The times, they are a’changin’


Pat here:

I’m writing this in the week prior to Thanksgiving so I may enjoy next week with my family. Given all the uproar and hysteria in the romance world this week, I’m expecting to return to an industry in complete disarray. Or perhaps over the next ten days, all publishing will decide to pull up roots and move to Nashville. Or everything will have settled back to normal. So I’ll refrain from commenting upon the gossip flying about and wait to see the results.  Cornucopia (photos of disarray are limited, so this is as close as I can get to fruit basket upset…)

But I will use the lesson of Change for today’s ramble. The world changes every day. We can’t stop it or we would stagnate and all life would die.  If people didn’t change, they’d never learn lessons, never grow, and from my perspective, if nothing changed, the future would look mighty bleak because this world is far from perfect. Admittedly, a lot of change happening quickly can be terrifying, but technology has a habit of creating change, for better or worse, so we may as well get used to it.

Couch It would take a doctoral thesis to relate how the changes of history have brought us out of caves into today’s world, but I’m not much interested in earning a PhD. What set off this train of thought was a book I recently finished reading.  I’d been looking forward to this story because it has all the wonderful topics I enjoy—ghosts and restoring lovely old houses and secrets hidden in the past. I was prepared to curl up in my chair before the fire and spend hours wallowing in delight.

Instead, I almost ended up heaving the book in the fire because the protagonist never changed. Never. Ever. She lived in a state of complete denial for three hundred wretched pages. She wasn’t that wonderful a person to start with, but I’m ready to accept flawed characters who grow and change and take their lessons gracefully. But this one never had an opportunity because she never asked questions. How can you have a mystery without asking questions? It’s insane! Is it possible to walk through life Denial never questioning why? Just accepting that this is how it is and moving on?  Denying the evidence before one’s eyes and believing what others tell you instead?  What kind of dense, thickheaded idiot is that? And even if the character has reason to live in denial, what is the point of writing a book about someone who never grows out of a major flaw? The mystery solved itself, whoopee. Or maybe the ghosts solved the mystery, because this protagonist was too thick to think for herself. By the end, I didn’t care.

Have you ever looked forward to a book and suffered immense disappointment? Go ahead, rant away. I just did. Can you enlighten us and tell why you were disappointed?

And I would relate this to the uproar about vanity press and self-publishing that’s currently searing the internet, but I’m a little afraid the subject is too immense to tackle. How will we find good books in the future if everyone publishes everything on their own? Scary change.