June 19, 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Cliffhangers: Do They Compel You to Read More or Steer You Away?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:

CLIFFHANGERS: DO THEY COMPEL YOU TO READ MORE OR STEER YOU AWAY?

I've been trying to recall if any of the series installments I've read so far ended in a cliffhanger...and my mind drew a blank. Can I be so lucky? Because let's face it...regardless of how annoying or exciting you may find them, in this day and age, cliffhangers are an example of poor storytelling. I understand the need for an author to leave some loose threads to be picked up in the next installment of a series, but cliffhangers? seriously?


TV shows seem to rely on this trope more often than books do, now that I think of it. Anyway, I'm sure there are lots of book cliffhangers around - I've probably just lucked out in that respect. Then again, I don't think they would have the power to either make me want to read the next installment or steer me away from a series. Though I'm glad that I seem to pick books where the author didn't think they were necessary, or books by authors who can see how cheap they are. I love them more because of that πŸ™‚.


Well, that's it for now. And if you're interested in participating, here is the TMST prompt list for the rest of June and July:
  • June 26th: What is worse: cliffhanger, abrupt ending or open ending?
  • July 3rd: Vacation reading: what books would you pack for your vacation?
  • July 10th: What do you like about reading on an ereader?
  • July 17th: What do you love about audiobooks?
  • July 24th: How have your reading habits changed since you started blogging?
  • July 31st: What are some popular series you haven't tried or have and stopped because they just don't appeal to you?
As usual, lots of fun/thought-provoking prompts coming! Again, I'm not skipping turns this time - my next TMST will be on June 26th. I hope lots of you are joining in too!

Now tell me something...do the books you read usually have cliffhangers? how do you feel about them?

12 comments:

  1. Hard no for me. I dislike cliffhangers and what they represent. It means that you need another book to finish a story, which is frustrating. I think every book should be able to stand on its own merit. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a series, but I think each book within that series needs to be able to stand alone. What happens if the authors next book gets cancelled because the first one didn't do as well as they'd hoped? Readers may never get closure or feel like they've completed the story in some way.

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. Insightful observation...I hadn't really thought that far ahead. And I do agree that, even in a series, there should be a kind of closure for every book anyway. If I like your series, I'll read it no matter what; if I don't enjoy it that much, no cliffhanger whatsoever will ever convince me to read the next book "just out of curiosity".

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  2. I absolutely detest cliffhangers- but only because I'm way too nosy for my own good ahaha. I kinda like how they leave me in suspense, and it's basically guaranteed that I'd continue with a series if the cliffhanger is just torturous enough xD

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    1. That is...you love to hate them LOL. I was beginning to wonder if there was actually someone for whom they worked...because readers everywhere swear they hate them...

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  3. I have a love-hate relationship with cliffhangers. There is definitely a way to do them right and a way to just make readers mad. That being said, I do think that most cliffhangers are used merely to get readers to pick up the next book or to watch the next episode instead of contributing something to the story or the characters. In that way, I think cliffhangers can be used as a cheap marketing ploy instead of a plot device.

    But, there are a few cliffhangers that stood out in my mind and enhanced the story instead of just leaving it to die. The best example I have at the moment is at the end of the second book in the Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab. I have read a lot of her books and there is only one that I know of that ends in a cliffhanger. She doesn't overuse the cliffhanger, which made it more powerful and surprising when she finally pulled it out of her author arsenal. Instead of the cliffhanger feeling like a brick wall that the reader runs into it felt more like the necessary end. The cliffhanger was consistent with the story and the characters and didn't come out of nowhere. Don't get me wrong, I was still frustrated with the ending and need the next book to be satisfied but I didn't hate the ending.

    I hope that we can agree to disagree a little bit on this point, though I will say that I am less of a fan of cliffhangers in TV just because they are so overused and almost cliche at this point.

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    1. Absolutely! TV series are the worst when it come to cliffhangers. If they don't end with a wedding or some kind of celebration, more often than not, they end with a cliffhanger - and usually, one where you should be left on the edge of your seat about the fate of a character, while you already know if they will live or die, because it's all over the internet if the actor will return or not πŸ˜‚.

      And now you have me genuinely curious about the cliffhanger-that-worked...

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  4. I never thought of it as poor storytelling, but rather, I feel it's more a marketing ploy to ensure we get the next book. πŸ˜‚ I do agree, that I see cliffhangers more in TV than books, but they are still out there, and for some reason, I seem to find them. Boo!

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    1. This discussion gave me an idea...I might post a list of series that DON'T have cliffhangers πŸ˜‰.

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  5. I hate cliffhangers, and don't really believe they are effective + you're right, they're an example of poor storytelling. If a book is good, I love it and want more of the story and characters, then I'll pick it up no matter how satisfying/closed the ending is. (With that being said, obviously, there can be some questions left unanswered etc.)

    If I lose interest between the two books, well, then it just wasn't good enough in the first place, ending on a cliffhanger wouldn't have saved it either. *shrugs* With that being said, I wouldn't lose interest in a book just because of a cliffhanger, although when an author uses a cliffhanger in each novel of a series? Meh, miss me with that, that's the death of creativity right there. Great discussion!

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    1. Quote: "If I lose interest between the two books, well, then it just wasn't good enough in the first place, ending on a cliffhanger wouldn't have saved it either."
      I absolutely second that!

      "although when an author uses a cliffhanger in each novel of a series? Meh, miss me with that".
      Haha, yes, I can see that happening! I mean, not only to you. It would become more and more grating/annoying with every book...and (as a writer said) would be a clear sign of the author's insecurity...

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  6. There was a run there for awhile in YA, where everything was a big cliffhanger and it made me give up ALL series. I can't remember everything a year later, the results ended up being a letdown when I finally got to it and it just plain annoyed me lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. If one reads a lot of series and doesn't usually rereads, that's one of the issues with cliffhangers for sure...But now I wonder how I did manage to only read books without them...it's because I barely read the popular ones?

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