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Fed up with all the books not having an Ending?

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Initial post: 10 Jun 2013 17:19:19 BDT
Kath says:
Fed up with all the books not having an Ending? List them here so readers can know in advance if they need to buy more.
Entwined with You (Crossfire Novels) another book with no ending....
I don't mind if the story continues but I hate it when you need to buy the next book if you want to find out. A story for me needs an ending even if their are others in the series.

Posted on 10 Jun 2013 17:34:58 BDT
Kath says:
plaything A good story but no end....

Posted on 10 Jun 2013 17:52:53 BDT
Chris says:
Tad Williams' Otherland springs to mind, though the lack of a satisfactory conclusion to each book didn't bother me too much because I had all 4 at the ready. And I usually much prefer beginnings and middles to endings. I don't mind an ending being a bit crap if all the intrigue at the start was... well... intriguing. That's why I don't read blurbs and reviews; beginnings can be ruined just as much as endings!

Posted on 10 Jun 2013 18:01:55 BDT
Chris says:
Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger did bug me a bit. The first two books were clearly just a single book cynically split into two. The fantasy genre does seem to suffer from a lot of thou shalts, and "make it a series" is definitely one of them.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2013 19:57:03 BDT
Kath says:
I never read the blurbs, they sometimes can put you off reading a great book.

Posted on 10 Jun 2013 20:31:23 BDT
Anita says:
The Book Of The New Sun: Volume 1: Shadow and Claw (Fantasy Masterworks): Shadow and Claw Vol 1
Sword and Citadel: The Second Half of the Book of the New Sun

Those are actually two omnibuses, two books apiece (so four books), and they exist also separately. No point at all reading just one of them, it has no ending at all and goes on on the second one. However - if you like something weird (and I'd never call it fantasy, even if officially it seems to be), those are really good books. (But it would be more correct to call it one book in four volumes.)

P.S. The fifth Urth of the New Sun is a later addition

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2013 20:47:35 BDT
Kath says:
You can get away with no ending if the books are good....but the Entwined with You: A Crossfire Novel (Crossfire Book 3) novel was dull as well.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2013 22:15:25 BDT
monica says:
Yeah--I know what you m

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2013 00:19:26 BDT
B. Guiton says:
I couldn't agree more. Even if it's not the happy ending you would have wished, so long as it's hopeful and at least ties all the loose ends up.

Posted on 12 Jun 2013 11:26:33 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jun 2013 11:28:33 BDT
Bart Cline says:
I'm really enjoying Stephen Donaldson's The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. It's a high concept convoluted fantasy keeping a staggering number of balls in the air, and none of the first three books has any kind of conclusion. It seems that everything rests on book 4, and it's nine years since book 1 was published. I guess the problem is it's taken him 12 years to write it, and had the whole thing been published in one volume it would have been a bit awkward to hold in your hands. What's more, if you haven't read the First Chronicles and Second Chronicles (three books each) then this new series would make no sense to you.

Not a gripe about endingless books, I know, but just my 2 cents.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 11:47:28 BDT
Just because you don't *get* the ending doesn't mean it isn't there.

Unfortunately, in this US lead, consumer driven society, the message from publishers is that if the reader doesn't *get it* they won't buy it. Subsequently, everything is written to the lowest common denominator. You can't get away with subtle plot points or ambiguous endings.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 13:04:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2013 13:06:21 BDT
Chris says:
I think simple things are popular for a reason. It's certainly the case with music that stuff with lots of tension and less resolution doesn't appeal to most people because they haven't spent enough time listening to music for music's sake. For a lot of people, music is a background thing, so ambiguous themes would be intrusive and inappropriate. They're not stupid, they just haven't spent enough time focusing entirely on the music, and so haven't developed the deeper need. I reckon the same is true of books.
I don't think this thread is about ambiguity though, it's about books involving stories that are to be continued.

Posted on 13 Jun 2013 13:35:25 BDT
All books need to have some sort of conclusion - whether it's part of a series or not. It's like a continuing TV series, unless it's a specific 2-parter, every episode needs to round up its story and the characters journey. This is the same with books. If I read a book and it has no end, forcing you to buy the next one in order to know what happens, I get quite annoyed!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 15:28:57 BDT
I can't agree, Chris. I don't know anybody who would listen to "The Birdy Song". A good many in various states of inebriation may dance to it at a wedding reception but I can't imagine anybody would take time out of their lives to listen to it. Literature is the same. Mills and Boon publications may be popular but it's not something you wanna get your teeth into.

Most people I know would get no satisfaction from attempting The Sun Crossword.

Good entertainment should demand our attention. Subsequently, we are gripped while watching. Or when reading we are forced to read every word, rather than scan. However, in more modern commercial offerings we are required to repeat and highlight plot-points in case a reader missed it through scanning, rather than reading everything. Or a viewer decides to watch something whilst they are on the phone, or on facebook.

In days gone by if a reader didn't get something it was the reader's fault and they needed to improve themselves to understand *better* literature. Now, everything is written for four-year-olds.

This is probably why the majority of people do not read fiction; it's boring and predictable. Within simple storytelling there are only seven basic plots. Reading has become the equivalent of listening to the Bay City Rollers every day!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 15:51:18 BDT
Kath says:
That is how I it if the story continues but rounded up.... the first fifty shades she left him.... a conclusion that continued in the other books and I was happy to buy more.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 16:40:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2013 16:53:50 BDT
Chris says:
Not fair. You've chosen a novelty song not a pop song. As you say, in the 70s they were nursery rhymes for drunks, not pop. So that's not really a fair example. Most people do listen to pop, that's where it gets its name :).

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 17:54:37 BDT
Okay, Chris. I may have been extreme with my example but the point is still valid. The structures of both music and literature are similar and have followed similar paths. Take jazz or classical, for example; each instrument makes its contribution and often features at certain points, as characters do. In modern pop music it seems to be all about the lead vocal remove the vocal and there's nothing apart from mundane repetitive sounds.

In response to most of the other comments on this thread they all pertain to 'simple structure' literature as opposed to what I call 'soap structure'. In soap structure we pick a beginning, middle and end for each storyline, and then run them currently, each a section behind, and switch between the stories.

Chapter One: Launch "Story 1": beginning - Jack meets Jill.
Chapter Two: Launch "Story 2": beginning - Humpty Dumpty gets depressed. Continue middle "Story 1" - Jack falls in love with Jill, and proposes.
Chapter Three: Launch "Story 3" : beginning - Snow White buys pregnancy test. End "Story 1" - Jack & Jill's wedding. Middle "Story 2" - Humpty Dumpty climbs wall.
Chapter Four: Launch "Story 4": beginning - Jack called to help Little Bo Peep in sheep search. End: "Story 2" - Humpty Dumpty declares his live for Jill and jumps off the wall. Middle: "Story 3" - Snow white confesses having a drunken threesome with Jack and Humpty Dumpty.

Using this technique, in the finale we endeavour to tie-up all current story-lines. The reader is satisfied, everything they've be following is resolved. However the structure dictates we are obliged to launch a new storyline. This structure is very difficult to end. Notice, when a series comes to an end the writer is obliged to blow something up or burn something down.

I really hope that makes sense.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 20:22:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2013 20:32:52 BDT
LEP says:
Well if a book is part of an ongoing series then it won't have an ending until the last book in the series, will it?! If, that is, it is the same storyline throughout. For example Karen Marie Moning's Fever series.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 22:12:41 BDT
Chris says:
The point I was trying to make was that I believe simple structures sell well because there are more casual listeners/readers than avid ones. Like it has to do with the amount of exposure rather than the amount of intelligence; the more you read/listen, the more you become exposed to simple themes, the more dissatisfied you become, the more you yearn for kinks. Maybe casual readers never become dissatisfied with simple forms because they never become over-exposed. It seems true of art also, the more a person studies art, the more they move towards the abstract and conceptual. I think if you acquire a taste for more ambiguous, freeform, off-centre stuff, you just have to accept that there'll never be as much produced with you in mind.

Posted on 13 Jun 2013 23:14:43 BDT
monica says:
Chris, I'm a bit hurried so unsure whether I'll make sense--in any case your last post reminds me that there are people who read only romance, detective stories, w/out *ever* becoming dissatisfied w. the formulas (& prob. never losing the sense of reassurance to be found in the formulaic--and in the formulaic's absence of challenge?). Might be that what you said in previous post is germaine to this, that intellectual absorption, not just emotional involvement (okay, you didn't say that but I'm riffing on what you said), never mind perceiving music, books, etc. as wallpaper stimuli makes one long, sooner or later, for something more complex--or at least makes one more receptive to a piece of music ending in augmented not tonic, a piece of writing in which a > c > d. . .

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2013 07:20:32 BDT
Kath says:
in other words Pulp.... easy reading, quick money for Author....wn win unless you have a brain and get bored

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2013 10:12:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jun 2013 10:20:26 BDT
I'm not entirely sure that's true. As a former professional musician I did find that my tastes expanded, but they didn't really change. I still enjoyed the same music I had before. The inclusion of sophistication didn't exclude digging a good rock song. In fact, as I get older I find myself reverting back to the things that turned me on to music, art, and literature in the first place. A good beat, a pretty picture, and a fun story.
I guess in a way I have left behind the desire to prove how intelligent I am in favor of my own pleasures. When I was younger I looked for those aspects of art and literature that challenged me in a deeply cerebral way. Now, I look at the arts as an escape, not a puzzle.
Then again....maybe I'm just getting old.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2013 11:47:56 BDT
Chris says:
Maybe you've become over-exposed to the quirky :). You're probably right. When I examine what I'm saying, it seems to make sense on the surface but doesn't stand up to scrutiny. It was a theory born out of an annoyance with youtube comments attacking Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga, and the "idiots" who like them. I came up with the idea that it has to do with being a casual listener because I just hate the idea that everyone's an idiot, it really gets on my nerves. I've spent 20 years or so scrutinizing music, and have of course developed a taste for things that surprise me, but like you, I've never stopped loving a good three chord Dylan or blues song, so...

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2013 12:05:11 BDT
The strange thing is, I/we are culturally and academically programmed as to what constitutes a story (novel). If you step back and analyse the components of a successful story you will realise a writer is very restrained in what he can do, and their is no logic, rhyme or reason, to why stories have to be written a certain way.

It's actually quite ludicrous.

A story must contain *heroes*, *villains*, *conflict*, *struggle. There's usually *a journey*and some sort of *love interest,* and often character are required overcome adversity.

"Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets back." Is a time-honoured formula you will accept it.
"David meets Goliath. David challenges Goliath. Goliath turns David into pulp." - This is unacceptable. It is not commercially viable.

This takes me off-topic to my rant about self-published authors who wish to call themselves "indie" or "independent" because it sounds better - please don't do it! "Independent is an established genre. Formulaic novels that are rejected by mainstream publishers do not qualify for the "Independent" label. Part of the thrill of an independent production is that there are no guarantees *good will prevail over evil* or *the boy will get the girl back*.

Posted on 14 Jun 2013 12:31:28 BDT
One of the things I had to overcome as a musician, then later as a person, was my own tendency to look down on people who had simple tastes. My own pretentious attitudes were making me as closed off as those I thought to be "stupid". It wasn't until I realized that my perspective was narrowed by my refusal to understand that ones taste in art, music, or literature had almost nothing to do with the depth of a person's mind, did I begin to see things in different light.
Some people just like music that makes me want to tear off my ears. They like books that make me want to get a memory enema. They like art that makes me wish I was blind. But if I judge them only by my narrow standard of culture and sophistication, I miss out on aspects of people that can be far more meaningful and rewarding.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  27
Total posts:  76
Initial post:  10 Jun 2013
Latest post:  12 Jul 2013

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