July 24, 2014

Finish The Story So Your Readers Want More

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

Summer with more daylight has always been the time I read, more than any other season in the year. I gravitate towards young adult reading because I enjoy the reminders of countless hours spent reading with my children. 

The most recent young adult book, I picked up, was a great read until the last third of the book. It was historical and immersed the reader into the story. It contained a passion on two levels: to save the main protagonist and an exciting mission. There was human evil, a chase in harsh conditions, a couple of almost captures, and then escape. 

However, at that point it took a darker than dark turn without any thought toward contribution to the story thus far. It was only one chapter that should have been edited away. Clearly the protagonist was in peril, but this development had nothing really to do with the theme quest of the book. It seemed to be included for shock factor and unnecessary. Keep in mind the book's target readers are young adults. 

The end of the book was rushed. A new dangerous peril occurred for the protagonist and her mission. Danger was handled with the sacrifice of a character who had been on the journey from the first page of the book. The last chapter left too many loose ends unresolved. The book was left without a real ending and made this reader mad that the writer had not completed the tale. Complete the story in each book or you will lose readers, like me. 

As a writing exercise, I finished the story for my own satisfaction. It was fun and gave me a sense of a complete book. Have you done this? 

Let me know, but please do not name the book or author. At Southern Writers Magazine, we support all authors and their hard work. We never bash an author. I'm just curious, do you ever write the ending of a book differently than the author? 

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