By Anna Bell
I write chick lit, and I read a lot of it too, invariably it’s a feature of the genre that there’s a happy ending. I’d go so far as to say that I’d be a bit miffed if I read an unhappy ending. The downside to that is, more often than not, you can spot who the heroine is going to end up with at the end of the book. But for me, the beauty of the book is all about how they get there; the little twists and turns that come along the way. I don’t care that I know Bridget is going to end up with Mark; I want to know how she’s going to get there and I want to enjoy the ride.
As a lover of happy endings, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to learn that I adore rom-com movies. With those, you pretty much always know who the main character is going to end up with (usually the terribly nice boy-next-door rather than the super-hot bastard). It’s that predictability that makes the genre heart warming. I also watch and rewatch these rom-coms. I know exactly what’s going to happen, but I still cry then swoon at the end of Never Been Kissed and I can’t help getting butterflies in my stomach at the final dance of Dirty Dancing. My enjoyment isn’t ruined by knowing what’s going to happen.
I may love a clever plot, but when authors try to be too unpredictable, it can ruin the book. Last year, I read a book where there were three possible male suitors that the main character could have ended up with, and the author didn’t give us an inkling as to which one she’d go for. The trouble was that when it came to the end, I didn’t agree with her choice of man. I hadn’t seen enough of their relationship developing to believe it. It was a shame as I loved the main character, her backstory and her situation. For me the lack of predictability spoiled the book.
I’m definitely a lover of the predictable, but I am also a big believer of keeping your reader on their toes. There is nothing worse than when every page feels like something else you’ve read, and when you’re not caught out by the odd twist or turn.
What camp are you in? Do you like a certain amount of predictability or do you like to not know where the book is going to end up?