He's the hero... Of course he's going to win!

As always, I like to remind the folks who are reading this blog that first and foremost, I am a reader, then a writer. I read anywhere from one to three books a week, even when I'm writing. And considering the fact that I write only one to three books a year, I believe that means I have more clout as a reader than a writer. My opinion, of course. And ... I do understand that not everyone likes what I like. But that's okay. I never forget that. My posts are just my opinions. Also, since I also market books for a living, usually sharing one to six books daily, I read a lot of reviews. So, with that disclosure, onto today's discussion about reading and/or writing.

Today I want to talk about the unbelievable story and happily-ever-after comments in reviews.

One of my least favorite comments in a review is that the story was unbelievable. I guess when a reader says that, I'd just like a little more clarification. What was unbelievable? The fact that what happened, happened, or that the writer didn't make the characters seem believable?

I mean, really, if you think about it ... aren't all stories supposed to be unbelievable? Isn't that why they're stories? Even the "Based on True Events" stories. The reason those events are turned into a story in the first place is because the story is out of the norm, far-fetched, or shocking. I recently watched -- well, I was in the room, as my hubby watched, as I NEVER would have watched it in a million years -- No Pain No Gain. Halfway through the movie, and several times thereafter, the producers added a caption at the bottom of the screen: Yes, this is still a true story. Because it was so outlandish. I still have a hard time believing even half of it.

Heck, half of the stuff that was written thousands of years ago, is still read and studied in school: Greek Mythology, Homer's Iliad, for instance. No one questions a horse that flies or a half-man, half-goat. We know it's not real; it's called escapism. Especially back then when there wasn't much else to do but work and tell stories.

The fact of the matter is, whether we're reading a Tom Clancy thriller or a romance novel by Nora Roberts, the story is supposed to be a tad bit unbelievable, or it wouldn't be exciting to read. 

Believe me ... if I just wrote about my day-to-day life, I'd bore you to tears. BUT ... if I went back a few years, I could start a story right in the middle of the action of some sensational or horrific event in my life. And yes, you would probably say, “What are the chances that happened?” But that's what would make it a good story. Or, I can take an average event, and add some crazy twist. The point is, if nothing unusual happens, it's not really a story. Heck, it's barely a journal. Other than a few scribbles, we rarely write about a boring day in our diary. No, we wait until something exciting happens.

The other issue in reviews is the Happily Ever After, which we readers and writers commonly refer to as HEA. I see a lot of people who say ... “Meh! It all worked out!”

Well, again, how many of us want to read the story where everyone dies at the end. Sometimes it's okay ... if there's meaning behind it. Like the book/movie Pay if Forward. I had a love/hate relationship with that ending, but at least there was hope. (No spoilers!)

As for books by Nicholas Sparks, I now question if the book has an HEA. I know that sounds lame, but I don't want a book where there's no hope at the end. I don't mind a few tears, but I want a smile at the end.

Anyway, most of us readers want a Story and an HEA. We read for enjoyment, we read for escape, we read so that we can have hope.

So next time you read a book, and it sounds unbelievable, remember, that's what authors are supposed to do: Tell a Story

Until next time, happy reading and writing, my friends!


Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

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  1. I agree with you about the clarification. I've reviewed books and used the term "unbelievable" before, but usually it referred to the characters being described a certain way only to go against what I'd been told would be normal behavior for them. If I deemed a whole story unbelievable, and one actually comes to mind ... it was about an active Navy SEAL going undercover to pose as a rockstar. Aside from the fact that active duty SEALs need anonymity, there were several other issues with the plot that just screamed fantasy. Again, depending on the type of reader who picks up a book, some don't care if the plot is ridiculous as long as they were entertained. Others prefer a more realistic approach to their fiction. On that note, there was a whole discussion amongst reviewers about the mention/use of protection or the lack thereof. In the real world such practices aren't safe. Between some pages, however, readers worry about the perception. Believe it or not, some men and women would still go bareback either because they're pressured to, or they're too drunk, or they don't know better. Romance novels can also educate since I've learned a few things in my years of reading ;)

  2. So true... The one book of mine where the protagonists failed to take precaution--when they should have--there's a consequence. I couldn't let them get away with 'bad form'. lol!

    1. I can believe it if it was part of the plan all along, e.g. a tortured hero who been abused in the past and didn't want children, worried he'd treat them they way he'd been treated etc., or a heroine who had tried for years to get pregnant, then that ONE time .... :) I think most of us notice when an author is being lazy and when they're being intentional.

    2. That's a lot of good storylines, Michelle. When you gonna write them? :)

    3. Haha! The answer to that is N.E.V.E.R.

    4. lol! Okay, then! I'll let you know if I can incorporate them into a story. I'm working on a new line of women's fiction, so I might be able to sneak the one in. :)

    5. Nice! I'll leave the writing to the experts :)