My post rebutting Neil Gaiman spawned a lot of comments and a lot of good debate. It’s always eye opening when issues you feel are self-evident wind up being very much open to different interpretations with other people.
So I’ve devised a little test to peer into your minds to see how you tick. 🙂
Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation.
Assume a writer self-publishes (just to take the publisher out of the equation and make the example cleaner). He writes Book 1 of a new fantasy series. You pay your $25 for it, and you find that he’s a good writer, his characters feel really alive, his world is interesting and he poses a lot of intriguing questions. The end of the book is a classic cliffhanger with no resolutions…
Two years pass, and the next book he publishes is Book 1 of a different new fantasy series. You pay your $25 and find that once again, his writing is technically very good, his characters are well written, this new world is interesting and he poses a lot of intriguing questions. And again, a huge cliffhanger ending, no resolutions, no closure.
Two years go by, and he self-publishes a third book and it is Book 1 of a third new fantasy series. You know the drill — you pay your $25 and find the writing is good, characters are good, world is interesting, no closure, cliffhanger ending.
Another two years goes by and he self-publishes his 4th book, and it is book 1 of a fourth new fantasy series.
My question is: would you buy it?
And it is only fair that I be the first one to answer. And I absolutely would not buy it (in fact I probably would’ve stopped after book 2). An unfinished story gnaws at my soul — that’s just the way I’m wired. It’s like an itch that I just can’t scratch, and if an author indicates to me that he isn’t going to be finishing his stories, I won’t put myself through the self-inflicted torment I’d endure, no matter how great the author is. It just isn’t worth it to me.
There are more great books out there than I have life enough left to read, and more are being published every day. I literally don’t have time to read everything I’d like to read, so I’m always looking for reasons to filter out a particular author, and this is an easy filter for me.
If you’re in the same boat, you *probably* could at least see my point in my Gaiman post (even if you didn’t agree with it). If you think my answer is bizarre, then you probably thought my Gaiman post was off the wall. But maybe this’ll give you a glimpse into how I come to the conclusions that I did?
Anyway, I’d love comments on this. Am I just part of the lunatic fringe on this, or do most people like the closure of having cliffhanger endings followed up on?