Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Frankly, My Dear...

For some reason, this week’s blog spot snuck up on me fast and furious and caught me in a very vulnerable and unprepared state. I hate that feeling, like I’ve just walked into class knowing full well I hadn’t done my homework.

Luckily, thanks to a fellow author, I found inspiration from some of his suggestions on what I should blog about.

My offering for the week is what makes a good romance novel ending. I’ve already talked about endings from an authorial point of view. Now I’m interested in what readers like.

For instance, I know I personally I hate investing time and money in a book that has a dumb, contrived, or saw-it-coming-a-mile-away ending, less than satisfying. I’ve been known to throw a paperback book across the room because of the ending.

So, I wanna know what sort of endings make your heart go pitter-pat? What makes you smile or sigh when you finish a book? What makes you wish the book weren’t over or that there was a sequel?

A good writer always leaves a reader wanting more, and I think it goes beyond the happy ending. What is the magic formula that makes you say “now THAT was a good book.”

I know from experience that I’m only happy with my endings fifty percent of the time, though my CP tells me they’re good anyway. Even if I re-write an ending, I’m not completely satisfied though the characters are content, things were wrapped up nicely, and everything is right with the world. Why is that, I wonder? Perhaps I have separation anxiety about my own characters. Maybe I’m just a perfectionist. I suspect it’s a mix of the two.

Tell me. I’m dying to know what you, the reader, wants (so I don’t mess up one of my endings!)


Rebecca Royce said...

I don't know what makes a great ending but I can tell you I just read a terrible one. Man oh man, what a bummer it was. I'll think on your question and get back to you.
Great post.

Annie Nicholas said...

I'm hard to please as a reader. I hate the 'they got married and had a baby' endings. Especially when the characters just met. I'm more of a HFN type of person. Some of Butcher's book lately have ended on a sad note. It was a downer but the reality of it struck me stronger than if he flubbed a HEA. Mind you, he doesn't do romance.
*scratches head*
I don't know the answer. I liked LKH's first books and they ended on dark notes too.

Rae Lori said...

The last ending that I remember that really resonated with me is from an online novel that was based on a real life romance. The main chunk of the story took place in its present time (50s) and the ending picked up 20 or so years later when the couple comes back together and reunites. They were much older and they found the feelings were really there from the start as if nothing changed. It was so cute cause they were hesitant to be intimate at first but they ended up falling asleep in each other's arms. It was so sweet!

Uh oh, Annie is scaring me because I'm early in the Dresden Files and I haven't reached his latest ones. Eek. I like sad note endings IF they fit. But I like endings that fit with everything that happened before. One that doesn't leave me hanging too much but gives me enough story to know that the main conflict presented in the middle has been satisfied and there's still room enough to dream about what kind of steps they take next. If the characters are awesome I'll definitely wonder what kind of life they lead after that last page.

cindystubbs said...

It is like everything is over once you're married. Life can't be over!!!! Surely interesting things can still happen! I hate it when someone conveniently dies or they make someone so evil it's unbelievable. There has to be conflict, but isn't most conflict in your own mind? Fear of losing independence and fear that the other will leave you would seem to be the main conflict that lovers have, a sort of tussle over who is the boss maybe? Family problems are big in people's lives, bigger than depicted in novels.

J Hali said...

Hey Sandi, I'm out from under the 'edit' blanket for a bit. I think it could be separation anxiety. I know I suffer from it. When all is said and done - they are like my children. I've sent them off into the world and I wonder each time "Could I have done more, could I have done it differently?"