writing

Life Hacks for Indie Authors

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It happens to the best of us: We are artists, after all, and regardless of our personal temperment or traits, we may fall prey to writer’s block, or emotions, or life rudely getting in the way of our plans. So, one day you could be happily writing or editing along, and then that metaphorical wrench lodges itself firmly between you and your goals, laughing in evil pleasure as it does so.

And then our choice becomes more complex: How do we tackle this new interruption? Depending on the method we select, will the quality of our work suffer? Will our readers be offended if we take soooo much longer to publish that WIP we’ve already been teasing for ages? Are we just making a mountain out of a molehill by all our worrying?

Well, today I’m going to present some ideas on how to survive common tricky spots indie authors run into. Take notes! There will be a quiz at the end!

Kidding. There will not be a quiz. In fact, any of these approaches might work, depending on your circumstances and ultimate intentions. It comes down to not giving up.

Conundrum 1: Don’t know which writing idea to choose. 

This is a frequent issue. After all, since we’re by nature creatives, and tend to have an imagination, and be inspired by absolutely anything we come across, before you know it, you have a stack (as high as a wombat) of potential story concepts, and they all sound amazing. And you can only work on one at a time.

Solution A: Throw a dart at a “map.” Seriously, this could work. Take a white board or a huge piece of paper, and write down in separate squares or circles (or get out markers and do some doodling!) each different idea. Then glue or tape them to the bigger space, and use actual darts, or a magnet or something (if you’re worried about putting holes in your walls). Whichever idea you hit, that’ll be your next WIP.

Note: If you own a real dartboard, why not employ it in this fashion?

Solution B: Post a poll on your social media. If you’re willing to let the masses dictate your next creative move, run a poll on your Twitter or Facebook page. Lots of people are happy to give their opinion in multiple choice format, and often will offer comments that actually does help make your decision easier.

Solution C: Stare at the ceiling/carpet until you make a choice. Hey, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Assuming the snow angel/spread eagle/defeated author pose, either face up or facedown, and just letting the floor absorb all of your artistic concerns can, in fact, be quite liberating.

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Conundrum 2: Having to push back a self-imposed deadline. 

Yes, when we’re not employed by someone yelling at us, “FINISH THIS BY CHRISTMAS, GOSHDARN IT!”, we technically can take up to the year 2023 to complete our next project. But does this really benefit us? Procrastination can be deadly to one’s creative endeavors, regardless of whether we’re a New York Times bestseller, or just printing a dozen copies for friends. When you’ve said you’re going to have your next novel/novella/short story ready by whenever, you should do your best to stick to that. But if you’re super behind, what can you do to catch up?

Solution A: Quit your day job. You will have so much more time to write, and you can always find another way to grind the 9-5 routine. Important note: This suggestion is totally tongue in cheek, and if you completely cannot quit your day job, DON’T. But for short periods, for some of us, this may actually be what gets those manuscripts finished and into the world. (Especially if you have alternate forms of income that do manage your financial needs for a finite period.) In all seriousness, though, this would be a last resort (no matter how badly our passion for writing outweighs the obligation to drudgery that pays the bills).

Solution B: Come clean with your audience/support base. Just confess that you are stagnating in the mire of non-productive-ness, and apologize, but then agree to not keep apologizing. Just go easy on yourself; guilt-tripping doesn’t get these words down on paper, either. Most readers of self-published writers understand the struggle between the work-life balance, and won’t hold it against you if you can’t release a new book every quarter (or even every year).

Solution C: Rush to meet the deadline without any delays or rescheduling. Personally, I don’t recommend this one. It can be overwhelming, and temporarily turn you into a vampire aardvark. However, I’m very aware that for some of us, simply knocking off all the excuses and just plain knuckling down to work is what makes the writing happen.

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Conundrum 3: That editing/proofreading/cover design is making your head explode.

Enough said on this one, am I right?

Solution A: Reach out to others in the profession, or friends who have mad skills. Most of them will be happy to help you out, either for free, or for a cost you can afford. And if you’re a little indecisive, or slightly whiny, or forget to check your email one day, they’re more likely to understand and empathize (rather than holler at you and demand you figure it out now).

I have benefitted so much from belonging to a community that gets all these challenges, and accepts that individuals work at their own paces. My work is better because of not just the support, but because of my willingness to reach out for help when I get stuck.

Solution B: Proceed to break your brain by forcing it to all correct (or else). Again, this may get the desired result…but it’s got a pretty high chance of backfiring spectacularly. So, take this notion with a grain of salt. I have yet to adopt this attitude and not shapeshift into a creature from an alternate dimension for a week.

Solution C: Take a break from attacking this project. In all honesty, while it may feel like you’re surrendering, it’s the opposite, and this approach comes highly recommended. Don’t open the document for a few days. Or a month. Read books you didn’t write. Watch movies you’ve never seen before. Walk the dog down new routes. You get the idea. A lot of the time, relieving the pressure is what’s necessary to allow the puzzle pieces to adjust, and then fit into the right places.

All joking aside, I hope this post was helpful!

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pop culture, reading

Book Club Picks: The Good, the Bad, and the Puzzling

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Okay, I think I need to say this now before I explode. There is something inherently frustrating about belonging to a book club.

Yes, that’s right: it can be frustrating for a self-avowed bookdragon to sit around and discuss books with other people. Why? Because sometimes the selected title will just make you want to scream…and then you will be the only person in the room who thought that about said selection.

Maybe it simply is that I am too picky a reader. Maybe it just boils down to I don’t like most adult fiction; it comes across as boring and irrelevant and senseless. While there certainly have been exceptions in my reading career, after this past year of belonging to a book club for the first time, I’m strongly reminded of why I generally stick to YA and/or fantasy.

Here are the picks that stuck with me in recent months as being the books I loved to hate, or at least to analyze unto its demise.

Before We Were Yours

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This is the story, based on real events, of sisters who were separated as children, by a woman in the South who was selling poor children to wealthy families that couldn’t produce their own offspring naturally. Yes, she literally abducted munchkins from parents who already loved them; their only crime was being too poor, or too immigrant, or too minority.

It’s already an appalling tale, but what galled me even more was the fact that all of this is discovered long after it happened, and the people involved are mostly dead, and the perpetrators never face justice.

I truly felt that the entire story was absolutely pointless since the whole concept of a character discovering this secret should have automatically led to bringing those responsible to court. Instead, the sisters just find each other years later and catch up, and they can all know each other’s children, and blah, blah, blah.

And while it may sound kind of heartless to put it that way, for me, the crux of the biscuit was literally: Will the kidnappers be forced to pay? Even if they’re no longer living, there must be someone still around who knows what the organization was doing, and will speak up, knowing it’s the right thing to do…

But, no, that never materialized, and when I finished reading this book, I actually wanted to turn back the clock and reclaim the hours I wasted on this utter nonsense.

Lilac Girls

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This one I was really into at first. It’s the author’s re-imagining of what life may have been like at the only all-women concentration camp in Poland during World War II. It is historical fact that there was a retired actress, named Caroline Farraday, in New York City, who found out about the survivors of this camp, and devoted a good chunk of her life after the war to securing funds for their medical care.

This is so inspiring, and I really wanted to know more about the real person, so after finishing about 60% of the book on audio (I skipped all the parts set in the camp), I Googled Caroline Farraday.

And what I found out made me so mad. At the author. Yet again.

The author deliberately invented a romantic interest that Caroline never had, and inserted him into the story, as her main reason for getting involved with the plight of innocents during the war. What the heck was the point of that?! It makes the real Farraday look flighty, self-absorbed, and only willing to turn to philanthropy as a way to spend her life when the man in question goes back to his wife. (Yes, you read that right — which brings up a whole host of other moral and ethical questions.)

And since, based on what’s on the website established by the historical society created in her honor, none of this is true, either about the woman’s life or about her recorded personality, I simply cannot track with this approach by the author.

And this is exactly why I refuse to recommend this book to anyone, even though it is an important subject to know about and discuss.

A Gentleman in Moscow

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Please, oh, please, oh, PLEASE, tell me there’s someone else in the world who didn’t like A Gentleman in Moscow! I definitely appear to be in the minority on this one. It’s the story of a Russian aristocrat, post the Communist revolution, who is put under house arrest in Moscow.

The entire premise tripped me up from the start: It’s an interesting concept (how a person’s life would change so much, so quickly, from what he knew, and how he would handle it), but completely implausible. After the Bolshieviks seized power in Russia, there is not a single way they’d let a Count just live out his natural days in a fancy hotel; nope, it’d be the firing squad for him, and we all know this.

The factual inconsistencies aside, this was honestly one of the dullest books I think I’ve ever read. It is literally drowning in purple prose, and even listening to the audio version made me so bored I could hardly stand it. Apparently there is a successful market for such works, but you can totally count me out of it.

And there we have it! Have you read any of these? Do you have thoughts on the up sides, or down sides of book clubs, or not at all? Let’s comment away!

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books

Pros and Cons of Audiobooks

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So, this is a discussion I’ve sent a lot of bloggers engaging in lately. Audiobooks have become a big deal to avid readers.

I remember, not all that long ago, the claim was that listening to someone else read the text wasn’t “real” reading, so bookworms tended to shy away from the format.

However, that narrative (pun…intended, maybe?) has shifted, and now the case is concretely this: Audiobooks totally count as a real way to ingest a written work. And those of us with massive TBRs are happily jumping on this bandwagon.

Just because I like to share my thoughts on these matters (and because I need a topic to post on, and since I’ve been sick recently, my brain is like scrambled eggs, and there isn’t a shell – ha! – of a new idea in there), as I’ve seen several blogs covering audiobooks in the last few weeks, I figured I’d throw in my two cents.

Pros, for me, of audiobooks:

They can be acquired through libraries! Since my book buying budget (for any format) is very tight, anything I can find via the public library for free is a valuable asset to my bookdragon ways.

Lots of genre selection. There are now tons of titles on audio, not just New York Times bestsellers who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in Most Boring Literature (sorry, did I say that out loud?). So whether you like fantasy, mystery, contemporary romance, or biographies of famous dogs, you can find something to suit your fancy.

You can still get your chores done without sacrificing reading time. It’s 7:00 in the evening, and you have a terrible choice to make — give up the notion of conquering those dishes and waking up to a clean kitchen the next morning, or abandon finishing that book (that’s due at the library tomorrow). If you check out the audio version, you can do both at the same time!

Some stories hit you more when a practiced narrator is pronouncing the hard-to-read words. This is especially true for me with historical fiction and epic fantasy. Usually I duck out of reading such genres because I get too tripped up on not being able to sound out the nouns, and it’s really hard to not get frustrated when every other paragraph, there’s the name of that place or person again, and your inner voice goes from, “The horse threw its rider and galloped off, and the Duke watched helplessly as…A-r-c-h-samba?-er-let’s-just-call-him-Fred…plummeted into the gorge below.” I would so much rather have the lovely British voice inform me that the guy’s name simply sounds like Arksashy. Cool. Doesn’t throw me off the track of the plot.

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Unfortunately, some cons:

Not all narrators are created equal. Sad to say, but not every audiobook you click play on will have an engaging reader. And there’s really no way of knowing this until you listen. Kind of like not being sure whether you’ll like an author’s style or not, and needing to open the book to know one way or the other. So you may get some duds on audio, too.

If you can’t stand headphones or earbuds (that’s me), you can’t listen whenever, wherever. Since having anything over my ears — and certainly in my ears — for very long drives me batty, I’m limited on when and where I can turn on my audiobooks.

Same goes for owning limited sorts of devices. We don’t have a bunch of extra money around my house, so I currently don’t have access to a smartphone, tablet, portable CD player, etc. That also prevents me from listening as much as I would like.

No matter how much you wish it, some titles just won’t be on audio. I think specifically of indie authors and small press. I know many of them are branching out to include audio, as the process is becoming more affordable and accessible. And while that’s awesome, self-published me realistically won’t have the money for audio versions of my books until probably after we establish that colony on Mars. So I get it (and kind of mourn it).

The in-betweens of audiobooks:

There is still no replacement for the magic of your eyes following the words on the page and seeing the characters come to life in your own interpretation. I’m somewhat a visual learner, and there are times when listening alone just doesn’t give me the whole picture. Often physically reading gets me more immersed, and feeling more accurate in my mind’s eye depictions of the action and characters.

It feels easier to “cheat” with audio. If you’re reading along, and the story or style is meh, and you skip ahead a few pages, to see if your impression has changed, you still believe (and many would agree) that you’re giving the book a fair shot. However, with audio, simply hitting fast-forward or next…through the equivalent of 50 pages…is far too simple. (Maybe the moral dilemmia of that is a discussion for another day?!)

In the end, audiobooks definitely count as reading, and for some of us, they’ll become the preferred way to tackle our TBR, and that’s all okay. While for me, audio will never overtake the physical text, it is still a format that brings alive storytelling, keeps you informed, and introduces you to new, cool stuff. So, if you haven’t tried this already, I do recommend it!

Do you listen to audiobooks? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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books, reading

Is There Such a Breed as the Persnickety Bookdragon?

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I am most definitely the above described creature. And I absolutely appreciate the generational value of literature, and want to see the world full of children who enjoy reading, and if you roll out a list of “100 books everyone should read,” there is a very good chance I will personally have read at least some of them. Many, depending on the genres or topics.

But here’s where the nitpickiness of my reading habits begin to show: Depending on the genres or topics. A few years ago, I’d reached the point of being comfortable with my specific interests, and not quite caring if those didn’t match up with the hobbies of those around me. I didn’t feel the need to apologize for being a geek and primarily ingesting fantasy, science fiction, fairytale retellings, alternate history, magical realism, and all of this in YA and even juvenile publications.

However, eventually my rationale started to feel hollow. I was running out of new authors to try — especially since I’d already rejected many of the ones I’d discovered since taking up blogging — and starting to wonder if I was…well, just too particular a reader.

Since joining two book clubs through my local library, I have realized that I am A) indeed quite persnickety when it comes to what I want to read, and B) for reasons I can’t really explain, it does bother me.

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Here’s a list of my bookdragon sins:

  • Not finishing books
  • Skimming scenes or entire chapters that weren’t catching my fancy
  • Giving up on a series halfway through if it took a turn that irked me
  • Not trying something else by an author whose work was so-so for me
  • Dismissing entire genres after only one read, or even none at all
  • Imposing a book buying ban on my whole family
  • Not joining a subscription box the second I learned about them
  • Refusing to give new releases a chance just because they’re compared to titles/series I didn’t like

There was a time when I’d defend all of these moves. These days…not so much.

The fear of missing out is becoming quite real right now. I’m beginning to understand why book bloggers speak of adding every single new title they hear of to their TBR purely for the sake of not feeling out of the loop.

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Or, let’s put a positive spin on this. What are some good points to being a persnickety bookdragon? Well, you save money, you save time, and you save space. You don’t have to worry about wasting hard-earned cash on titles you always knew, deep down, you wouldn’t like; you don’t have to find places to put 473 books; you can devote more of your free moments to sunbathing in your yard and languorously petting the dog.

Please no one tell me this theory doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

The downsides of this are not being included in as many online discussions, not getting references many of your friends do, and wondering what fictional glory you may be missing by not having read this or that. And none of this is fun. Not when you’re a bookdragon, and consuming a variety of literature and flailing over it is part of your very reason for existing.

So, I think it is time to loosen my tightened criteria, just a little. I want to have more of a hoard to proudly guard. I want to increase the hoard my children are nicely building. I want them to start finding bookdragon friends to flail with.

If this is most of my legacy, I’ll be okay with that.

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community

American Creed

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On this Memorial Day, I thought it would be fitting to share this essay that White Fang recently entered into a contest sponsored by our local library. (By the way, he won!) The topic was “American Creed,” based on a PBS documentary discussing patriotism now and in future.

My American Creed involves what it means to be an American, how America should be in the future, and how it could be accomplished. What being an American means is to be a patriotic citizen (whether it be from immigration or from being born here). You support what you believe in, you support the government, and you want to make active changes for the country. These days it is hard to determine what an American is. With a lot of education on all sides, though, a better citizen can be forged.

The government and populace are heavily divided on political issues such as racism, sexism, religion, and people that are “different” from another’s point of view. Each side is similar in many ways, but they do not seem to want to work with each other to achieve a better nation.

With multiple issues dividing us, how do we even know what an American citizen is like? How do they identify themselves? What beliefs do they follow? Which football team do they like?

A lot of things can separate us, whether it be race, gender, or state of mind. They should not always result in an argument of who or which is better.

One of the best ways is to educate the masses that stereotypes are just that: stereotypes. Not true, not false. Sure, some people do live up to stereotypes, but that does not mean everybody does. One of the biggest issues is that people are not educated on things, and it creates a lack of respect and acceptance.

The best solution is to reform the government, and the Constitution in some way, to stop corruption from running rampant. The next is to reform the educational system, to teach more facts of historical importance, and things needed for real life, everyday situations.

To help find what it means to be an American, go back to what this country is built upon. The 13 colonies were made up of immigrants, and the immigrants wanted change. That is what the Declaration of Independence is about. But nothing stays fresh forever, and now change is needed again.

To see true Americans is to see citizens who know what this country was really built upon, share it with others, and enact needed change for the nation. That is my American Creed.

– White Fang

reading, writing

Review: Not Write Now by Kyle Robert Shultz

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Note: I received a copy from the author, and was under no pressure to craft a review after reading. None at all, not even the fact that this particular individual knows how to wield vampire aardvarks as a weapon.

Not Write Now is the first non-fiction release from fantasy author Kyle Robert Shultz, who is known among most of us for creating the wonderfully whimsical and poignant Beaumont and Beasley series. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, reverse-psychology method of, in fact, getting you to become a more productive writer. Containing plenty of Shultz’s trademark humor, as well as lots of solid advice, this is definitely a recommended read for anyone struggling with the “creative process.”

Considering that I myself have 4 released titles under my belt, and am actively working on 4 more, you’d think I wouldn’t necessarily be in need of such a book. I got a lot out of it, actually. And not just because it was fun, or because I know the author. I am absolutely the target audience for Not Write Now.

Yes, that’s right. I have been drowning in self-pity lately, wondering whether the whole indie author thing is even worth it. The Impostor Syndrome, which I have successfully avoided up till now, smacked me hard a couple of weeks ago, and got its claws in tight. I’ve been not wanting to write anything, wanting to prove my doubts wrong, fearing I can’t, and wavering back and forth. It hurts, deeply.

In this current state of mind, a super-serious writing advice book would not help; it would backfire, and all the jokes Shultz makes about our productivity just hitting the dirt would indeed come to pass instead. So I can tell you that his approach not only works, but it does make you feel better as well.

While I was reading, I remembered the rush of completing a project, the glow of achievement when I saw the word count nearing my goal, or the warm feels of a review that praised my style, my characters, my plot twists. I really needed to focus on all the positive stuff.

And it did stir the familiar (though lately buried) feeling of wanting to dive into a new draft, of putting on the playlist, and pulling out notes that I set aside to use “at some point.” That point can be now, and I don’t have to agonize over getting my drafts “perfect.” I’ve seen social media posts from other authors, both indie and traditional, reminding us all that you can’t edit what hasn’t yet been written, and that it’s called a draft for a reason.

So, don’t let yourself fall into the trap of not writing, for whatever excuse. Do read Kyle’s book, and take advantage of the resources outlined within. Don’t give up.

Not Write Now is available in paperback and ebook, and you can all Google Kyle Robert Shultz to find his website, his blog, and social media.

And I’m sorry to end on such a soppy note, but this has to be said: Kyle, I know you didn’t write this advice guide just for one person, but it came into my life just at the time I needed it, and I am so grateful to have a friend who randomly pops his work into the mail, with my address on the package.

Fantasy fiction, television

How It Should Have Ended: The Specific Game of Thrones Edition

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MASSIVE! SPOILERS! AHEAD!

If you’re behind on the finale of the TV show (which aired last night), and don’t want to know anything, then don’t read on. If you don’t mind, or if you already know and are here to commiserate, then do go forth. This will be an EPIC rant, protecting no information of a possibly unknown kind. You have been warned.

I’m also sure this is only one of many posts on this topic that will be released this week. Hope you won’t wear out on the screaming too fast.

To say I was disappointed by the series finale of Game of Thrones is beyond an understatement. There should have been plenty of action, much better dialogue, character development that MADE SENSE, and a much BETTER (there’s no other word) ending for a series that we poured our hearts into for 8 seasons.

Now, I admitted recently that I was late to the party on this show, and I’ve spent several months catching up on past seasons, between DVDs and streaming. But after being intensely on the fence about it, one read of the books, and I was hooked, and love for the show developed quickly. So, while I haven’t been involved as long as other fans, believe me, I am still involved.

And this is exactly why, on a scale of 10, my ire is at 14.

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For those of us that have been watching through the faithful adaptations of our favorite plots from the books, to witness the show running out of books to follow and doing a pretty good job of creating character arcs that worked afterwards, most of us were a little nervous and pleasantly surprised by season 8 thus far. Starting in season 7, when there really wasn’t anything left from the books to draw on that the showrunners hadn’t already featured, there were many ways it could’ve gone very wrong. But generally the show was still good — or at least okay, and we kept plugging along.

There were even plenty of moments in season 7 that I wanted/needed to see — Dany finally returning home to Dragonstone, Tyrion and Arya making it back to Westeros, the Stark children at last reunited in Winterfell, and ships we weren’t quite sure about — such as Jamie and Brienne — definitely landing on the radar.

And I have to say, as someone who was absolutely not a fan of Cersei Lannister, after what the power-crazy religious fanatics in the Sept put her through, I actually felt a tiny bit sorry for her. And Margery Tyrell went from being the girl we stood behind to fix the corruption in King’s Landing, to a flatout brainwashed hypocrite that deserved to get blown up. This sudden flipflop in characterization was the start of me beginning to worry that the show could be capable of turning accepted facts on a dime…at the drop of a hat.

Therefore, here we come to the downfall of Daenerys Targaryen.

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This is the Mother of Dragons, the last of her line, the girl who was supposed to be sitting on the Iron Throne, not in exile half the world away, suffering one hardship and setback after another. We cheered her on for 8 seasons, knowing that not only was she better than the Lannisters, she was better than everybody else who might possibly take the crown. And there were plenty of contenders in the early seasons — after all, it was called the War of the Five Kings. But after the early/tragic/expected demise of Ned Stark, I knew it wasn’t just important enough to beat the Lannisters — we needed someone deserving to rule Westeros.

And Dany was it — she was the orphaned child of the Mad King, the only member of her family to survive (since her own brother, sadly the absolute worst prospect for monarchy — yes, even more than Joffrey — was killed by Dany’s husband). Dany wasn’t just a heroine in the making, she was a symbol of making it through impossible odds, of putting the world to rights. People have literally named their children after this character. She was an inspiration.

We don’t know yet what actually happens to Dany in the books, since the written series isn’t finished. (The author has promised the last publications are finally on the horizon, but no concrete news on release dates has surfaced as of the timing of this post.) But I am positive that whatever George RR Martin puts together for her will be a MILLION times better than what the TV show did.

Last week, we were all shocked when an early surrender at King’s Landing led NOT to Dany triumphantly at last walking up to the Iron Throne and taking her birthright. It led to her, for absolutely no reason at all, opting to burn down the entire city — with all its innocent elderly, women and children inside — and nearly destroy the very building holding the one piece of uncomfortable furniture she’s spent 8 seasons trying to get back to.

HOW in any world does this logically follow the motives of a woman who, on her long quest, freed slaves, saved innocents, forgave trusted advisors who betrayed her, and had promised that she’d limit the casualties in the final war against Cersei?!

Her suddenly going all Mad Queen and Jon Snow having to kill her resulted in the realm being left in chaos.

ALTHOUGH JON SNOW IS THE LOST CHILD OF PRINCE RHAEGAR AND HAS A TOTALLY LEGIT CLAIM TO THE IRON THRONE, AND REALLY ALL HE HAD TO DO WAS REVEAL THIS TO THE WORLD AFTER HE KILLED DANY. The Kingsguard and the Northern Armies would have united behind him, kicking the Unsullied and remaining Dothraki out of their country, and we all know Drogon would have obeyed Jon — because he did in previous episodes, and in the finale, too — so then Jon would’ve been the unbeatable, rally-behind-able King of Westeros, and order is restored. Boom.

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To have the Iron Throne simply melted by Drogon is RIDICULOUS, and invalidates the entire series. To have the remaining lords and ladies — even ones who have committed heinous crimes as part of this war (or who haven’t been seen in years) — determine who becomes King is completely irrational in the context of a medieval world that has always operated as a monarchy. The last-minute-plug-for-democracy was just stupid, so out of place and modern-agenda-y that it just pissed me off. And having Samwell Tarly speak such ludicrous words put a stain on this beloved character, adding insult to injury.

And, seriously, seriously, BRAN as King?!?! Are you ******* kidding me?!?! (Yes, feel free to mentally insert rude words at this point — heaven knows that’s what I thought to myself.) That was the last straw for me. The ONLY things that made sense about the ending was Tyrion as Hand of the King (just it was the wrong King), Brienne finishing Jaime’s entry in the book, and Ghost and Jon being reunited.

But everything else…

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Arya leaving Winterfell, after HOW MUCH she went through to get back… Sansa not making sure Jon took the throne… Jon ending up back on the other side of the Wall… Bronn on the Council!?!… Cersei not being publicly executed for her crimes… Jaime not returning to Brienne… INSERT RUDE WORDS HERE. LOTS. OF. THEM.

I’m sorry, boy. I truly am. You, Ghost, should be at King Jon’s side in Winterfell, hunting and keeping order over those silly, squabbling Northern lords, and lending your strength vicariously to Tyrion the Hand, holding it all together marvelously in the South. You know who the true King is, that House Stark was meant to become superior, and not scattered, and I bet you would’ve helped Lord Tyrion woo back Lady Sansa as well.

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