Monday, May 20, 2013

Let's Talk About Closure

I've talked before about the differing nature of series and the types of closure a book within each will or will not provide. Given the rise of what I keep referring to as installment books, it seemed a good time to talk about that some more. 
Now, up front, I want to clarify that I am not talking about serials, where the story is intended to be broken up in to pieces and (hopefully) the reader is aware that they are signing on for the story a piece at a time. 
I have recommended the Hunger Games series to many people, but also warned them that the first one ends in a more natural stopping point and the second, well, you might just want to have the third right there next to you.  Certainly I'm not blaming Suzanne Collins, I don't have a better place to end that book, but I often compare it toEmpire Strikes Back because yeah, stuff happens and stuff gets found or fixed or resolved but he is still trapped in the carbonite!
I've come across quite a few YA series of late where it ended and, well, just because it's an ebook doesn't mean I didn't stare in disbelief and try to check if there were more pages. 
One of the things I think "Nashville" does really well is to introduce a tiny scene at the end of each episode that leaves you going, oh, well, that's going to be trouble.  And (so far) none of those have been terribly misleading or involving character's in mortal danger.  Now, sure, part of that is that the stakes in "Nashville" are usually emotional or financial.  And yes, they (usually, barring schedule hinkyness) are usually on the following week so only have to keep you up for seven days, not the months until the next book comes out. 
And I may be spoiled by the linked romance series, where someone falls in love, or the romantic suspense where at least one baddie is usually apprehended, but it's a challenge for me.  Yes, all the author promised me when I got that book was that book.  But, I start to wonder if someone should warn me, this book is not designed to provide plot closure.  I'm all for planting seeds of thing to come, and sure, not everyone's grand ideas are standard paperback size, but warning labels, I am seriously considering them now. 

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