(It’s the final round of Variant Bonus Features! This blog will be FULL OF SPOILERS, but they’ll only spoil Variant—they won’t ruin any of your fun in reading Feedback.) THESE BONUS FEATURES ARE WRITTEN ASSUMING YOU’VE READ THE ENTIRE BOOK, NOT JUST THE CHAPTERS MENTIONED. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
Chapter Twenty Eight
–Trivia about writing Feedback: I wrote this chapter in Variant and then took a long time before I started writing Feedback in earnest. (This was mostly due to my mental health at the time. I spent about six months where I could barely write a few words a day.) Anyway, when I finally got back to writing Feedback, Variant had already been sent typeset and the ARCs were printed and it was being read; I couldn’t go back and make any significant changes to it.
And this chapter screwed Feedback up so bad.
The thing is, I had to show that Becky was human, so Benson needed to see her muscle and bone. The plot kind of required that. What the plot didn’t require was that I nearly kill her. When I wrote this chapter in Variant I thought the severity of the wound was very dramatic and really added to the “Holy Crap! What’s Going To Happen Next!??” nature of the cliffhanger. What I didn’t think through was how I was going to address that injury in Feedback. So when I got to Feedback, unable to change the fact that I’d impaled Becky on a treebranch, I was really, really stuck. She was horribly sick, out in the woods, with no help in sight.
I ended up throwing out my original Feedback outline and starting again. (Feedback comes out tomorrow so you’ll be able to see how I dealt with Becky’s infirmities.)
–Originally the book ended with this chapter, with the words “Let’s run.” However, in the first round of submissions virtually all editors said they disliked or were confused by the ending. They thought it was too ambiguous, not enough of a resolution.
So, I talked things over with Sara, my agent, and we came to two conclusions: we could either make the story significantly longer to answer questions (which would be a problem because it was already 90k words, which is high for a debut YA), or we could put on a big in-your-face cliffhanger to conclusively say “This is the end of the book!” I hate cliffhangers as much as you hate cliffhangers, but I think this was the better route. So, I wrote one more chapter:
Chapter Twenty Nine
–I don’t have a lot to say about this chapter because it would all be spoilery. I will say that Feedback picks up immediately after this chapter–in the same scene in the barn.
Just because I’m not giving you a lot of info about the end of the book, and because many of you requested it, here are some of the pictures I used to “cast” my book. (If you remember, I find pictures of every character, using photos from the talent agency database NowCasting.com, and use them to help me imagine the world. I’ve only included a selection of the main characters here, but rest assured that I have pictures for everyone.)
The Full List of Bonus Features: