Advice?

I’m soliciting opinions: Jack, you, and I think, Mary Ann and Sylvia have read my story, “A Place of Belonging” – – I know the Epilogue was an attempt at a “feel-good” ending, but I’m wondering if you think the book would lose any of its impact were I to leave off the Epilogue. Also I’m thinking of changing the title, which I’ve never liked. My working title during the writing process was “The Good Road.” Do any of you think that would be an appropriate title?

The Epilogue ties up loose ends and continues Banks’ habit of helping and/or rescuing women and girls, but I’m thinking it shouldn’t be tied up so neatly. The working title emphasizes the road trip, which takes up about half the book, and serves as a metaphor for Banks, Ginger, and Mattie and their attempts to make something good of their difficult lives. But I’m undecided on whether that reference would properly encapsulate the book – – or does it matter?

Anyway, those are my thoughts as I re-write. Comments?

7 Responses to “Advice?”

  1. Mary Ann Artrip Says:

    Bob,
    I’ll have to think about it. And I need to go back and look at it again. Trouble is, I loaned the book to somebody and never got it back, so I don’t have a copy. Just from memory (and I’m getting old and pretty unreliable) the thing I liked (and remember) about the ending was Banks coming back to Mattie. And that mattered a great deal to me–that he came back to her. I thought the title referred to Mattie and her love for Banks (and her place of belonging–in his life) as much as it did about Banks and Ginger’s road trip. But, lordy, it’s been a while, and I’ve read a ton of books since then and I’m afraid I’m not much help. If I can locate the book, I’ll do a refresher read and get back to you. By the way, for what it’s worth, I wouldn’t change the tile but I would change the cover. It is, after all. a love/mystery story and not a travelogue 😉

  2. appalachianauthor Says:

    Bob, there’s a lot to be said for tying up loose ends with a pretty ribbon and bow. Some readers like that. However, there is equally as much to say for leaving the ending a bit ambiguous – let the reader draw his own conclusion.
    The characters in “Place” are not your typical everyday sorts – I like that. As to whether it would help the book overall to delete the Epilogue, I don’t think so. But, I also don’t think it does a whole lot to have the summation. The story and the characters are so strong and compelling that it keeps the reader guessing as to where they are headed, exactly. Again, I like that in a novel. I expect, these characters and this story will stay vivid in my memory for a long time – and considering my age and overall mental condition, that’s saying a lot. I frequently can’t remember what I did last week.
    I’m not sure that I saw the “metaphor” you mentioned with regard to the road trip. The circuitous route that Banks and Ginger take going from Georgia to New Mexico gave me fits – so perhaps I missed what you were going for there.
    Unlike Mary Ann, though, my take on the story was that Banks’ place of belonging was with Mattie. Not that Mattie belonged with him – that was no surprise, it was obvious. Like most men however, Banks just wasn’t smart enough to know he belonged with her – as I’ve said before, women are smarter than men.
    Change the title – not in my opinion. That title is a keeper!
    I don’t know if this will help you any.

  3. appalachianauthor Says:

    Jack and Mary Ann – both good reflections – thanks a bunch. You both have similar comments, that Banks’ story (it really is his story) – including his ramblings – have him directed back to Clarkesville, and Mattie.

    I’ll give the title some more thought, and I believe I’ll keep the Epilogue – but shorten it to include only the part in which Mattie and Banks adopt the girl.

    Jack, the metaphor is there, but I’m slowly coming around to the point that writers’ primary responsibility is to the story. Leave the deeper meanings and mining of metaphors to reviewers. I’ll maybe talk a bit about that at the Symposium.

    Mary Ann, I agree about the cover – I just have to find the right photo or image.

    Thanks again, folks!

    • appalachianauthor Says:

      Bob, you’re welcome. I had to re-read Mary Ann’s comments to see that we were making the same point. I missed that last night (it was late, I was tired – got more excuses if you need them).
      There’s a pretty good website, which you may already know about, for stock photos. Some are free most cost a couple of bucks – http://www.fotolia.com.
      You might want to look there for a new cover photo.

  4. appalachianauthor Says:

    I’ll check it out – thanks!

  5. Sylvia Says:

    Well, I’ve kept meaning to check out the blog but didn’t take the time and I see I’ve missed something! I have to agree with most of Jack and Mary Ann’s points. Cover change-yes, but not the title. Although it sort of suits the time frame of the story I think there’s a better cover out there. And I, too, came away with the feeling the story was about Bank’s search for a ‘place of belonging’. And Ginger’s just sort of merged into his search. I’m a little ambivalent about the epilogue. I do like things wrapped up but it could be shortened to advantage perhaps. I’m up late with this rambling reply so feel free to disregard!

  6. Bob Mustin Says:

    I’m hot and cold about the epilogue myself. Thanks for the comments, Sylvia.

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