Monday, June 18, 2012

Lets Talk: Cliffhangers. How far is too far?

“Let’s Talk” is something I’ve started here on Epilogue.  It’s basically a time where I can have a heart to heart with all of you awesome people.  Hopefully it’ll be a time where we can interact and share are thoughts and feelings!

            Let’s talk about books, or rather, the endings of books… in particular cliffhangers.  I don’t know about you, but nothing gets me angrier than a book ending on a HUGE CLIFFHANGER, knowing that I have to wait another year for the next book.  Don’t get me wrong; a little suspense can be a good thing!!  I enjoy having that tug to pick up the follow-on book and find out what will happen next, but recently the endings have been too drastic and irritating.

             For a long time, I wouldn’t pick up any book that was part of a series because I would always get annoyed with them, especially if there was a huge number of books in said series.  Nothing aggravates me more than getting really involved in a book, finishing it, and by the time the next book is out I have to reread the entire series again to remember the intricate plot details!  Arghh.  So infuriating.  Because of my intense dislike of series in the past, I have always had a fond spot for standalone novels… though they seem to be an endangered species now.  I like being able to read a complete story at once and feel like the conflict is resolved.  That’s why I eventually accepted series into my reading list because some of them resolve the main conflict and then I get to experience the characters I love all over again.  Over time, I began reading all types of book series (both cliffhanger ridden and standalone stories.), and I really don’t regret it… I was able to read many fantastic books because I was open to them.  I just wish some didn’t end abruptly in the middle of a thought and leave me feeling that something’s missing.

             So, to sum up my ramblings, a small cliffhanger is FINE.  It entices me to want the next book: I get it.  But, when it’s taken too far and makes it feel like the whole story is leading up to nothing, it gets old and annoying.  Basically, it can’t be overdone (for me to like how it ends) and don’t worry about me picking up the next book… if it’s well done and I feel attached to the characters, I WILL be picking up the rest of the series.  If it’s not, then it won’t matter to me if it ends on a huge cliffhanger.

What about you?  Do you think cliffhangers have their merits?  How far is too far?


  1. I agree to an extent Lauren. For me the cliffhanger has to be enough for me to want the next book right now but not so infuriating that I actually get frustrated with the author. I recently read Delirium and Pandemonium back to back and got quite pissy. Oliver has a gift for infuriating endings... and now I have to wait for way too long to find out how it all plays out. Boo! I still really loved the books but it's kind of a love/hate thing with the author.

  2. As a writer, I LOVE using cliffhangers. Most of what I do are cliffhangers --- not to torture the future readers, but because that is just how I write. I like suspense that kills you, I like intensity...and cliffhangers is how it comes out in my stories. BUT...I do not like the long wait between books. So, I may not have a long wait when I publish them. A few months perhaps, but...yeah. I don't want to torture people that much. I love cliffhangers when I read when I have the next book in the series right there. Otherwise, yes, it is crappy having to wait!

  3. I'm not a huge fan of cliffhangers, but what I REALLY hate is when most of a book is filler (this usually happens with middle books in series), then something interesting finally starts to happen in the last 15 to 20 pages, then...cliffhanger.

    I also find the suspense aspect of cliffhangers doesn't really work for me--I read so much that by the time I get around to the next book, I've usually long forgotten what was so compelling at the end of the previous one!

  4. I actually do like it when there are some open threads that hint towards a sequel. Leaving a character literally dangling on a thread over an abyss on the other hand ... not welcome! That's the reader in me speaking. The writer in me loves the tension that comes along with keeping others in suspense, muahahahaaa!!
    BTW a good example for me banging my head against the wall was when I realized that the third book in the Across the Universe trilogy won't be out before next January *faints*. Granted, the cliffhanger wasn't exactly huge, but I would have sooo loved to continue the story right away.