A short but sweet question today: when you’re reading women’s fiction, do you like to be able to guess the ending? If so, how far through the book do you prefer to be, before you figure out the likely direction of the plot?
I was thinking about this as I listened to Emily Giffin’s The One & Only. I haven’t finished it, so I can’t say for sure I figured out what would happen, but when a certain male character’s physical appearance was described in chapter one, I had a pretty good idea he would feature as a significant love interest. As a writer, maybe my antennae are slightly more tuned into that. And, sorry, but whenever a female character throws up, I can’t help but forecast a pregnancy. 😉
By contrast, in Marian Keyes’ The Mystery of Mercy Close, I was much further through the book before I figured out what had happened to (missing) Wayne. I spotted it just a little before the protagonist, and found that highly satisfying. Additionally, for most of the novel, I wasn’t sure who would win the day with Helen on the romance side of things.
In classic romantic novels, it’s often easy to predict which man who will share the heroine’s ultimate happy ending, and the thrill is in watching them get there. My husband, however, can never truly love a book or movie unless he is completely blindsided by a twist in the tale.
This isn’t just idle curiosity. My next novel is likely to have the word Secrets somewhere in the title and I’m wondering how and when you most like to encounter the big – or sly – reveal.
So, for chick lit, what’s your preference? Do you like to remain mostly in the dark? Or are you happier when you can spot the destination, allowing you to revel in the journey?
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