I happen to love a happy ending. I don’t like closing a book unsatisfied. Katie Ganshert wrote a great post on Monday about tension and frustration and the difference.
She said, “Avoid drawing things out for an eternity.
Yes, we want to prolong tension. But not to the point of frustration.”
She’s right and this got me thinking.
Where’s the fine line between frustration and tongue hanging out and panting for more, when ending a book and leaving the hero/heroine apart?
Here’s what I think.
What to do to keep readers from getting frustrated when a hero/heroine don’t end up together in the end.
1. Make sure they know you have a sequel/series coming and the story isn’t over.
Unless you plan to finish out their story in a sequel or a series, don’t rip them apart. I personally don’t want to go away feeling like, well hey, if I wanted the real world, I’d have just called my cousin. Her relationship is on rocky ground. By the time she answers, he’ll be out the door and I can cry and boo hoo and feel unsatisfied without paying $15.99. So glad I bought the unlimited minutes plan.
2. Give them lots of moments with romantic tension, flirting, touches and a few sizzling kisses–or sweet ones depending on what you write.
The whole point of reading a romance is for the romance. Profound. I know. I know. I want to read a book that is full of flirting, glances, touches (mostly appropriate ;)) and swooning moments. If you do that and then pull them apart at the end, while I know it really isn’t over see 1., I’ll be screaming with anticipation for the next book. Not frustration.
3. Tie up and resolve sub-plots, twists, or murders. Again, this depends on what you write.
When I know they’ve caught the bad guy (unless it’s a sequel and he’s still on the loose–but for the love give us something to resolve) the secret is revealed, the twist gets straightened out then I have some gratification. I feel the book is over, even if the relationship between the hero/heroine isn’t. I don’t feel like it ended with a thlump!
I certianly don’t want to frustrate a reader, but I think if written well, we can leave the story hanging…until the next book.
Just to clarify, I know life doesn’t always end in a fairy tale. I think you can write a believable journey with plenty of grit and grief, convey the message, point to Christ, and still have a happy ending. I’ve seen it in hundreds of books.
Now it’s your turn. Do you like happy endings? Do you feel satisfied when the hero/heroine don’t end up together, but you know another book or two with more story is coming?
I really want to know your thoughts. Have a great weekend, friends.