I can be quite soppy. I know, right? Hard to believe. I can, and more often lately than previously. I love a happy ending just as much as the next girl, but when it comes to books, getting there is half the fun. Here is a truth that I wish more authors would recognise when writing their stories.
Even Roses Grow in Shit.
What does this have to do with the price of tuna in a Nevada brothel? I shall tell you.
Authors, authors, authors. You go to all the work to create characters that make us feel things. You give them histories, families, trouble along the way. You ensure that their story is interesting enough to get the reader involved and keep them there. Then you go and fuck it all up by making sure that everyone at the end of the book has not the slightest care in the world and all involved are happy and trouble free.
I’m not much of a soap opera fan. Never have been, but my mum was. I cannot count the number of times that I watched a character who was long dead suddenly reappear to the chirping of birds and the playing of harps. Okay, it is fiction. I get that. I really do understand that fiction does not have to fully encompass reality in all forms. Still, I find it pointless to read a book where everyone struggles, has events they must overcome that test their strengths and the patience of the reader and then by the last chapter everything is forgiven, the characters are squeaky clean as a whistle and everyone lives happily ever after.
Give me some grey area. Make it believable and give me a reason to remember the end of the book. Could it be that a couple of the characters are physically maimed or emotionally scarred by the end of the book but you are proud of them for not giving up? Would it be possible for the woman who has been beaten, abandoned on the side of the road and left for dead to actually take her knowledge and help others at the end of the story instead of meeting Mr. Right and just forgetting that anything ever happened to her?
Now, I am not saying there cannot be happy endings, nor that there should not be some happiness involved. What I am saying is that it is impossible for my mind to conceive that EVERY character and EVERY situation in any group of characters can all turn out 100% sunshine and daisies. Show me that the characters have learned to adapt to their challenges and see the bright side, great. Show me that they are ignoring everything that sucks in their life for the benefit of the reader? Thumbs down. I shall annihilate you in my review.
I am begging you, authors. If you talk about a gun in the first chapter of your book, describing it in vivid detail, make sure you actually fire the bloody thing before the last damned chapter. Why even mention it if it will have no bearing on the story at the end of the book?
Red fish are pretty and I really like pearls.
All the intense drama, well written action scenes and things that make me boo hoo in the middle of the story can be erased by your idiotic fairytale endings. Keep your story moving on even ground. There is no way I am going to believe that every person in the story had serious issues until the last page when magically life became perfect.
If the character is an Arsehole at the beginning, make them a bit less of an arsehole at the end. Don’t pretend that your reader doesn’t remember chapter one.
Insult to injury:
Forget what you wrote about your own character by the end of the book. It happens, trust me. Please ensure that if you said your character had never been outside the US earlier in the book that they do not recall going to Europe as a child somewhere in a later chapter, unless this is a discovery they just made.
This is not just an indie book curse. Authors. Opinions?