I don’t really like cliffhanger endings. I don’t care if it’s movies, TV or books. Don’t like them. I mean, I don’t want to have to wait for the next installment–usually a good few months if not longer. So given how little I like them, I don’t write them. That is, I didn’t. Now I’m reconsidering.
First, obviously cliffhanger endings take a risk of pissing off your readers. They might get angry and throw your book across the room and vow never to read your work again. On the other hand, as much as I hate cliffhangers, they inevitably make me pick up the next book. It’s the same with TV shows and movies. I have to know what happens next and how the story works out. I may hate the method of getting me to do it, but I will do it all the same.
So that brings me to writing a cliffhanger. Do I write what I despise? Some ethical part of me wants to yell, hell no! But the more devious and creative part of me says why not? Why not if it brings readers back? Is that enough reason to use that ending? Is that manipulative?
To be honest, I usually write the ending that makes best sense to me and usually that is not a cliffhanger. Mostly because I don’t like them. But this time . . . It was the only possible ending for the book I’m working on. The only one. It’s the only one that makes sense. And it’s good. Really. I love the ending. But even so, I keep wondering about it. Am I committing some sort of authorial sin? Will the villagers come and burn down my house? I don’t know. All I know is that this is the right ending for this book and no other will do. So that’s what’s going to happen.
But I wonder, what do you think of cliffhangers? Are you willing to keep reading the next book? Are there books where it worked well? Or made you never want to read again?