How to Tell if Your Book Has Betrayed You

So, once again I interrupt my regularly scheduled blog post, to post something completely different. I’m sure you are already wondering why I bother scheduling my posts if I just change it whenever I feel like it. The answer is simple; it’s my blog, I do what I want.

Today I change it up a little, because (insert high pitched girlish squeal) I am a guest poster over on Lizzy Baldwin’s! I wrote a small piece and was excited to see that not only did she like it, she liked it enough to admit it in public. How exciting is that? Alright, one little guest post may not seem like much to more established writers and bloggers, but for me? I am thrilled to be published somewhere that is not a) my mother’s refrigerator, or b) my own blog, which is written, edited, and published by me, giving me the final say in everything. I was deeply touched that Lizzy was willing to put herself out there, taking a chance on me and hoping it would work out. Please help me say a big thank you, by visiting her blog and making sure all of my readers are her readers as well.

I know other bloggers might take the day off, and leave the posting as a link to what I wrote somewhere else. I could do that, but let’s go ahead and accept the truth people. I talk way to much to take a day off. If I don’t talk to my friends through the blog, it’s just me and the voices in my head. (Yes, that is a bad joke. I blame oxygen loss from the girlish squeal.) Instead, to prove that I never know when to stop talking, I decided to write a companion piece to the one posted on Technically you don’t have to read When Books Betray You for this one to make any level of sense, but really, do you want to read the sequel without reading the original?

I didn’t think so. Don’t worry. I’ll wait right here.

Are you back? If you’re not, I applaud you for being able to read this while not on my page.

Alright, now that we know how we feel when your book has betrayed you, it brings another question. How can you tell if your book has betrayed you? Sure, you’re unhappy, you are beginning to wish you had never invested your time, and desperately wanting to not still love the one who has broken your heart. But was it really a betrayal? Not all poor writing and storytelling choices are truly betrayals of the readers trust. Here are a few signs that your book has betrayed you.

Has your book somehow found it’s way out of your hands and across the room?

No, it did not sprout wings and fly away. Most likely you threw it across the room. Violent outbursts are a classic sign of betrayal. So far, it is not looking good.

Have you been caught yelling at fictional characters?

Don’t worry. You’re not any more crazy than the rest of us. If the characters would just do what they were supposed to, they wouldn’t be in trouble. It’s really their own fault.

Has your book contradicted itself, or broken it’s own rules?

If your characters live in a town where everyone falls asleep at 10 o’clock because of a genetic anomaly that makes it impossible for anyone to stay awake, don’t try to convince me your main character is just more determined to stay awake than anyone else. You better have a good reason to break a rule, or you have broken my trust.

Has your book failed to finish?

There is a small amount of leeway for series books. We didn’t need a final defeat of Voldemort in the first Harry Potter book, we just needed a conclusion to the whole stone issue. There are more books coming, so some things can be left open. However, the main point of the book should always be finished. Mystery series? You can leave open the romance issues, but you better solve that murder. If it is a single book, standing alone, I want nothing left open. I need to know who did it, how they did it, why they did and what is happening to everyone now that the book is over.

Has your book not come to a satisfying conclusion?

This is probably one of the most common betrayals. There are always the series that end in a cliffhanger, waiting for the next book. Not only do you not learn how things end, but you then have to wait for who knows how long for the next book. Beyond the cliffhanger is many other potential ending disasters.

Did your book build up to a battle that then fell flat?

If everyone acted as though there was a reason worth fighting for, let them fight for it. They should be willing to suffer the losses if the cause is right.

Did someone die who could have lived? Was there no or an unsatisfying reason for the death? Did the death come in a way that did not make sense?

These kind of go together. I can accept some deaths of main characters. These deaths act as catalysts for other things. Even if I wish it didn’t need to happen, I understand why it did. Others, seem like a gratuitous death, just to tick people off. A hero deserves a hero’s death. They should die fighting for something, in a way that makes sense. Don’t feed someone poison to save their loved ones and then kill them with a random bus driving by. Let them die for their cause.


Of course there are many other ways in which a book can hurt you, can break your heart, and rip your emotions to pieces. Betrayal is different for many people. Maybe what kills me, doesn’t bother you. The important thing, is that you get help. You find the support you need to recover, and get back into reading. You can’t blame every book for the hurt one has caused you.  Get back to the library, go to a bookstore, or even just read an old favorite.  Remember, if you stop reading, the book has won.


An extra big thank you to Lizzy Baldwin and for running my guest post!  I was honored to be included in your blog! 


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