Just finished ANOTHER book that ends in a cliffhanger and, I swear, it was all I could do not to throw it across the room. Seriously. But I restrained myself, set it on my side table and reached for my computer instead so I could vent a bit in a post and maybe gain a little insight from my brilliant bloggy friends.
Y’all, is it just me or has there been a rash of cliffhangers in books lately? And I’m not talking just YA, though that genre seems to be a main culprit (at least in the books I’ve read).
Quick! Get to the doctor because we need a serious course of antibiotics to get rid of this icky, spreading, and highly contagious rash.
While cliffhangers do have their place (it’s one particularly hot place with plenty of stabby implements, in case you were wondering), a well-written, tightly plotted book shouldn’t *need* a cliffhanger to get or a reader interested enough to pick up the next book. Let me just tell you, if I care enough about the characters that I want to find out what happens to them in the next story, a cliffhanger is only going to piss me off. (Granted, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to pick the book up but I am going to pick it up with prejudice. I mean, you’d damned well better blow my freakin’ socks off with the follow-up or I really *am* going to throw your book across the room.)
This is not to say that there shouldn’t be loose threads that need resolution and/or incomplete storylines. No. Those are necessary to a strong series, to keep it moving forward. I’m talking about a real, honest-to-god cliffhanger where you’re nearing the end of the book…just a few pages left…and you know there’s absolutely no way for this conflict to end and, when you do finally turn to that last page, it’s there. Staring at you. Laughing an evil laugh as you rant and rave and scream out, “NOOOOOOOO!! Damnit!!”
Why is this Cliffhanger Rash so prevalent and pervasive lately? Is this because the authors are inexperienced and that’s the only way they can think to end a book in a series? Is it because the publisher said, “Hey, you have enough words in this book. Let’s torture our readers and make it into a duology, a three-part book or a series!” *insert evil laugh* Is it because people actually *like* cliffhangers and having to wait a year or more to find out what happens next? I realize that television has groomed us for this, what with their Who Shot JR? crap and Who’s going to replace Matt Smith as the next Doctor? questioning. But that’s TV. Books are a totally different creature, in my opinion. And I. Don’t. Like. Cliffhangers. Seriously, I’m asking: why write a cliffhanger?
Let’s be safe out there, people. Take your antibiotics, kill off the dreaded Cliffhanger Rash, and write great stories that make me want to read on without feeling like I’m being blackmailed into reading the next book. I’d really appreciate it.
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