Loose Ends

July 2007

For the most part, I only read Romance Genre Novels, or, as we all prefer to call them, "Romances". When I pick one up, I know exactly what to expect. There will be a hero and a heroine who will end up with their HEA at the end.

Sure, some may say "What is the point since I know how it'll end?" But I must say the point is to read about the journey that the hero and heroine take. There is so much going on in the world around us, that I love being able to pick up a romance and simply escaping into a world where the good guys win, and love triumphs.

I could write column after column about why I love Romances, and why there really isn't a debate as to whether or not there should be an HEA (there simply must be to be Romance), but I believe all of you are members of RWA, and it would be like preaching to the choir.

I was on a loop one day when the author stated that she likes to have loose ends in her books. She doesn't write series, but she likes to keep loose ends in her single titles. That way the readers can come up with their own scenarios.

I was appalled. I don't like there to be loose ends. I want my book to be finished with a little bow on top! Unless of course I am reading a series where those loose ends will be addressed in a later book.

I decided to address this issue to members of the readers group I attend, members of the various loops I belong to, and co-workers. I found the results to be fascinating. For the most part, readers do not like loose ends, and they can be very adamant about this opinion. I expected this to be the case for romance readers, and typically, that was the result. However, I was surprised to learn that several of my friends who do not consider themselves romance readers were exceedingly vehement in their opinions that there must not be loose ends. And we're not just talking about a murder mystery and maybe having one of the murders remaining unsolved. They didn't want any issue or topic to be brought up within the story and then dropped. This could range from a shadowy character to focusing on an adopted child without them learning the truth of their background.

In general, the only people who responded that they liked loose ends were authors themselves, although many authors also stated that they disliked loose ends. One author stated that she loved having loose ends, but then she writes a series and will bring it up in a later story. Many readers agree that this is an exception to the loose ends that they do enjoy.

I think that a wonderful example of having loose ends through a series are the Harry Potter books. There will be an issue brought up in one book that will be significant later in the series. However, as the final installment approaches, I wonder how J. K. Rowling can possibly address all the loose ends from the series. There are so many questions that I have, and I truly hope that I will be satisfied with Book 7. Or will I feel like the fans of a tv series that recently ended and be let-down?

I would be interested in learning about your opinions about loose ends, and the comments I received from others. Feel free to e-mail me also with questions or topics you might like to have addressed in future columns. Although I do not make any guarantees, I will take all e-mails into consideration.