This is part of a blog post I published way back in 2006 and tweaked a few times since. I’d recently announced that I could no long answer fanmails, but would respond to questions on my blog instead. This led to some interesting questions as, I suspect, some people emailed silly questions just to see their name on the blog. Others perhaps weren’t thinking logically about what they were asking…
The Sequel Spoiler Question
Will x, y or z character be in the sequel?
Who with x, y or z character fall in love with in the sequel, and with who?
Will x, y or z object, place or group feature in the sequel?
Beyond what is on blurbs and teasers, and what I might reveal in interviews, there’s a limit to what I can tell you will be in future books. If I did, my publishers wouldn’t have any reason to publish the book and my career would end overnight. (No more Trudi Canavan books. Maybe I’d get a job in real estate.)
The “Can You Write It My Way?” Question
Will you be bringing x, y or z back from the dead?
Not unless I have them roaming around eating peoples brains. Bwaiiins! Must eat Sonea’s bwaiiiins!
Could you please match x and y up in the sequel?
Hmm. You’ve probably just told me that such a match is too predictable, and ensured it will never, NEVER, happen.
Don’t kill x, y or z in the sequel.
You’ve probably just told me that such a death would have great impact, and made it very, VERY tempting.
We authors are a perverse bunch. I’m far more likely to not write a story the way someone suggests than pander to their wishes. Also, there are more serious reasons why I ask that readers don’t send me ideas, which I outline here.
The Pedantic Irrelevant Detail Question
How did [insert minor character name] die in the battle?
You know, a lot of people die in battles. Chances are, if they are a minor character, I have no idea if they lived or died. If it makes you feel better, imagine they survived to live a simple, happy life somewhere that doesn’t contradict the sequel.
Did x, y or z’s parents have strong magical potential?
Who is that person/group/object referred to in passing that one time in the trilogy?
If I didn’t mention it, it was probably not relevant OR ELSE I’m leaving it as a possibility to explore in the sequel, which means this is a spoiler question.
The Philosophical Question
Why did x and y fall in love?
Why does anybody fall in love? Should I give a biological explanation, or a philosophical one?
What if the magic worked THIS way? What if x, y or z hadn’t died/fallen in love/been born in the first place…
Yes, there are an infinite number of ways my books could have been written differently. I wrote what I thought was the best story I could write at the time, and I can’t change them, so discussing ways I didn’t write them isn’t high on my priority list when there are new books to write. And gardening to do.
The “You Didn’t Think That One Through” Question
Why didn’t you have x say goodbye to y? Now that y is dead, poor x will never get the chance!
Er, so how was x supposed to know that y was about to die? (Did he/she arrange it? First I heard of it!)
The Unresolved Plot Hook Question
Actually, I deliberately leave some questions unanswered at the end of a story. Life’s like that. Most of the time only readers who paid close attention pick up on them. So congrats if you have. The answer is and has always been: “That would be telling.”