The historical novel I read this week involved the story of the prodigal son. He was actually quite sympathetic in this one, stupid, but sympathetic. And I was getting all keyed up for the big reunion scene when…the book ended! What! I exclaimed to myself and I flipped through the end-of-book bible study searching for more story. Yes indeed, I will have to wait another year to hear the end of the story. And what if it’s different, what if the father punches him in the gut and orders his slaves to hang him by his toenails in the vineyard? Or what if he doesn’t make it home at all, but stumbles and plummets to his doom into the dark waters of the Euphrates River?
So what did I learn this week? That if you refuse to finish your book but insist on a blatant and annoying cliffhanger, you will infuriate your reader. Maybe they will buy the next book? Or perhaps they will be overcome with a sudden flood of sin nature and search out your home address online in order to send their 3 fierce children to fork your lawn. It could go either way.