One of my favorite movie scenes is from A Fish Called Wanda where Kevin Kline opens the safe only to find it empty and manages to exclaim, “Disappointed!”
Apparently, most of the people who’ve read my story ‘Zombie Nights‘ have had a similar experience. Over and over again the reviews say “I liked the book but hated the ending”. I’ve thought about this for some time now, and have no compunction whatever about changing the ending entirely – once a book is written it can certainly be rewritten, especially a book by a nobody like yours truly. The problem is I don’t know what I would do differently!
(Spoiler Alert As If It Matters)
The ending is abrupt, I admit. The zombie turns left, instead of right, and walks right into a trap laid by the people who had murdered him in the first place. They murder him again. Is the killing the source of the disappointment, or is it the suddenness in which it occurs? People complain about both and I’m not sure what would ease their suffering. I could draw it out a little longer, show the bad guys plotting a bit more, making it all less abrupt, but would that be more pleasing? He would still get his head chopped off, only it would take longer to get there. My instinct is that readers would still hate the ending, even with a slower pace and more of a build up, so why bother?
Does it matter that tens of thousands of people have already read the book? Would changing it be somehow “wrong” in any sense? Should there be an alternate version? Some kind of warning on the cover (“New! Improved! Now 20% More Action Filler Before It’s All Over!”)? It’s an interesting question. Changes would make the old reviews seem out of touch. What were they talking about, “too abrupt” – now the fucking thing drags on and on.
My temptation right now is to add at least one more chapter before the ending, containing a new scene with Racine and Dennis Hobbs, and maybe a little more about Jimmy Kruzel in there as well. It would also have to be included in the print editions of both Zombie Nights and the ‘Rays and Nights’ trilogy.