Slaying Genre: Revising Our Endings
There’s a lot to say about the place of revision in writing. Or at least I have a lot to say about it (and teach about it). When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out nearly 10 years ago (how can it have been that long?), many folks were displeased or at least dissatisfied with the way JK Rowling chose to end things. Snape’s death, Hermione and Ron’s marriage and children, the Victorian epilogue with its happily-ever-after—hardcore fans who’d been with the series from the beginning started coming up with endings of their own, revising the fates of our favorite anti-heroes, boy wonders, best and brightest witches.
I’ve often found the fan fiction explosion fascinating, if only because I think it speaks to the idea that the story is never over. Yasunari Kawabata, Nobel Laureate and master of the “palm of the hand” story, knew this and as one of his final acts on this earth, revised his novel, Snow Country, into an unadorned and brilliant short story.
Even JK Rowling can’t resist going back and revising (and I’m not talking about fixing the continuity errors that appeared along the Potter series journey). Just this Monday, Rowling went back into the Potterverse and added a new story. This the second time Rowling has revised the end of her final book by adding more to the universe she created.
Revision is key in storytelling and storyending. We inevitably leave something out, kill too few darlings, or just simply aren’t finished when we believe (or sincerely want to believe) that we are. Fantasy and other speculative genres are obviously not alone in their need for revision. Which is why I say we’ve got to keep talking about our stories, keep working on them. Especially those that seem long finished, but keep us up at night, finding ways to squirm into our dreams.
To learn more about revision take my Advanced 10 Weeks, 10 Stories, a course that focuses solely on revising both finished pieces and works in progress!
KL Pereira's chapbook, Impossible Wolves was published by Deathless Press is 2013. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction are forthcoming or appear in The Drum Literary Magazine, Shimmer Zine, Lightning Cake, The Golden Key, Innsmouth Free Press, Innsmouth Magazine, Mythic Delirium, Jabberwocky, The Medulla Review, Bitch Magazine and other publications. Pereira’s work on fairy tales, sexuality, Wonder Woman, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are featured on Studio 360 and other radio programs, cited in numerous publications, and assigned in courses all over the United States and Canada. Find Pereira online on klpereira.com and @kl_pereira.See other articles by KL Pereira