Trust and the Writer

I had a thought last night – as I am wont to when I can’t sleep – about trust, books, and the writer/reader compact.

The book I was reading was the last in a long series. I have a feeling where it’s going and I won’t be surprised if the writer goes there. In the previous book she began to change the heroine’s character. Not subtly, but in giant leaps and bounds.

I think reading a series is a little like having a relationship with someone. When it’s over the breakup is tough. You have to get along without this person now. You have to go it alone.

When the writer pulls the rug out from under the reader it’s kinda/sorta a betrayal of trust. It’s like being told that your beloved cheated on you. I don’t know how you get past that.

I almost don’t want to finish this book, even though the series has been enjoyable, for the most part. The character shift disturbs me, however, because it almost forewarns of the upcoming denouement of the heroine.

How do you feel when a series ends? What do you think when a writer does something that you think is out of character? Yes, it’s her creation, but doesn’t she owe something to the readership? Let me know what you think.

13 thoughts on “Trust and the Writer”

  1. I love series that go through 2-3 generations and I am sad when it all ends. My favorite is Bertrice Small’s Skye O’Malley series. Thank you for letting me add my input!♡

  2. I’m not a true fan of series. I can live with a trilogy the best – beginning, middle and end. Too many start being repetitive or you have to wait too long or as in your case, it’s not what it should have been. I chose a standalone most often.

    • I’ve always been a little leery about really long series. People change, but I’m not sure I like all the changes a character makes.

  3. Okay, I do not read a great many series, for the reason you suggest. I read series by authors who have always presented their characters as human beings. They may change as human beings can, but generally characters are behaving as would be expected of them. Please, no unexpected tangents.

    In other words, I want a sense of consistency and reality. I like books which are populated by people I like. No, not everyone has to be a joy, but if the main characters are not someone I would like to have coffee with, forget it. Interesting, yes. Entertaining, yes. A jerk who is hateful, no thank you.

    I read authors who do individual books and whatever happens with the characters – fine. I do not want a series which presents someone new with the name of the primary character I have come to know and love.

    • I have to like the characters or at least have some sympathy/empathy for them. I have to understand why they’re a pill. However, I’d prefer to have people be flawed and not mean or cruel.

      As a thought experiment I once wrote a story about a truly evil individual. I hated this person I’d created. Plus, when I walked away from the keyboard I wasn’t all that happy about me, either.

  4. I enjoy some series. Some not so much. I’ll start a series. Get to about book three then the story line or heroine just gets stupid. I can’t tell how many books I buy based on previous books I’ve enjoyed by an author then end up donating the book because it’s just plain awful.

    • I have a rule about series that I think I unconsciously follow. I lose interest after five books. Or I start to notice that there’s suddenly a character arc that I don’t like. It’s weird. It almost always happens at book 5.

  5. You always have such a perfect way of putting something. I hate the last in a series so instead of going slow on it I read pretty fast sort of like ripping off a band-aid. When a writer changes the characters personality I get very angry and if it’s a significant change I won’t finish it or anything else he or she writes.

    • I have been reading the last book very, very, very slow. I am ready for it to end, but I don’t think I’m going to like the ending. Sigh.

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