OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband and I just watched the season finale of Castle. As is often the case any more, the season ended on a cliffhanger. Without giving away any spoilers, the last scene left us at a pivotal moment that will change the course of the show, but we the viewers must wait the entire summer to see how it’s resolved.

I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers. I hate getting to the end of a story and having ends not tied in a pretty bow, having issues unresolved, having new plotlines opened up and having to wait until I get the next book (or, worse, until the next book comes out!) to find out what happens.

At the same time, I love when a story is so intriguing it can’t be contained in one volume. I love getting so wrapped up I can’t put it down and being so eager to find out what’s going on that I wait on tiptoes for the next one to come out.

But I really hate when I’ve invested an entire book’s worth of reading into a storyline and I get to the end and have no closure about anything that has happened.

And yet, my book has an open ending. Not a cliffhanger, exactly. I tie up the major plotlines and give closure to the overall arc of the story, but I do have a few things I leave unresolved and a few loose ends to draw the reader to the next story in the series.

Another series I started, though, has a horrible cliffhanger ending. Absolutely nothing is resolved, and won’t be until the last book. My friend who beta-read the first one was angry at me and refused to read any more until I finish writing the series.

My stand-alone novels, though, all have happy, tied-in-a-bow endings. Well, maybe not happy, but at least there’s closure. The story ends, instead of trailing off into unfinished ribbons.

So what about you? What do you think of cliffhangers? Do you enjoy waiting on the edge of your seat for the next installment, or do you prefer each story be tied up in a nice bow?


About Avily Jerome

Avily Jerome is a writer and the editor of Havok Magazine. Her short stories have been published in various magazines, both print and digital. She has judged several writing contests and is a writing conference teacher and presenter. She writes speculative fiction, her ideas ranging from almost-real-world action/adventures to epic fantasies to supernatural thrillers.

4 comments on “Cliffhanger

  1. You know my feelings about the Wheel of Time. I like a continuing story, but when I have to wait three years for the next book, I often don’t go back to it. I’m with your friend. Let me know when it’s all done, and I’ll read the whole thing.

  2. I dislike cliffhangers, especially when the next book takes years to come out. By the time it does, I’ve forgotten the major plot points and have to start over. That was the reason I gave up on the Left Behind books. When the series went longer than 7 books, as had been promised, I screamed, “Cash cow!” and ran for my life.

    I’ve run into some horrible cliffhangers while reading indie books. One memorable one stopped in the middle of the finale. In the middle! And there were no more books even being planned! I was so mad.

    I want books that tie up the book’s major plot, but leave some metaplot threads open for future books.

    • That’s more or less how mine are. I don’t mind loose threads that intrigue me for the next one, but I do like to know that what I’ve been driving for throughout the last few hundred pages has been accomplished.

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