Full Disclosure

*SPOILER ALERT* DO NOT READ THIS POST IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED TAP OUT.

Now that Tap Out has been in readers’ hands for close to a month, feedback is coming in. The majority is positive, just a quick look on Amazon confirms this. However, there are, amidst the positive, some negatives. Now, I fully understand that my novel is not for every reader, and that’s fine with me, so I’m not going to address the comments that reflect individuals for whom Tap Out was clearly not a right fit. Maybe we’ll connect with my next novel? What I want to discuss is the question I’ve received about the ending, the part that requires the spoiler alert warning: Rob’s death.

I think the most illustrative way to do so is to present an email from a reader, Lynne Schmidt  about this exact topic. Lynne has given me permission:

I’ve updated my Goodreads review, but haven’t posted the blog yet (sorry, I’m a little backed up on posts, it’ll be out before the end of October). I’m e-mailing you because 1) I gave it a 3/5 star rating, and 2) I wanted you to know why, so here it is:

I LOVED your writing. Words cannot express how well you drew me in to the story. Seriously. (I’m also a huge fan of cursing, so that was definitely awesome, too!!) I was all five star rating until the end. This is me just speaking personally because well, I’m me, lol. But 1) When he took out Amy at school, I understood why he didn’t, but I didn’t exactly condone it. 2) Then he lit the fire. Again, I understand the pressure he was under and he was afraid for his life, but I feel like someone else would have/should have stepped up for it…he really did kill people, and then the ending everyone covers it up, so there’s no real justice. It really, really bugged me. 3) Rob died. Rob freaking died. Really? (May or may not have been a book throwing moment). I was hoping that maybe the hammer missed, and like took out his shoulder or something…but he died. And THAT was the changing moment. Not seeing where Charity had been whored out. Not Cameron, not even taking out his own mom, or killing people… But…Rob’s death. I was very frustrated with that. (But kudos again because you got me to argue with the book, in my hand.)

So moral of this e-mail is, it was an awesome book. I didn’t agree with the ending, but it’s your ending, and I still loved the writing. I saw you have another book out, I’ll look into that one, too 🙂

Thanks for sending me Tap Out. I hope you’re well

I appreciate Lynne’s honesty, as it’s one of the attributes I most value. I also respect the fact that she rated Tap Out as she did. Lynne went with her gut and that is what readers should do. In my original draft Rob did not die and all ended up a bit more cozily (with Chaz shoving off and leaving the boys be). This was problematic, and after discussion with my editor and answering some of my own difficult questions about my writing, I came to an ugly, but ultimately appropriate conclusion.

The same is true for Tony. He is a murderer. That is not in question. But he acts under duress, and that should not be forgotten. I intentionally pushed the limits of what would be deemed acceptable because I believe this setting and these characters required such a complex dynamic. Anything else would have been inauthentic.

I truly appreciate the feedback and will address any other questions or concerns from you, so don’t hesitate to shoot me an email. Thanks.

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4 thoughts on “Full Disclosure

  1. Hi Eric, I actually haven’t finished the book yet, but I read the post anyway…..sorry!! But I have to say, please don’t worry about all the negative comments. Different books suit different people. Its just the way of life. Tap Out is your voice and you wrote what was in your heart, as I believe all authors do. And sometimes stories just have to be told a certain way to do them justice. Its an excellent book in my opinion and you’re a great writer. Keep doing what you do!!

    • Thanks again for the support. I hope the post didn’t ruin the novel for you, though. And I’ve think you’ve nailed the premise of what I was writing: “You can’t please them all.” Which should never be the aim anyway. Writing a story that remains true to its characters and conflicts is what matters, but conversation about how that takes shape is always good, too.

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