The idea for the No Shelter Trilogy came to me shortly after finishing book two in my sci-fi/fantasy series for children. No Shelter was initially going to be a stand-alone novel about four teenagers attempting to survive in post-apocalyptic America. Within the first few pages of writing, it was clear I was writing a tragic post-apocalyptic love story.
Authors love to credit their characters whenever a story goes in an unexpected direction. I’ve done it myself. “Then the character decided to do something completely unexpected!” Nowadays, I prefer not to blame my many plot twists and meanderings on helpless characters—and this series has plenty. Which brings me back to my journey into darkness.
After writing the ending, I wandered around the house for days in a dark fog, unable to focus on much of anything because of what I had done to these fictional characters. I had never been so upset with myself as a writer. I frantically consulted my beta readers and my family and friends, attempting to find some way out of this ending. I stared at the walls, listened to the music on my headphones much to loudly, and tapped my foot as all day long with anxiety. It couldn’t end this way.
In the end, I learned one very important thing about writing unhappy endings: You must stay true to the characters.
An ending that is true to the characters will not be universally liked by your readers. Readers don’t all feel the same way about your characters. I learned quickly after book three was published that readers who hated “Character A” loved the ending and readers who liked “Character A” hated the ending. “Character A’s” fans took “Character A’s” betrayal personally. Of course, in the end, a reader with a strong reaction is a reader who paid attention. As an author, you can’t ask for much more than that.
Will I ever venture into the land of unhappy endings again? With my new knowledge, I’m certain I will. I found that, even though it’s a painful place to roam for long periods of time, the darkness is something many readers identify with and appreciate.
AUTHOR BIO: T.S. Welti was born and raised in Southern California, but she is currently living in Portugal while finishing up a few writing projects. T.S. writes mostly science fiction, fantasy, and romance for readers ages 13 and up. In her spare time she loves spending time with friends and family; consuming mounds of books and chocolate; obsessing over music and lyrics; pretending to be a celebrity chef; and reveling in the sweetness of being alive. She is incredibly humbled that she gets to do what she loves every day and she thanks all her readers for supporting her debilitating writing addiction.
You can find out more about T.S. Welti and her books at http://tswelti.com.
Parallel Spirits (New Release)