Today I speak to you, not as a writer or a fellow author, but as a reader or possibly, hopefully, a fan. I come to you, after reading your book, and I am frustrated, slightly angered, and more than a bit irritated.
You might think it’s because of some grammatical errors that I found. Or that you chose to use American English when I was expecting British English. Or perhaps you think that you misnamed a street in a far off city that I’ve never seen.
The truth is that all those things are completely minor and worthy of being overlooked compared to what you did. Thankfully you did not steal anyone’s ideas, nor did you plagiarize, but when it comes to telling a story what you did ranks up there with Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. Unlike Charlie Brown, however, I will not be returning for a second kick with you holding the ball.
The story had potential. It really did. A story of young love, tragedy and teenage angst. It was a story of a small town deep in the heart of Texas, complete with high school bullies, Friday night lights, football stars, and achingly sexy, beautiful cowboys.
Everything was going fairly well. You were even leading me to a fantastic climax, complete with a desperate search for a love that had just dived into a murky river to save a friend.
And then I turned the page…expecting the next chapter with baited breath.
Instead, I was met with a polite white screen on my computer, telling me that Part 2 was coming soon!
You have got to be kidding me.
A story has a beginning, middle and an end. One of the things I love about books is that they give me a complete story. One that I can hold in my mind and relish and devour over time. Yes, there are stories that are part of a series, and cliffhangers do exist, but they do not take away from the completeness of the story- they add to it, by making the reader wonder about the characters, the plot, and what will unfold in the next story. A good ending allows for closure, but still hope and wonderment for the next adventure.
All your ending did was make me feel cheated. Your characters, your story, even your setting was snatched away from me just as I was beginning to invest time and emotion into your story. It was unfair, unneeded, and frankly left a very sour taste in my mouth.
Perhaps you are someone who has watched more episodic TV than you have read books. Perhaps you are familiar with the idea of the next installment, the next chapter of the story being only a few days away on television or on your computer screen. Perhaps someone, somewhere, told you that leaving your readers mid-climax was a great way to gain new fans. Perhaps your love of the “to-be-continued” mantra has made you forget the whole the whole idea of how the written story works. I’m not sure.
In either case, the result is the same. I expect this type of thing to habit on the televisions shows I watch or the web shows that I find. I’ve already paid for the cable and internet, so what’s the big deal about waiting a few more days for the next episode?
Books, even e-books are different, though. In order to get the next book in a series, I have to buy it, or buy the collection. Which I have absolutely no problem doing when the stories being told are good.
But being forced to buy another book simply to know if the main character drowned after diving into a river to save a friend? To see how the story arc – of the original story- ended?
Nope. Not going to happen.
I will give your book and your writing about as much respect as you gave me as a reader.
A reader who was hoping to be a fan.
© 2015 – 2017, Laura Seeber. All rights reserved.