There’s a time and a place for an easy, happy read. A book that keeps you smiling and laughing the whole time, a book that you breeze through cover to cover with no worries, no issues, and no doubting. That time is not mine, and that place is not my bookshelf. I want to feel sick to my stomach as much as I want to laugh. I want to feel depressed as much as I want to feel overjoyed. And I want to read from cover to cover having no idea at all how things are going to turn out in the end.
I wasn’t aware this was a hot topic for people until I started looking around and noticed some people advertising the fact that their novels were HEA. So you’ll know, without a doubt, that the characters are going to be alive and happy in the end. Now don’t get me wrong, HEA is a wonderful thing. It makes you feel good, you close the book with a smile on your face. What’s not to love about that? But it defeats the whole point if you know from the moment you crack open the cover that the characters are going to be happy in the end. Because as you’re reading the book, and the characters are in danger or it looks like they’ll never share that kiss, you still KNOW that they’ll make it in the end.
So I ask you this. What’s the motivation to keep reading? Where’s the tension that I’m supposed to feel when I turn the pages? I already know what’s going to happen! I already know that everything is going to turn out okay! So why should I care?
The irony in my sentiment on this is that most of my stories have their own versions of HEA. And the stories I have planned to write next also have (mostly) HEA endings. But I don’t want the readers to know that. I’d rather they have their hearts in their throats as they read the last few chapters. I can definitely acknowledge that not everyone agrees with me. I’ve read the arguments that people like knowing that a book is going to have a HEA because they don’t want to feel that doubt, or they don’t want the disappointment of a sad ending. I can get that. And just because I don’t want that guarantee doesn’t mean it’s in any way wrong to want it.
Regardless of what you want out of your stories, regardless of how they make you feel, keep reading, keep feeling. In the end, that’s the real point.
Thanks all. And Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Americans.