Topic Tuesday: Happily Ever After?

topictuesThere has been controversy lately about the wrap-up of series. The first that stands out to me is the case of Charlaine Harris and the Sookie Stackhouse ending that had fans so furious many canceled their pre-orders when the reveal was leaked well before the official launch. I know she came under harsh criticism for how she ended the popular series (no spoilers in case you don’t know or haven’t read them yet).

And now the highly anticipated release of book three of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth has her in considerable hot water. As of writing this post, her reviews on Amazon are remarkably bottom heavy in the one-star department. Disappointed fans are commenting in droves over the way she chose to complete the trilogy (again, no spoilers). In the case of the Sookie Stackhouse books, the Happily Ever After the lead character received wasn’t the one the readers wanted. But in the case of Allegiant, the fans were devastated by the lack of anything resembling a HEA.

So, I ask you–how important is it for your favorite characters to see a positive conclusion? For example, what if Syd had died at the end of The Last Call as the only way to save Gabriel from Ameline? How would that have made you feel?

On the one hand, I feel a responsibility to you, the people who buy and read my books, to give you exactly what you’re looking for–and what I’ve led you to expect. And, as a huge fan of HEA myself, there are only a few times I’ve considered not going down that road.

But, on the other, I don’t get to dictate to my characters how their stories will end. They have full control, and I like it that way. I’ve been able to cajole and beg on occasion to save the odd character I felt earned it. But, for the most part, I get out of the way and let my characters tell the story they need to tell.

Tell me, then: would you stop reading if you didn’t get the ending you think the character deserved?

Happy Tuesday!

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Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
I am a YA and Middle Grade novelist on the East Coast of Canada. Look for The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, (Acorn Press); The Hunted series, plus many, many more as I fulfill my dream of world literary domination.

2 comments

  1. That’s a good question, and I don’t know the answer. I haven’t yet finished the Sookie series (thanks for not giving spoilers). Part of me thinks the ending should fit the tone of the series. Peri Jean Mace, the main character of my currently running series, has a pretty grim life. I’ve often wondered if it would be unrealistic to give her too peachy of an ending.

    But I think a lot of fans and readers see it differently. They’ve fallen in love with the main character and don’t want to see bad things happen to them. I think the joy of reading the series becomes less about the conflict of the series/story and more about getting to “visit” with this character they’ve grown to love. Taking the character away (ending the series) is bad enough but giving them an Unhappily Ever After is like rubbing salt in the wound.

    And I’m not saying every fan or reader is like that. But I do think some are.

  2. I like what you wrote about not having total control over your characters. I’m struggling with an alternative to the “predictable” HEA. I’m going for unpredictable, alternative HEA. Hoping for success!

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