Thursday, 6 April 2017

Chuckles Chat #11: Cliffhangers

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

This week I'm talking about cliffhangers.

I see irate reviewers on Goodreads deducting a star for the book ending in a cliffhanger or ranting about how it spoiled the whole book for them. I see people tearing their hair out at seeing one of these things pop up. I have to ask the question...am I the only book fan who doesn't totally hate cliffhangers?

I get where these people are coming from. When you read and love a book, regardless of a cliffhanger or not, I understand that readers want to grab the next book and just start reading, not wanting to wait a year or more for the next book. We're very impatient, right? We want the author to put his/her life on complete hold and get no sleep or anything so they can get the next book out NOW! We don't want to wait another DAY! (Game of Thrones readers, you have my sympathy on this one! I will soon be joining your frustrated ranks!)  But when it ends with the MC in mortal danger or a really dramatic moment, I get why people begin to wail...

Yet it doesn't really bother me. Maybe it is because I own and have yet to read another 800 or so books. I guess I don't feel the pain of waiting for that one book to come out when I have so many others screaming for my attention or a new series to try. Maybe I've learned not to stress about when the next book comes out. I don't know really! If I'm reading a book that ends on a cliffhanger, I get that arrgghh no! moment but then I just pick up the next book on the list and start reading. I don't get agitated about it.

When I see these irate readers complaining about cliffhangers, I often see them saying that it 'forces' them to read the next book to find out what happens. To be honest I personally don't get that. If I loved the book, I will buy the next one in the series whether there is a cliffhanger or not. If I don't like it or don't finish it, I don't care what happens next and don't buy it. I never feel 'forced' into reading a book! I sometimes see comments that say the person wasn't going to get the next book but now they feel they must just to see what happens with that cliffhanger. I won't change my mind about a book just because of a cliffhanger. By the time I get to one, I'll already know if I want to read on in the series or not. I either want to read it or I don't. I see some of these readers also saying that cliffhangers are therefore unfair and sometimes dock it a star on the rating. If I loved it, and really want to read the next one, why would I want to punish the author by marking it down a star? I'm not getting that either.

Authors want us to read and love their books. Some like to entice you by leaving it in a cliffhanger and some like to finish the book with a closure of that bit of storyline. Either way they want you to read on in the series. If they can't persuade the readers of the first book to continue, they don't get the sales. If I enjoy the book, I'll read on, whatever way the author finishes the book. I'm never 'made' to buy the next book by a cliffhanger. What makes me want to read on are the characters, the great writing, the action, the plot...so I'm fairly unbothered by how each book ends as long as I enjoy it. 

What are your thoughts on cliffhangers? Do you get insane with rage over them? Do you mark down books for having them? If you do why do you do it? Do you feel it forces you in some way to buy the next book when you hadn't wanted to? Or do you not really care?

22 comments:

  1. I despise cliffhangers and there will be no changing my mind :) I don't enjoy being pressured into buying another book if I found the first only "meh" just to discover the fate of a character. I'm actually likely to never buy the author again but I'm a jerk like that. I am also the forgetful type and prefer to read stand-alones or a series only when it's complete. I don't like being left hanging, I guess. I think I have marked down a book here or there with a cliffhanger but my overall enjoyment of the book comes into consideration when I'm rating a book. My numbers are kind of here nor there for me anyway and I usually have a hard time with them.

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    1. I guess being a chronic DNFer helps me in this kind of thing because if the book is meh, I wouldn't be reading on with it however it ended! Maybe that's why cliffhangers don't bother me as I often don't even get to them! I also prefer the chance to read a concluded series rather than wait ages for the next book.

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  2. I'm not a huge fan of cliffhangers (usually) but I don't actually deduct a star for them or anything like that. Unless there were other issues too. And no a cliffhanger alone won't make me want to read the next one- I'll already want to or not based on the book itself, not just the ending. Generally speaking- I guess there's always an exception but I haven't run into it yet?

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    1. This is pretty much the way I read too. By halfway I usually know if I'm liking it enough to read the next one-sometimes I have them en route from Amazon before I finish the first one so I can move straight to book two.

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  3. Interesting topic. It totally depends with me.. I have read books with awesome cliffhangers that made me even more excited for the following books. They mostly come together with a big reveal though and totally surprise me!

    Then sometimes there are cliffhangers that are not necessary and just there to bait you into reading the sequel. I get annoyed at them when the book was pretty average anyways and you know it doesn't have to be there.

    So yeah, you could say, if the book was great and it makes sense, I am cool, but if the book wasn't good anyways, I don't need it :D

    I might complain about cliffhangers in general sometimes but that's not a reason to rate a book differently, it's just me being too excited for the sequel and wanting to know how it goes on.. But that's a good thing, right? ;-)

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    1. I think it's normal to complain about a cliffhanger in your fave series as you know it'll be at least a year until the next one comes out. I mean who wants to wait! Indie authors are great that way because some of them churn out three or four books a year so the waiting time is less, which I love! Chances are if the book was really average I either don't reach the cliffhanger or won't care if I do!

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  4. I have to say that I am not a fan of cliffhangers. My daughter says she likes a good cliffhanger. If I like a series, I will want to buy the next book in the series without the cliffhanger. I don't mind if some stuff is unresolved but I do like for each book in a series to have some feeling of conclusion. I don't mind cliffhangers so much if I am reading a series that has already been released but I really hate waiting a year to see what is going to happen.

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    1. Yeah you do want the majority of the story to have some kind of conclusion. I mean if a murder happens at the start of book one, you'll be kind of cheesed off if it isn't resolved by the end of the book. Waiting a year or more for a book is not fun if you love the series...It's interesting that your daughter likes cliffhangers. I bet she's in the minority on that one!

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  5. I don't generally mind cliffhangers, though I do have an expectation that each book in a series be "complete", i.e. if there are cliffhangers for the broader series arc, that's fine...but at the very least that particular book's main conflict should have some resolution. Contrast that to a couple books I've read where the ending literally cuts you off mid battle or mid plunge, and that's what drives me crazy.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. I do draw the line at the abrupt cut off...that drives me mad! I find that to be lazy writing if it just stops with no decent conclusion or leaves a ton of things unresolved. I'm less likely to read on in the series even if I liked the book. I agree that most of the story should be properly concluded. Good writers know how to conclude the main story while leaving open something for a story arc.

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  6. They don't usually bother me but there are times when a book is just good enough to finish but I am not overjoyed about that a cliffhanger has surprised me.

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    1. I think an abrupt cliffhanger that wasn't expected is more likely to annoy people. If I was writing I don't think I would use cliffhangers. At worst I'd tease a little for what might be coming in the next book to intrigue but not annoy!

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  7. I don't *like* cliffhangers, and I do often feel like they're just a way to try and force people to buy the next book. However, I don't mind them when they're type that the main goal of the book is wrapped up and then something happens to lead into the next book and entice you. I can deal with that. But I get angry with those books that end mid-climax or even before the climax, before the goal of the book was settled. I get mad at those because that's just not a complete story and is definitely just a ploy to force readers to keep reading. Except, like you, if I didn't like the book, no cliffhanger, regardless of how crazy, will get me to continue.

    But one of the other reasons all cliffhangers make me leery is because sometimes crap happens and an author might not ever get around to finishing the series, and then all the readers would get left completely hanging. At least if a series ends early but there's no cliffhanger, it still feels satisfying enough.

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    1. Definite no to abrupt endings that make no effort to wrap up the story threads. I hate it when you turn the last page and wonder where the rest of it is. That makes me less likely to read on even if I enjoyed it. That I agree is to force the reader to read on.

      Your point about something happening after the cliffhanger that stops the series continuing is a good one. Publishers unhappy with sales might dump a series and they don't care about leaving loyal readers hanging and not every author can or will continue by self publishing. Ada Adams wrote two great books and the second ends on the cliffhanger from hell. Book 3, the finale, had cover reveal in Sept 2014 and was to come out March 2015. Two years on and nothing. Doubt we'll ever see book three and it finished on that dreadful cliffhanger. That is a big risk with Indie books. It is a good reason not to have cliffhangers!

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    2. I agree, when an author does that abrupt half-story ending thing, it just makes me more likely to NOT continue out of spite lol.

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    3. Yeah, I've no time for that at all!

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  8. While I admit I find cliffhangers sometimes annoying, it's only because I want to know what happens. It's no different than a season ending cliffhanger and if I survived The Walking Dead cliffhanger last year, I can take anything a book throws at me. Personally, I can't imagine lowering a rating just because of a cliffhanger. And yes, they do encourage me to buy the next book which I'd do anyway if I liked it. I also have no trouble not picking up the next book if I didn't like it. Although it didn't end in a cliffhanger (at least I don't think it did), I didn't like The 5th Wave much and never have picked up the last 2 books despite so many people loving them. Great chat!

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    1. I didn't get into the 5th Wave at all (you know what I'm like!) though I might watch the film eventually. Maybe. Cliffhangers in TV series seem to bother me more than in books for some reason. So much easier if you are able to binge watch. We're impatient us readers!

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  9. Great discussion topic, Chuckles! (also, HI! how are you?!)

    I, personally, both love and loathe a cliffhanger. Which, I know, makes almost zero sense, BUT... if I really adored the book, and fell in love with the characters, and will be reading the next book in a series anyway...a cliffhanger, when well-written, makes me even more excited about what's to come next.

    On the other hand, there are some cliffhangers that feel a bit superfluous to me--usually for books that I feel don't NEED a cliffhanger ending, but are only using it to "keep the plot going/carry the series forward."

    I feel like, in many instances, a book doesn't NEED to rely on a cliffhanger to keep the story going--if the story there is entertaining, if I find myself LONGING for the next book as soon as I close the last page...those books? don't really need a cliffhanger. Oftentimes, cliffhangers in books come out of nowhere for me--I feel like the plot was already wrapped up nicely, and therefore it's as if the author couldn't contrive any other way to propel the series forward but to randomly through this open-ended ending at readers in hopes they'll continue forward. It's these cliffhangers that I loathe, honestly--the ones that aren't so much necessary for the plot, but more "literary bling."

    I hope this makes sense? I feel like half of it was rambling... XD

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    1. Sometimes I think authors put them in if they can't think how to finish their book...

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  10. I usually don't mind cliffhangers, as long as it's still a good ending. It really depends on how the author handles them, but for the most part I am okay with them. I also get how from an author point of view those cliffhangers can help make people excited for the next book.

    I am the same as you I might think arg I want the next book when I read a cliffhanger and then I pick up another book and mostly forget about the cliffhanger again. Yes I am excited for future books, but at the same time I don't mind waiting a while for the next book. I have enough other books to read in the meantime that I am also excited about.

    And indeed if I enjoyed the book I will read the next one or if it makes me curious enough about what happens next, but I never feel forced to read the next one and have easily stopped in the middle of series or after book one. And if I really want to know what happens next I can always ask someone who has read the book. Great post!

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    1. I'm lucky that I can switch off after reading one book and go right into the next without any kind of book hangover. I think that lets me be more relaxed about cliffhangers! Really enjoyed your imput Lola thanks!

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