This is How We Save the World, a guest post by Jodi Meadows
It’s easy to feel defeated sometimes. Authors end books on cliffhangers to enhance that feeling, that dire sense that the characters’ lives are balanced on a knife’s edge and one wrong move could make everything fall apart. That’s exactly what I wanted to do with NIGHTRENDER when I ended it on a cliffhanger!
I didn’t want to end on such a grim note that everything seemed hopeless. Because what’s the point of reading the next book if there’s zero expectation that the story might come to a satisfying conclusion? Who wants to read a story where the bad guys win and everything is miserable forever? (Some people, probably, but not me.)
So as I crafted the cliffhanger ending of NIGHTRENDER (sorry not sorry), I made sure to leave a nugget of hope — a suggestion that in spite of everything going wrong, something might go right. The characters actually do have a chance to overcome their obstacles.
And if anything, that faint possibility makes the reader even more invested in getting to DAWNBREAKER. Because there’s hope. Now, they’re compelled to see this through to the end.
The same is true of real life.
How many doom-filled scenarios have you heard when it comes to the climate crisis? How many times have you felt that sinking feeling of despair?
But what if I told you it’s not hopeless?
Sure, hope without action is meaningless, but hope — the belief that saving the world is achievable — is often what inspires action.
That’s why I ended NIGHTRENDER the way I did — and why DAWNBREAKER opens the way it does, with characters in bad situations pursuing those threads of hope like the world depends on it.
Because it does. Reality is fracturing. Kingdoms are falling apart. And the Big Bad Dark Lord has told everyone exactly what he plans to do when he conquers the human world. It looks very bleak.
But if the main characters didn’t believe they had even a slim chance of success, the second book would be very short.
The necessity of hope has been on my mind a lot. Clickbait designed to evoke misery and anger is rewarded with exactly that. People share the outrage and despair. Doomscrolling increases. Everyone spirals into a feeling of complete helplessness.
It’s understandable, because there are real problems in the world: people are getting hurt, the oceans are getting hotter, and those with the power to make changes seem less inclined than ever to take action.
And the more we hear “it’s hopeless,” the easier it is to believe. Despair allows inaction, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But this is where the need for better messaging comes in, advertising the achievable solutions to these problems. And to bolster that messaging, we need to keep telling stories about characters who overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Real life isn’t a story, of course. We don’t get the same tidy endings — or promise of tidy endings after a cinematic climax in which we defeat the Dark Lord. Real life has a lot of ups and downs, more incremental steps, and a ton of interconnected moving pieces. It requires a lot of people working together, sharing optimism and determination.
Still, the fantastical stories we tell are important. Whether the hero is a princess or prince, an immortal champion, or a regular person, their stories demonstrate hope in action. Even when the situation is bleak and characters suffer through the dark night of the soul, they find the strength to come back from that and triumph in the end.
Admit it, when you saw the title of this post, you probably raised your eyebrows and thought, “Really? How?” and started skimming for the answer. Maybe you were expecting a section called “this one neat trick to solve the climate crisis.”
But the answer is: it’s the whole thing. It’s hope. It’s messaging. It’s believing that our problems are not insurmountable.
I know it sounds trite, but it’s true.
With hope, you can be part of something.
Meet the author
Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and the NIGHTRENDER duology (Holiday House). She is also a co-author of New York Times bestsellers MY LADY JANE, MY PLAIN JANE, and other books in the Lady Janies series (HarperTeen). She lives in rural Virginia. Visit her at www.jodimeadows.com.
The king is dead. The world is lost. Long live the queen.
The thin membrane of magic separating the human and demonic planes has been destroyed. Nightrender, the immortal warrior of the gods, must find a way to rebuild it, but Hanne—the serpent girl, always too cunning to be trusted, too hungry for power—has become High Queen, and is too consumed with ambition to cooperate. Meanwhile, Rune—married to Hanne, but in love with Nightrender—is lost in the realm of demons after a disastrous battle, wandering alone in a twisted landscape of mercury seas, black-glass spires, and winds blowing ash … In this second and final installment of the Nightrender duology, the circle will close, and the world will be saved—or burnt to a cinder.
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication date: 11/07/2023
Series: Salvation Cycle #2
Age Range: 14 – 17 Years
Filed under: Guest Post
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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