The Risk of Predictability

I don’t want to be predictable….more specifically, I don’t want my story line to be predictable and I’m struggling with that tonight.

I’m working on a piece where the main character is searching for something – at the risk of giving away spoilers for those of you who know what I’m working on, I’m going to leave it at that…she’s searching for something.

For the majority of the novel she runs into dead-ends, she gets turned around, and takes some detours…is it ‘predictable’ if in the end she finds what she was searching for?

Is is too “happily ever after” if she finds what she was searching for all along? Or as a reader would you be more inclined to read a story where they don’t necessarily find what they are looking for?

Is it too hard for readers to identify with or relate to a character who gets exactly what they want.

These are the many questions I’ve been asking myself ever since this scene for my novel popped into my head last evening.

I guess what I’m asking is this – as a reader, would you be satisfied at the end of a novel if the main character gets what she spent the novel looking for – if I wrap the story up in a nice little bow, happily ever after style…


If the character spent the entire novel searching in vain and coming up short?

Let me know what you think…I’m still hard at work on this novel and things can still change but I think for the ending I’d really like feedback from readers.





2 thoughts on “The Risk of Predictability

  1. Erin says:

    I think that it depends on the story and what you are trying to convey to readers, and that’s a difficult thing to discern. We don’t want endings to be so sugar-coated that it seems fake, but at the same time we don’t want them to be so depressing that people leave the story feeling sad and never wanting to read it again. That isn’t to say stories can’t be successful with a happy or sad ending…it just depends on the context and the readers who read it.

    Not the best answer, I know…but I’m not sure there is an answer for this one.

    Don’t feel bad about struggling with this, though. I’m going through the same thing with my series. I really want to give my characters an ending that leaves them all with smiles on their faces, but looking at it, I know that’s not going to happen. Some will end the story happy, others will not. It all depends on the decisions they made (or eventually make) in the story.

    Continue to write your story and see where it leads you. You are on the right track and the answer will become clear in time. If the character finds what she is looking for, good, but even if she doesn’t, that can still be a good thing. Sometimes the best part of an adventure isn’t in the end, but the journey. 😀


    • meganmariewrites says:

      I think it’s funny you mention the journey because that’s exactly what this novel is – a journey to find family, to find love, and ultimately it’s a journey to find belonging. The two protagonists are each on a journey to find family in some form or another and they take different paths to find what they are looking for but in the end the story is *literally* all about the journey!


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