Monday, November 4, 2013

That's a Wrap

My daughter and I have had some great conversations over the years about books and movies. Sometimes we're on the exact same wavelength and enjoy the ending of a movie or series and sometimes we have greatly varied levels of satisfaction at the outcome. Perhaps because of our age difference, we have different expectations.

In my recent release, First Dragon, the novel is the first in a series. Without giving everything away, at the end of the book, everything isn't exactly 'happily ever after.' It's a fantasy world, a vicious war going on, and people get hurt. People die. Battles are lost. There is no wonderful, magical or heroic balm to heal all wounds in the war torn world of Morbunda. Though the last words on the last page are 'The End,' the reader knows it's not the end for the characters who survived so far.

On the other hand in my upcoming science fiction romance, The Marine's Heiress, the readers expect a better outcome for the main characters. Many people, writers and readers, expect a happily ever after ending for a book to be considered a romance. That doesn't mean it's all sweet tea and cupcakes within the book's covers but when the story wraps up, romance novels should have that satisfying ending. The reader imagines the characters going on with their lives and find emotional fulfillment.

When mystery novels or suspense novels end, readers expect all their questions to be answered with no loose ends. Nearly every genre has certain conventions that readers believe will be met when they read a certain kind of book.

Sub genres within genres can have quirks that draw faithful readers to their offerings. Some fantasy lines are darker with more death and anti hero protagonists. Some science fiction lines are known for what we call hard science. Romances get categorized by heat levels, how graphic the sex scenes are.

Don't forget this Wednesday is the first hump day of the month and that means IWSG posts. Find the list of over 300 participants right here.

What conventions do you equate with certain genres? Have you read a book recently that surprised you in a good or bad way at the end? Do you consider genre expectations when you write?


  1. First, congratulations on your latest release. :o)

    Re: expectations
    I have personal expectations. For romance while I want a happily ever after, I don't mind if it's bittersweet. Nothing comes without a price. And I suppose that's true regardless of the genre.

    For SF, I demand plausible science. I've put down many a book for sloppy research.

  2. I always want a satisfactory ending.
    I don't write high tech because that's not what space opera is about.

  3. Thanks, Maria. I think I love the bittersweet endings most of all. They stay with me for a long time after.
    Alex, that's why I like space opera better than the high tech. My son is the opposite but sometimes we find a book we both like.

  4. What's really awesome is you share a love of the genre. I can just bet that is thrilling. Years ago I got caught up in watching hockey because I had 5 sons. Now it's a huge blessing to discuss the different games.

  5. Congrats on your release, Susan! I love that cover.
    I just read a book that I didn't know was the first of a series, and the ending put me off a little, so I'm not sure I'll read the next one.

  6. If romance is involved, I want a happy ending. Period. Dot. End of story.