I have a teeny confession (come on, it’s been months since my last one) … I sometimes peek at pages towards the end of a book.
Yes, I know, very juvenile and somewhat pathetic, but sometimes I just can’t help it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t read the end of the story (I actually want the plot resolution to still be a surprise), I simply skim the pages to see if names of characters I care about are still there.
I try hard to not let my attention grab on to full sentences. I just want to see enough to know the character/s I care about are still in the picture.
Even if I discover the worst, I’ll still keeping reading – but at least I’m prepared for a particular ending … and often I’m even impressed with how the narrative arc made me OK with that ending by the time I reached it.
I don’t do this with all novels, and if I’m being honest, it tends to involve stories that are relationship based. I did it with The Remains of the Day (would Mr Stevens make his meeting with Miss Kenton?) and I did it this week – despite giving myself a good talking to that it was not the behaviour of a mature reader!!
I was reading the second instalment of Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight series (full posting to come on this once I’ve made it through all four novels), and found I needed to know if Bella and Edward were going to be reunited. (Of course, I know there are two more, so they would be together again at some point, but I needed to know if it was going to happen in this book.)
I guess it’s a sign of well created tension that I feel the need to do this with certain stories. It could also be a sign I don’t yet trust the author - there's a fear they may make me care about a character, only to rip my heart out. (With more books, and more understanding of an author’s style, this becomes less of an issue).
Perhaps this is one of the reasons I enjoy writing so much: I’m in control of my characters’ destinies. No surprises!
Is anyone else brave enough to admit to this embarrassing compulsion (or give me the lecture I deserve!), and if so, what books prompted it?