Cliffhangers Plot Device or Annoyance?

cliff-hanger You’re reading a new novel whether it’s an e-book or paperback novel and you come to a point in the book where it dawns on you that there is too much story left to tell and too few pages left to tell it in.

Your book is going to end in a cliffhanger. How do you feel? What do you do? Well if you’re anything like me on this particular evening I threw my e-reader aside and gave up on the book. After two cliffhanger endings I found that not only did the book not end here with a happy ending but went on for another three books. It was also made worse by the fact that the characters were changing between the books ending up with different personality traits than they’d acquired in the last book and reverting in progress and character growth that they had made.

It got me thinking though that in recent years this has been a trend among publisher especially in romance. So much so that submission calls now say must have HAE or HAE for now ending.

I suppose from an author stand point this makes sense financially. Find success with your first book and readers are compelled to read your second, and although I understand the reasoning behind it let me tell you I hate it.

I hate it both as an author and a reader. I would much rather see an element of the story that can carry into an new book. Something that propels the story forward naturally rather than something that can feel artificial.

Now that’s not to say that all cliffhanger endings are done poorly there can be success but is it really necessary?

Instead could the next book pick up where the last left off? Or baring that at some point down the road?

Do people enjoy this style of reading or has it just become a normality in the writing world?

What do you prefer as a writer or reader?

Time Management

It’s only April but already this year has been a struggle for me. Why? Some would chalk it up to time management. In addition to writing I also have many other interests and it’s been a challenge to give each interest it’s dedicated time, but I try.

People always ask me how do you find time for writing. See like most I live a busy lifestyle. I work a full time job in addition to writing, and I have a multitude of hobbies. (Writing is not a hobby please be mindful of this when speaking to writer.)

This question always stumps me because the truth is I don’t know how I “find” time for writing. Just like I don’t know where my ideas come from. The truth is a lot of the time the ideas are just there.

Of course I go through periods where I don’t write as much or as often as I like, and there are times when I struggle with the logistics of my novels, but for the most part writing is just an extension of my being I equate it to having an third arm it’s always been there and has served me well. If damaged or suddenly gone I would suffer and function differently.

I have to tip my hat to everyone writing or with multiple jobs who are also raising families. I don’t know how they find the super human strength it must take to juggle their schedules.

My big secret….

I make time.

Time isn’t found it’s sacrificed. It’s stolen from other areas like family time or sleep. The real challenge comes in balancing everything. Picture here a plate spinner with several items in the air. That being said the new challenge I’ve given myself is to steal time for myself not because it’s trendy but because it’s necessary. So I’ve vowed to take time for myself even if that feels unproductive or selfish. Wish me luck…

what do you  “steal” time for?