I have always felt there was an unspoken agreement between an author and us readers when we purchase a book and frankly lately I think the rules have been out the window. So I’m curious, is it just me that feels this way, having these expectations of my writers? Do I need to adjust to a new way of writing? Or are some books just not playing by the rules? Allow me to explain.
When I buy a book it’s like the author and I have made a contract. A simple one, I will give money to your seller and you will deliver a story. I don’t have to like it but it must follow the guidelines of all stories. Sound simple? Apparently not. This is how I view a story: A beginning, if it’s the first time we are meeting everyone with character and world building when appropriate. Then a middle, this is where your plot comes to life, the climax of the story as it is, whether it’s bad guys seemingly defeating good guys, or a big fight, big reveals, this is when we get the meat of the story. The all important end, the big finish, where you frankly actually finish the book. No cliffhangers (I will discuss this), no unrelated twists, just bring it home. Make it complete.
What I feel like has been a trend in some writing lately…
The Cliffhanger. Why do authors do this? Especially with book one? I have yet to meet a reader that loves this, so why do it? Is it because you just couldn’t think of an ending? Is it because you want me to be forced to buy your next book (doesn’t work with me, you cliff hang I abandon)? Or is it because you knew from the beginning that you would write three books so it doesn’t matter to you? Well that sucks. Let me tell you there are many extremely successful series out there that have 8,10,20 books and you know what, no cliffhangers! Every book is a complete story by itself. We feel satisfied when we read it, like an episode on tv.
The Plot. Ever read the back of a book, then read the book and the blurb has nothing to do with the story? I bought the book because this is what you told me the story is about. Can’t always blame the publisher, indies are also committing this crime, it’s kind of like false advertising. See this whale??? Sorry we are sending you home with a guppy. I might have been interested in your original story, I like guppies, but it’s just not going to sit right with me the whole time cause all I can think about is that whale. Blurbs should match the story and the plot should follow that. Having a plot is good too, some now don’t even have a plot.
The beginning. World and character building are paramount. In fact too often characters are left with no personality, shallow as it were, and books can fall very flat. But some authors swing too far the other way making whole books out of world and character building. That’s great if I already have book 2 and 3 but if this is all I have, then I don’t have a story, just a really long resume. And 200 pages of that gets boring. I know a lot of authors say they are setting up the next book, but I’m not buying, you got to sell this book to me, not the next one.
So the big question is, are my expectations to great?