You know what? I JUST finished a book that took me a while to get into. You know that kind of book. The book that doesn't quite hook you in those first few pages.
Now, most of you would have probably tossed the book aside and picked up another. Not me, though.
I tend to be more patient than most readers, so I gave this author until chapter 15 (at least half the book). Yes, it's true.
But I'm glad I did! Because in the end, I really did like the book.
This made me think of a workshop that I attended by Jennifer Crusie last year.
Her workshop was on Beginnings and Endings.
Obviously as a writer, it's very important to have those two things going for you: a strong beginning and a strong ending. Duh. Otherwise, who would read your book? (I mean, besides your mother) But...
If you had to choose... which do you think weighs more heavily on a reader?
The beginning or the ending?
This is not a trick question. And there's really not a right or wrong answer. But Ms Crusie definitely has her opinion about it. I'll go out on a limb and say that I happen to agree with Crusie that your ending is more important than your beginning.
What?!!! Santa Maria! Say it isn't so!
Yes, I know! But think about this:
Scenario one: How many have of you have picked up a book, read the first 1/3 of it and loved it? Absolutely loved it! Then something happened along the way and then by the end, you wanted to throw the book up against the wall.
Got that in your mind? Ok. Would you give that author another chance?
My answer would be no.
Scenario two: How many of you picked up a book, wasn't that thrilled with the beginning but somehow decided to persevere (like me) and continue reading only to be overjoyed that you did because the rest of the book and the ending was phenomenal?
Got that? Ok. Now, would you give that author another chance?
Since this recently happened to me and I even blogged about it, my answer would be yes. I would give that author another chance if her ending satisfied me.
When I close that book, the ending is going to be in my mind for a good long time. If I get that lingering good feeling about a book well after I closed it, that author I'll remember too. But if the author knocked my socks off in the beginning only to let me down in the end, I won't be so forgiving to try another book by that author. Sad but true. Just the way my mind works.
What about you? IF you had to choose one, which do you think is more important, the BEGINNING or the ENDING of a book?