'm sure Christine would get a very RAPID ending if she moved in with the mentally deranged lunatic nutcase in the basement.

Personally, I think it's romantic that he pined for her for the rest of his deranged life.

Phantom is not my favourite "made into a movie" musical, I guess it's pretty plain to see.


At 8:33 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Bethany, if you get a basement, will you make Lee live in it? And since he is discussed on this blog so much, shouldn't he occasionally make an actual appearance here rather than just you channeling him for occasional comments?

I probably did try to convince him that an occasional happy ending is OK...that sounds like something I would do.

At 8:36 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

But, Cindy, doesn't the poor Phantom deserve *something* good after being abused and ridiculed since childhood and being forced to live out his whole life in a weird underground basement thing? What--one kiss is supposed to make up for a lifetime of hell?

No, I'm going to have to go back with my original position. He deserved to get the girl. She could have straightened him up a little. Probably could have gotten him to stop making weird elaborate altars in her honor and stuff.


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