Jessie: In New Hampshire, felling thankful for wool socks!
As we continue to discuss The Unexplained this month, I thought I’d turn the discussion to books. Do you like a bit of “woo” in the novels you read or write? What about books that end without tying up all the loose ends or those that leave grey areas? Do you like that sort of ending or loathe it? Have you ever written an ending that leaves dangling threads?
Liz: Love this question! And I definitely love woo in books I read as well as write. I am a fan of grey areas for sure – in my Full Moon Mysteries, I’ve had a thread that I’ve been pulling through the first three novels and only revealing pieces at the end of the first and second book. I suspect I’ll tie it up fully at the end of the third, but I’m not sure yet!
Julie: I don’t mind a little woo. I haven’t added it yet, but am playing with that. As for grey areas–it depends what they are. If they feel like the author left them for a reason, I’m good. If I feel like it was neglected narrative, I’m not as fond.
Edith/Maddie: I love Liz’s new Full Moon mysteries. That kind of woo I can live with, as well as Gigi Pandian’s Accidental Alchemist series and the Low Country Mysteries by Susan M. Boyer, which has the protagonist’s dead friend from high school popping up in the back seat of her car or from behind the couch. Like Julie, for me grey areas are all right if it’s an allusion to something I think the author will address in a future book, but not if it’s just bad writing.
Sherry: I never think I like woo in my books, but over the weekend I read Abby Cooper Psychic Eye the first book in Victoria Laurie’s Psychic Eye mysteries. I loved it! I also love Esme Addison’s Enchanted Bay mysteries featuring a magical healer descended from a mermaid. The second book A Hex for Danger released in July. And of course I love Liz’s new series. I like the main plot of a book to be tied up, but don’t mind some gray areas with subplots. And yes, I’ve left some danglers in my own books.
Jessie: I love woo in novels and films. I adore reading it and also writing it. My Sugar Grove and Change of Fortune series both feature quite a bit of it. Grey areas in terms of ambiguity about whodunnit is an entirely different matter. I am happy for there to be unexplained phenomena but not to have unexplained criminality. I don’t mind it if the guilty are not prosecuted if there is a good reason for subversion but as a reader, or writer, I want the tale told to the audience if not the authorities.
Barb: I would say I don’t like woo–but then I would tell you I love time travel stories in any form, Harry Potter, Douglas Adams, especially the Dirk Gently books, Jasper Fforde, especially the Thursday Next series and on and on. All I can conclude is I’m not very self-aware about my reading habits. As for resolution in mysteries, I don’t like books that feel sloppy or unfinished. But I am perfectly content, in fact I like, books that leave the reader with lingering questions at the end, the kind you turn over in your own mind, wonder about, discuss with a partner or friend. I really like books that live on in the mind long after the last page is turned.
Readers, do you like novels that end with some uncertainty or do you like everything to be neatly sewn up as you close the book?