Nailing pet peeves for the final trilogy volume

Dog and human sitting looking at a lake; they seem to be considering something together


I’m a big fan of ‘canon’ – what the author of a book or series of books has written IN the book(s), what the true fans consider immutable and the final word.

I don’t read books or sequels written by someone else, mostly because every time I’ve tried that in the past, the results just made me mad.

Case in point: the sequel to Gone With the Wind, the book Scarlett, written by Alexandra Ripley – I know I would agree with many of the 1* reviews if I had read it, simply by seeing a plot summary.

Case in point: The 7% Solution, an attempt to write a Sherlock Holmes story in the ‘style’ of Conan Doyle – I did NOT like it, felt Holmes had been stretched and distorted in ways apparent in NONE of the canon stories from Sir Arthur.

I love writers precisely for their style, their unique way of writing a sentence, plotting a story, evincing the themes. And for THEIR unique creations: their characters.

Not very flexible – am I? – and either you are the way I am, or not, and I don’t aim to convert anyone!

This is your chance to argue for me to ALTER canon as I write LIMBO

Just as a writerly experiment, and because I’m at the stage (I have an awkward horrible rough draft written many years ago to scope out all the ideas, and written in a lot of haste before I learned better how to manipulate words) where I CAN possibly alter the text of the rest of the story a bit, I’m floating another one of my odd ideas:

If you were me, and could eliminate pet peeves in the final volume of my mainstream trilogy, Pride’s Children: LIMBO, what would YOU choose to emphasize?

Think like a famous author, with a ghostwriter who will do the actual writing, retaining all control over both content and style.

What would you have me do slightly differently from the previous PURGATORY and NETHERWORLD (preferably based on your having read them, but I won’t insist, and probably can’t prove it anyway)?

What would you like me to make sure does NOT appear in LIMBO?

What would you do if you were writing LIMBO?

What bothers YOU?

It would be kind if you mentioned why, or just generally what other kind of books you like to read, as the basis for your personal peeve, but I also won’t insist on a reason.

No promises, except that I will consider carefully and thoroughly any suggestions, and at least let you know privately that I did if I accept your suggestion. Fair enough?


I’m about to get serious.

I have started the process of bringing the new MacBook Air up to speed in my environment – just ordered an external SSD for backups which will be delivered tomorrow.

The thinking part, given that the Migration Assistant supplied by Apple has failed (it did last time I upgraded – must be me), will take a bit of time, but I’ve decided I can ALSO trust the beginning plot/plan for LIMBO, since it is so clear in my mind and starts only a few hours after the end of NETHERWORLD – and give in to the writing itch.

Plus the paperwork problem is supposedly almost finished (ask me Sunday night), and dumping it on the accountants should go smoothly (ha?!?), and I can get out from under something that has been in my way for over 1.5 years.

So tomorrow I install the SSD, download and authenticate my copy of Scrivener3 (paid for long ago) and watch a video or two about the new features, and WRITE again, with the intent of seeing if I can speed up the process to make up for lost time.

Oh, and install Pixelmator3, also long paid for, now that I have a LOT of internal storage space on the Air (one of the reasons for upgrading): LIMBO’s cover is clear in my mind, also to be executed in downtime (graphics are easy compared to words), so I have the cover ready by the time the text is finished and edited and proofed. Graphics take a lot of space if you want to keep layers separate for future ease of change.

TOO LATE, the prequel short

It’s been submitted to a literary magazine which would be a lovely addition to my credentials if they decide to publish it.

ONE of the reasons for doing so is that I forced myself to make the necessary final pass to edit the style as close as possible to match the style of the novels. It was as much work as I expected since TOO LATE was written before the final version of PURGATORY had settled into what you might call my voice.

If not, the cover is started, the crucial photo approved, and the whole plan for the ‘look,’ so it is obviously part of the trilogy’s story, is in place. I’ll throw it up on Amazon for a buck, and/or use it as a reader magnet, but a final ebook version is required, and it’s now much closer than it was before.

That’s the plan, in any case.

Hoping to hear your pet peeves.


25 thoughts on “Nailing pet peeves for the final trilogy volume

  1. Lee McAulay

    Pet peeve with trilogies: the writer got bored but had to finish it somehow.
    Think the third Gormenghast – the first one had all the magic and architecture, and the second had the serious plot line; the third was just “umm…dunno where to go with this”.
    Similarly with the third book in the Scots Quair trilogy by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, the first of which I read at school as a set text. I put off reading the second book for years and finished it last autumn; after a few chapters it seemed likely to end much the same way as book one for the minor characters. Book three reads like the writer had written himself into a corner at the end of book two and just wanted to race through the story – and the end of book three was just *amateur*.
    One of my favourite trilogies is The Winter Of The World series by Michael Scott Rohan. The ending is foreshadowed right at the start of the first book, but all three take the reader on an incredible journey. Well-planned, well-executed, and thoroughly recommended.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I give you the same – a tiny prologue to the story is actually a New Yorker article beginning – written AFTER the whole story is over by a writer who thinks they’ve sussed it out.

      I’m an extreme plotter – I’ve know the major plot points to the trilogy since Day 1 in 2000. I’m wondering if the trilogies whose ending you don’t like were pantsed – and the authors didn’t know where they were going. By the end of three books of that, they’d be tired.

      I wrote myself into a major corner at the end of NETHERWORLD – on purpose, and because getting out of it is the point of the whole thing. This kind of trilogy SHOULD have each book be even tighter.

      I share this pet peeve with you.


  2. Lloyd Lofthouse

    I bought an iMac mini desktop months ago with that Migration Assistant supplied by Apple and it didn’t go well. Lots of scrambled files and maybe lost files.

    Then, by accident, I may have found a way to transfer files without any problems using Pro Writing Aid.

    I lost an entire chapter during the migration for one of my works in progress that I forgot the details. I wanted to have the entire old chapter on the iMac so I could work with it.

    The old file was still on my old Windows desktop so I downloaded it into Pro Writing Aid. Then went over to the iMac and opened Pro Writing Aid there to see what I’d find.

    The old file somehow survived the crossing through Pro Writing Aid where I copied and then pasted it into a file on the iMac and saved it.

    I’ve repeated that several times with no problems.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      You were lucky – it’s a brilliant solution.

      I haven’t even assessed yet which files have made it, and how to drag the others over. I’ll figure it out – have a backup: a daughter-in-law at Apple. Tech. Smart. I only use her for real emergencies I can’t figure out how to handle, but she’s there.


  3. acflory

    I have peeves, but not about your writing. lol I remember how disappointed I was when one of my all time favourite authors died, and his son published some sequels. Not the same. Nowhere /near/ the same magic. Ah well.

    This struck me: ‘graphics are easy compared to words’. Yes! I’ve been struggling with the ‘I can’t get the words to flow’ problem for a couple of years now. I’ve been creative, but with images not words. I wonder why that is?

    And finally, BRAVO! I’m thrilled to hear that you’re ready to write. Go girl. 😀


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I won’t read the Dune novels not written entirely by the original author, nor the supposed completion of Dorothy L. Sayers Thrones, Dominions… by her friend Jill.

      Authors need to think about this from an IP pov, and make arrangements. It can really affect their legacy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. acflory

        Yes. I totally agree. That said though, I wouldn’t mind if Vokhtah were thrown open to fanfic just so long as the original story and characters were left alone. I’d hate to have those ‘improved upon’.


        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          It isn’t up to you, in the truest sense of ‘fan fiction’ – they do it without asking. Only recently has the idea of an author ‘opening up’ their universe been floated, and a platform for that, and procedures for future participation or vetting by the author, etc.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. acflory

          Very true. I have a feeling Amazon provides some kind of portal, or maybe I’m imagining it. Sadly, I don’t think Vokhtah will every garner that level of spontaneous support. But I can dream, right? 🙂


        3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          Amazon does – for at least the past year. You do have to have fans who want to write, and set up what they can and cannot do, but it is probably worth the effort if you already have some interest from readers.

          Fan fiction is a labour of love – most readers/fans will never want to stretch ‘canon’ – you’d probably know if you’d received some interest, questions, or suggestions.

          Innerscape might be a great place to share.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          People could literally write their own characters and situations into your universe, rather than use your characters – or connect up to yours – or, if you allow it, USE yours in their own ways.

          You might want to check out which SF universes already allow this – at least there’s data out there.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          You have to define ‘messed with’ very carefully for yourself – because the nature of fan fiction is to do many of the things someone thinks you should have done (marry two characters, etc.).

          I think you might have fun exploring the fences you can set up.

          And yes, characters ARE our babies. We have more control over them than our physical offspring. I like that.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. acflory

          If I were ever to have to think the ‘rules’ out in detail, I would probably tear my hair out! Luckily, or not, I don’t think I’ll ever have to face that particular problem. 😀


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I’m going to revel in writing this one. Thanks!

      All the threads in this story have to go somewhere. You have to wonder what happens next after that. And I have left myself, if you’ve read and thought about it, a royal mess to straighten out. 🙂 Best kind.

      Liked by 1 person


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