Can I just say how much I hate sequel-bait?
I am of course talking about books with no real ending. I cannot stand it when authors do this. Or really any form of media. TV, movie, video game. If you create something, even if its part of a larger whole like a trilogy or series, each entry should be able to stand on its own. I should be able to pick up a book and read it without fear that I will need to read its sequels to get a fulfilling ending and story.
Truth be told the ending is always the hardest part of writing. How exactly do you wrap things up after the big conflict? Its not the easiest thing to do, in any media.
I have written a little, here and there, short stories and the like and I am never happy with how I have ended things. Its easier for me to figure out how I want things to end when I am writing a D&D adventure because I know how my players (readers) will react.
But a story? Its not the easiest thing in the world.
What’s worse is many times, now a days, authors automatically seem to assume that they need to have a trilogy, or quintet, or series. So often its a forgone conclusion, especially in fantasy. I guess everyone wants to write the next “Lord of the Rings”. And sometimes its fine, because each entry into said series is a standalone book. I can point to say the Death Gate Cycle, which is 7 novels, and I can read any single one of them and enjoy it in any order. Mistborn is in a similar place. The Rook will have a sequel soon and is in a similar spot. The Percy Jackson series is like this. Harry Potter is.
But just as often you can run into things where you have to read or view or play the sequel to have any chance to understand what is going on. Banished of Muirwood was like that. Its literally an entire book that setups its sequel. Its pointless.
You know what is a great example of a long running series with excellent connectivity between books, but at the same time each book being a single stand alone story? The Dresden Files. Or hell, the Xanth series.
I will tell ya this: If your story cannot stand up to scrutiny on its own because of its ending, I am gonna have a problem.
But what about you all, dear readers? How do you feel about sequel-baiting and non-endings?