Writers Support Group stated by Alex Cavanaugh. And happy July 4th, to all my fellow Americans. I love the US of A.
Besides writing, I do lots of reading. I know it's important for writers to read alot, but I also just really enjoy it. I'll stay up late reading, read in between innnings of my children's ballgames, while in the bathtub, just about any place I can grab a moment. This is especially true when an author has pulled me into their tale, building the suspense, until I can't wait to see how it turns out. Often I don't want the book to end, but there is something wonderful about a satisfying ending. I'm sure you've all read those books that leave you thinking about them long after you've finished, replaying the scenes in your mind, and appreciating how the author tied it all together and crafted their story without giving away the end. And don't we all try to do that as writers?
This past week I read a scifi book by a very well known, successful author. This gentleman had published dozens of books and I've enjoyed a few of them. Most are more along the lines of what my son reads with lots of technical speak describing the size of guns and engines. This book had plenty of that but the plot was too interesting for me to be put off by that. I stayed up very late to finish it, wrapped up in the struggle of the main characters against alien technology and the resilience of the human spirit. I went into the last twenty pages, bracing myself for the defeat of Earth, when the author introduced a paranormal element. Suddenly, Earth had won and people were saved and totally accepting of this paranormal entity. I felt completely cheated by the denouement of the story.
The experience has prompted me to rethink some of the things I've written into the final book in Futhark Chronicles fantasy series. Have I provided a satisfying outcome that doesn't cheat the reader? Are there surprises, but surprises that make sense? Will the reader read 'The End' and feel the story is complete? Will the reader think back over my story and say, 'yes, that is what had to happen?'
I hope I have not made the ending of any of my books a case of 'deus ex machina,' but we all need to guard against this. Don't take the easy way out. Have you read a book that cheated at the end?