As a No-Spoiler Activist, I don’t like to know or tell people if the end of a book has a cliffhanger or a happy ending.
Getting to the end of a book that was good or breathtaking or heartwarming and knowing the author struggled for hours or days or even months dreaming of how to end their story is a gift.
OK, so maybe that sounds a little mushy, but it’s the truth. No matter who the author is or what their motivation for writing a story, they undoubtedly worked hard on it.
An author’s talent lies in making us, the readers, feel something.
Isn’t that why we read? Because we want to feel something other than real-life stress?
That’s part of why I read. Seeing as though my moods are pharmaceutically-aided to be leveled so I don’t fall into a pit of emotional despair, it’s sometimes hard for me to allow real-life feelings to get through the meds. A well-written book cuts through the pharmacology, and somehow, my brain understands the difference between real-life emotions and fantasy emotions.
Getting to the end of a good book is both dreaded and welcomed. Dreaded because I don’t want it to end; welcomed because I want to know how the characters’ issues are resolved.
I won’t tell you if a story has a happy ending. I don’t want to know if the story has a happy ending. I won’t want to tell you if a book is a cliffhanger. I don’t want you to tell me there’s a “major cliffy” at the end.
I want the story to play itself out for me as the author intended.
If I already know that I’ll be left on the edge of a cliff, I lose that *gasp* of emotion and the feeling of frustration a cliffhanger gives me. It’s that masochistic side of me that wants to feel, even if that feeling is of frustration at unresolved issues. The waiting game if part of the experience. Waiting until the next book, the resolution of the story—good or bad—is all a part of the author’s plan.
We, the readers, should trust the author’s intention for our experience. Sure, there may be authors and publishers who end books without resolution in hopes that we’ll gobble up the next one just to find out what happens so they get paid a few more dollars. But the majority of authors who write good stories do it because they want to make us experience their storytelling, and that storytelling is most effective when we develop an emotional attachment.
Part of my responsibility as a No-Spoiler Activist is to preserve the anticipation of an author’s storytelling process.
I love to hate—or is it hate to love?—a good cliffhanger because I get to feel real emotions. I get to release my literary masochistic side and trust in the sadistic author.
And you know what they say about a sadomasochistic relationship: Trust the process and feel the burn.