Monday, April 9, 2012

Stopping Mid


I thought this a fitting topic today, since I stopped blogging for an entire month.

*waving furiously to everyone*

I'm back, but still giving most of every waking free moment to writing, so if I disappear, you'll know why.

Now, back to the topic at hand.

I've recently enjoyed reading Patrick Carman's books. My younger kids are loving the quirkiness of FLOORS, and my older son and I have blown through TRACKERS, SKELETON CREEK, DARK EDEN, and his multimedia series, 3:15.

I love how Carman weaves internet and movie experiences into his books. I agree with what he says in this video (TEDx NYED event) that most books should continue to be just what they are. But, for really important reasons, some books should include a mash of medias.

I love thinking about the internet and app opportunities for my works-in-progress. I hope other writers are considering these as well.

However, I have a bone to pick with Mr. Carman. :)

I despise when books stop mid story. I don't mean dropping a bomb or twist at the end of a book so that there can be a book 2, or 3, in the series. What I'm talking about is when you dangle your main characters off a cliff and then print 'THE END'.

Immediately after reading a book of his which does this (and not all of them do), and while feeling as frustrated as I do about it, I still run right out and grab the next book in the series. These books are wonderfully compelling, and I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

Which might just be the point.

And, the books which end mid story also contain enough amazing online magic, that I have to forgive Mr. Carman outright. The online benefits outweigh my frustration, I think. :)

My son, on the other hand, doesn't acknowledge that there is anything to forgive. He just wants to read the next book as soon as possible. Which, in itself, is magical. To get a reluctant reader to pick up a second book. To keep the books short enough to engage a reluctant reader in the first place.

I think Mr. Carman has struck an amazing chord with his multimedia books. I am willing to forgive him the faux pas of ending mid-cliffhanger, and I will continue to drop his books into the hands of my almost-teenager. And continue to read them myself. :)

What do you think? Does it frustrate you when a book ends mid story? Do you feel like that is a legitimate gimmick for getting a reader to pick up another book? Or, is it more nefarious? Do you feel as though an author who goes the extra mile, with movie clips, or interactive online material has earned a bit of leeway?

And, I haven't checked in to see what everyone is working on--what are your goals for the writing week?

If you are in NE, are you pumped for #nescbwi? Woot! Sleepover!

I'm virtually hugging you all right now, for not abandoning my blog in my long absence! Even when I take a blogging break, it is the connection to all of which keeps me writing!


  1. Totally depends. If a storyline and plots are finished up then I don't mind when just a twist is introduced. I'm learning to really appreciate books that do the ending right! But I also don't mind the cliff hangers too much.

  2. @Laura--I think that Patrick Carman does it exceedingly well. :)

  3. If the next book is out then I don't mind the cliffhanger ending so much. If the next book is NOT out, then I might get a little cranky. :-)

    This is a good thing to keep in mind as I work on my own somewhat-cliffhangery ending... *smiles mysteriously*

  4. @Anna--I think maybe you hit the nail on the head. If I have to wait a year or more to read the end of a story, at best, I tend to lose interest, at most, I start disliking the book. Awesome comment, Anna. And, can't wait to read your cliffhanger! :)

  5. I agree that it depends on the circumstances and how the author does it. If it's part of a series I give it a lot more leeway. If it's a stand alone work I tend to want more of a resolution, but am ok with it if they wrap up everything else and leave one thing to your imagination. To use a non-book example, there was an episode of a TV show I watch that ended with the (mostly) good guy having caught the bad guy, but having an extremely well written conversation with him in which he's debating killing him or letting him live. It ends with you not knowing what he chooses, and the way it was written and then filmed was SOOOO powerful that I loved it. Other people I know hated it, though, so there is an amount of personal preference to it. But regardless if its part of a series, if it's not done well it just makes me feel like I wasted the time I invested in the book, which is never a good thing to make your readers feel!

  6. I have a couple of his books in my classroom, but I haven't read them yet.

    I'm not a fan of the major cliffhangers either. I have such a long TBR pile that I might not get to the next book right away. Sometimes I walk away from the series. Other times I run right out and buy book 2 :)

  7. @Matt--Woo-hoo! I've been thinking of you. I just hopped over to your blog, but didn't read your Hunger Games post, since I HAVEN'T YET SEEN IT. Can you believe it?! Let's get together some time soon. :) (How often do I say that?) Just pick a day. :)

    @Jemi--I would definitely recommend giving those books a whirl. I have also been known to walk away from book series which feature a cliffhanger. But with his books, I was definitely connected enough to the characters that I wanted to know what happened next. :)

  8. I love Patrick Carmen. I have Dark Eden and the second book in the series in my stack to read soon.