I suffer from wrapping envy.
Despite years of forcing myself to be-paper and be-ribbon bundles of presents, certificates, and small animals, most of my wrapping jobs look like abstract art.
If I’m being generous.
While I can grudgingly admit that perfectly cornered and neatly bowed presents look better than the gifts that I give, I don’t enjoy those tidy edges nearly as much when it comes to stories.
Now, I am not a fan of stories that leave a thousand loose ends and frantically throw themselves across the finish line.
However, I equally don’t enjoy stories that try to solve every single thing that was even briefly touched on in the story.
Part of the wonder of reading a book is our ability to build our own worlds around the words on the page.
There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the end of a story or a series and finding the spaces we have to create worlds in our own heads shrink away to nothing.
While part of it is the frustration of someone who enjoys fleshing out part of the story in her own head, the other part of it is a frustration at the misunderstanding of what story the writer is trying to tell.
We do not tell the story of the universe from conception to destruction.
We tell the story of small pieces that meet other small pieces and pass onwards.
Good stories know the story that they are planning to tell and they tell it.
Better stories show that there are other stories in the world and let them pass into the distant reader’s imagination.
I am a Goldilocks reader who enjoys stories that sit on a fine point of balance when it comes to the tales that they tell.
My own attempt at this balance can be seen in my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor. It is available here.