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Once upon a time, a story began, from nothing, from everything. Do you ever read a book or watch a movie, fall desperately in love with the tale, feel moved from the depths of your soul to the ends of your hair, and they don’t nail the ending? And you think to yourself – or out loud to the entire audience – she wasn’t supposed to end up with him!
In the Thorne family, we call this Carrie-ifying the ending. Years ago, think Carrie in her insecure, angsty, flaky adolescent days, I genuinely told my sisters they would enjoy a particular movie (I can’t even remember which), and that it had a happy ending. Well, I found myself in some, err, deep muck, when they were sobbing by the end. No happy ending. Oops!
I know what you’re thinking. Carrie has some… issues. It’s important to feel the range of emotions, and to recognize that not every ending is a happy one. That’s true. My life hasn’t been all roses and chocolate, nor has it been a Series of Unfortunate Events.
Whatever your background, life’s hard enough. Sometimes you need to find a happily ever after in the unpublished epilogue, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the mega-happy ending, it can be a sense of relief. At the end of Gladiator, Maximus recovers and lives a quiet life alone in a small home with a handful of horses on the edge of his land back home – not perfectly happy, but closure. This doesn’t even have to be a sad ending to be modified. Guess who Bucky Barnes meets after the party in Falcon and the Winter Solider? Yours truly in her alternate reality.
In my Grisham-binge days – in middle school, I started young – I created complex legal cases in which the tortured hero was vindicated. Later, I imagined my epic adventures as an FBI agent, but the courage to actually pursue said dreams haunted me, hovering beyond the reach I believed myself capable of. I settled for scientist, but it was hard to reign in the creative curiosity in my geologic reports. When my high school English teacher found out I was a geologist, she thought I had lost my mind. Maybe she was right. I should have gone through with my first major, the one I was “too practical,” aka too terrified of failure, to try. Writing.
After a series of hurdles and stumbles, I wound up going back to grad school and working in healthcare. My sister and I would travel for continuing education classes together, and, naturally, I jotted down notes frantically and ensured I was improving my practice. But… I once mentioned my intent to write a romance stemming from a continuing ed trip. My sister scoffed, thinking I was crazy, as those can be dreadfully boring. Boring? Are you kidding? What about the terrorist attacks or the natural disasters? Or even when I got stuck on the elevator with Captain America?
Okay, so none of that actually happened. But do you know what did happen? The rebirth of Carrie the Writer. I began jotting down the stories that played out in my imagination, pulling me through difficult times, boring moments, or sleepless nights.
On a whim, I started to write. And the first one… wow, it was awful. And the next few… yeah, it took a while to get back into the groove. Back and forth with the beta readers. Eventually, I made one worthy of publishing. Would it go anywhere? Thanks to my social and communication phobia, traditional publishing was O-U-T. So I self-published that one. And then another.
Each time, I learn more about crafting, writing, publishing. So many mistakes. So many lessons learned, and so many more to go.
We could indulge in some retrospective analysis of what I should have done, time and again. Mistakes, mistakes, and more mistakes. If I dwelled on the number of times I chose the “wrong” path… yeah, let’s not go there. But as you’ll notice with my characters, they’re always trying to find their path. Without those mistakes, would I be who I am today? Nope. I’m still paying for… a lot. Financially, emotionally, logistically. I’d love to say I wouldn’t change a thing. But let’s face it, hindsight is 20/20.
And I’ve run off on a tangent. Gosh dang it.
Point is, a story begins somewhere. A character lives and breathes inside a writer’s soul, inside each one of ours. Is there a story that shook you to your bones and changed everything? A character that resides in your memory, for better or worse?
The blog is taking a new path. Like many of the characters in the pages of a Carrie Thorne book. Check back now and again, follow the blog (Newsletter, Amazon, goodreads, RSS directly), for the juicy secrets of where a story came from, and the characters and settings that make it come alive.
At First Sight
Behind the Scenes
I confess: I’ve skipped books about the side character I didn’t care for. Until I finished the rest of the series and felt compelled to go back. And, dang it, sometimes it turns out to be my favorite.