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Tirjasdyn
04-09-2007, 09:00 PM
Just got in the latest rejection. Never believed for an instant that I'd get accepted to this particular market. But I decided to start this round of sendouts with a "Start Big" theme.

They sent back the rejection letter which gave a list of "things you can work on as they might be the reason your rejected"

Not a big deal...but in the middle of the list it says that their readers "sci fi readers" only like happy and upbeat endings (reason why, cause their problem solvers) and that's all they expect.

Now that's fine if they want to believe that...but I had to wonder.

I'm a sci fi reader...I read lots of books and stories, I've enjoyed many with unhappy endings...in fact some of those are in this market (just check some of my back issues).

Now this could be a recent change...but still.

So what do you think? Happy endings only?

Rich
04-09-2007, 09:08 PM
It all depends on what you consider the best ending to be. I don't think the general reading audience is "tidal" when it comes to ending preference. Do what you think will work for the story.

Just Me
04-09-2007, 09:13 PM
Not a big deal...but in the middle of the list it says that their readers "sci fi readers" only like happy and upbeat endings (reason why, cause their problem solvers) and that's all they expect.
Erm, really? :Wha: I've been reading science fiction for over two-thirds of my life, and to me, this just sounds goofy. I'm not a fan of endings that are just plain depressing (rocks fall, everyone dies, the kitten gets eaten by a rabid goat), but bittersweet endings that make me cry are wonderful to me.

But then again, I tend to go for soft sci-fi more than the hard stuff, and I like reading lots of things other than just science fiction. Maybe they're only referring to the hardcore nerds. ;)

~JM.

Spiny Norman
04-09-2007, 09:13 PM
That's just the silliest thing I ever heard. Endings aren't about how you feel at the end of it, it's about conclusion and resolution. It needs to work in the story. I can't tack on a "happily ever after" theme to John le Carre, nor can I put a grim, gloomy ending on Wodehouse. They're writing two different things with two different stories.

If it's believable within the story then it's fine. I refuse to believe that a fanbase of any genre has a penchant for one "feeling" about a story. That's boring and is actually quite insulting to the sci-fi readership, I'd expect.

giftedrhonda
04-09-2007, 09:16 PM
I never heard that. Having an emotionally satisfying ending is vital, but that doesn't mean it needs to be happy or upbeat...

maestrowork
04-09-2007, 09:43 PM
Maybe that particular publication only wants happy and upbeat ending.

Tirjasdyn
04-09-2007, 09:59 PM
Maybe that particular publication only wants happy and upbeat ending.


Yeah it seems to be...

It was just so odd to see that.

BardSkye
04-09-2007, 10:20 PM
"Podkayne of Mars" by Robert Heinlein. When it was originally released, in the 50's I think, the editors had him change the ending to a happy one. Doubleday re-released it some years back for their book club with both endings; happy first, then the original.

The original ending made me want to throw the book across the room. Not because it was a bad ending, just out of sheer frustration that things hadn't worked out well for the characters. It was powerful and perfect even though not in any way happy.

Michael Murphy
04-09-2007, 10:50 PM
Once again I find myself in the minority. First, consider yourself fortunate to receive the feedback. They're saying it's a good manuscript but. Secondly, I think they might be saying in Sci Fi and othe genres where a protagonist is searching to overcome the antagonist, readers want the hero to be successful. Let me give you an example of a successful sad ending, Cold Mountain. It was sad because the two heros spend the entire book trying to get together again, they do and one gets killed, bu then the author does a nice job of making it palatable for the reader.

You might be too close to consider what they're saying now. Set it aside and go back to it in a month or so. See if what they said can work for you. Good luck!

Scrawler
04-10-2007, 03:03 AM
Mine originally had the traditional happy ending (girl gets boy, love). But the more books I read that neatly wrapped up all the previous drama with the idea that the boy's love instantly eliminated all the girl's problems (on the second to the last page), the more I knew I had to change mine.
It ends with a sense of change, maturity, hope...but no boy.

Garpy
04-10-2007, 03:07 AM
And remember...the publishing business gets it wrong more often than it gets it right - more books tank than earn out.

You just have to use your commonsense. You'll inevitably thing they're plain wrong at first. But give it some time, then think about what they said. You may then agree, you may not.

Hell, that's not at all helpful is it? Look....if more than one publisher rejects citing that reason, then maybe there's some merit to it, otherwise, keep it in mind but certainly don't start rewriting the ending just yet.

James D. Macdonald
04-10-2007, 04:13 AM
Remember that books don't need to earn out in order to make a profit. Advances are figured to making earning out unlikely.

Which SF market uses the term "sci fi"? That might be part of the problem.

Tirjasdyn
04-10-2007, 07:40 PM
Um no...it was a form letter, there was no feedback on my piece. It was part of list of things that they tend to reject manuscripts on...none of which were directly applied to mine.

I had a happy ending....but that's not the point of my post.


Once again I find myself in the minority. First, consider yourself fortunate to receive the feedback. They're saying it's a good manuscript but. Secondly, I think they might be saying in Sci Fi and othe genres where a protagonist is searching to overcome the antagonist, readers want the hero to be successful. Let me give you an example of a successful sad ending, Cold Mountain. It was sad because the two heros spend the entire book trying to get together again, they do and one gets killed, bu then the author does a nice job of making it palatable for the reader.

You might be too close to consider what they're saying now. Set it aside and go back to it in a month or so. See if what they said can work for you. Good luck!

ccarver30
04-10-2007, 07:49 PM
In my genre, yes. Historical romance must have a HEA (happily ever after).
However, I have read books where there is a sadness attached to the ending- their first child died but they had other children. I think incorporating some sort of "not everything is perfect" ending is a good twist.

FredCharles
04-10-2007, 10:34 PM
Not all endings have to be happy. I'm a big fan of George R. R. Martin, and nothing happy ever happens in his books. The only way I can see an unhappy ending being a negative is if the reader has the sense that the characters journey was pointless due to the ending.

Jamesaritchie
04-10-2007, 10:43 PM
I think there's a difference between a happy ending and an upbeat ending. For me, upbeat can just mean an ending where some hope shows at the end of the tunnel.

But, really, SF or not, how many readers want to follow a protagonist for 100,000 words, only to see him fail so badly that no hope remains? Such an ending my be oh so literary, but most readers at least want oh so hopeful.

Spiny Norman
04-10-2007, 11:15 PM
Didn't the Hitchiker's Guide end pretty hopelessly? Granted, a lot of people hated how the series ended, but each ending to each book after the first ended with some vague sense of melancholy resignation.

They seem pretty popular, though. As does Vonnegut, who's not exactly Mr. Sunshine.