Yes, I had to apologize to one of my confused fans–yeah, I have fans and I’ve been at this for a year now (40 years if you count when I began writing at three)–and it was cool. I didn’t know what I was apologizing for but, oh well. Writers depend on fans just like Brad Pitt or whoever is currently popular right now. I felt like Martin apologizing for Jon Snow or Rowling apologizing for Snape. So, this is a story all about how my story got flipped–turned upside down…kinda sorta. (I’m fluent in song lyrics, French and Black Speech).
Last year, I did a practice battle scene and killed off Thranduil’s wife–it was more of an exercise in writing battle scenes and that made me realize that I needed toy soldiers (and I have 144 in my collection now). I got my first message asking me how I could kill off Thranduil’s wife. (Alrighty then, I’m sorry–long-winded explanation for no other reason than to make the person feel like I was ashamed of myself). Everything goes well for a few months. Then I start organizing the story and recently I had to apologize for Thranduil’s cousin innocently kissing him before leaving with her husband back to Dale (she was a peredhel–half-elven, chose mortality, yadda, yadda, yadda). Apologized for that. Started the alternate ending: http://alttkwrtrilogyend.tumblr.com for some fans who wanted to see Thranduil not live eternity alone but not with anyone but his wife, Êlúriel Nenluin. No problem–until I got someone giving me a story idea (no issue for me–I am one of the few writers that love rejection, adore criticism and if I don’t get either, I think something is wrong). It was interesting. First the backstory.
So, the alternate ending goes all the way back to before Êlúriel dies in an unfortunate orc attack and lives (Quantum Leap Fans cheer). Prior to her demise, she had told Thranduil she as carrying their second child. Now that she lives, she has said child (a girl) named after Thranduil (not what you think: Isílriel to reflect the fact both her and her father were born on Isilya, or elven Moonsday (aka Monday) and to reflect his throne name Tárisil which means “high/royal moon”).
‘No no no’, said Beyonce and Destiny’s Child. Someone said they wanted Thranduil to continue being sad and depressed over the loss of his wife and child and continue his perpetual lamentations through quasi-Tolkien-esque verse/prose until the end of the story. BUT, if his wife had to come back, kill off the kid, make her depressed enough to kill herself and if she can’t do that, she should leave Thranduil and run off to be comforted by her parents.
Pause: That was crazier than the elementary Tolkien Sindarin photo that is me practicing my elvish for all my books while forcing myself only to use Tolkien Sindarin and not move into the film version which now sounds Greek to me after a year of Tolkien’s elvish, Black Speech, Adûnaic and Khuzdul.
So, being as polite as possible, I said, “well that’s a thought”. Then I politely explained elves are either killed or die from grief so suicide isn’t something they would do. Also, Thranduil’s wife, Êlúriel, lost her mother in her childhood the to same orc that killed her in original version (that also killed her mother’s brother and father of her cousin that kissed Thranduil centuries later–not to mention the parents of her other cousins currently living in Mirkwood with Thranduil as part of the Royal Household) and her father had left for the Undying Lands with Thranduil’s mother Queen Nimeithel after the birth of Legolas but I since Êlúriel’s cousin was human and humans are prone to suicidal tendencies, I would keep that in mind.
Breathe: The only part of that I understand is the names of the characters–after spending exactly 360 days 24/7 with a stack of Tolkien volumes, maps, books by other writers of Middle Earth approved by Christopher Tolkien and my own imagination I had to add my own appendix to write that paragraph. So explaining it was like Bella Swan jumping off a cliff in an effort to get her psychokinetic vampiric boyfriend to save her.
This morning: WHOA..jumped on Twitter (because nowadays, I spend mornings reading why I need this publicist or that promoter or should be on Squiggler verses WattPad, read this author, pretend I did not see the ongoing campaign by some of my most fervent fans hash tagging me with Lee Pace and Peter Jackson to get them to read this thing so the New Zealand Tourism Board can have an excuse to put Thranduil on the broadside of a jumbo jet) and I find a tweet (by the same Tumblr fan who will follow me off of Bella’s cliff, but she’s a sweet kid) saying she’s confused because most of my other readers like the alternate ending and though that blog is separate from the original story (and labeled for a section of the TKWR Writings in the Appendix called “The Love of Thranduil and Êlúriel: The alternative ending to The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy some readers wanted to see. After careful consideration I decided to keep Êlúriel alive since their love seems to have touched a lot of readers”, she said she was confused followed by the hashtag “tkwrtrilogy”–my handle on Twitter.
So, back to reason for this commentary: I apologized on Twitter so some of my followers–nearly all authors (some named ones) and promoters and publicists and a few fans that follow all 8 of my webpages relentlessly for the confusion of having two endings for the book and that the two things are completely separate and Thranduil’s original story is left alone where he is sad and pitiful and still going through his lamenting using quasi Tolkien-esque verse/prose. It was obvious this young thing never saw Quantum Leap–poor Scott Bakula. Yeah, probably too young for Back to the Future as well.
So if this is a career now, after only one completed (and currently still rough draft) book of three (plus a whole lot of other stuff which does include Legolas’ Journals, Trenarn o Legolas Lasgalen—alternate excerpt above because he speaks of his future sister being able to hear the voices of the earth like any good woodland elf should, on top of the new “online abridged appendix”http://tkwrtlegends.tumblr.com to explain the new characters and some canonical ones whenever possible), I am at the point where I have to explain the short life of Bree or something–who knows. I get the feeling Tolkien wrote 20+ volumes just for this occasion–you know, in case someone was mad because he knocked of Thorin Oakenshield (and he actually has some thing of an apology/explanation for that in the Unfinished Tales–seriously–coming from Gandalf).
These days, I don’t know if getting your book turned into a film is the milestone by which an author would say they’ve made it. Perhaps it’s when the have to say to their followers their next book isn’t done, just hold on. I now think it is when you have to apologize for a plot twist because obviously the story is taken so seriously that you almost have to call up Thranduil and say, “Look, man, we just have to make sure you’re sad and depressed to the end. They like you that way. Don’t start thinking ‘it’s a wonderful life’ just yet.”–J.
P.S.–If you thought that was confusing, that was just 1/25 of the plot of the Trilogy. Just started the bibliography portion of the Appendix and currently expecting that to help make this odyssey into nice doorstop if anything as I have nearly 400 pages of story now (from Book II and the beginning of Book III).