Oh, all right. Kristin linked to a December 19 New York Times article that begins:
As if mystery writers did not have enough to do just trying to come up with a good yarn, now they may have to worry about their readers' psyches.
A new study finds that people with low self-esteem don't seem to like it much when a story ends with a twist. In a whodunit, they like the 'who' to be the person they suspected all along.
The findings appear in a recent issue of Media Psychology, and were prepared by Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick of Ohio State University and Caterina Keplinger of the Hanover University of Music and Drama in Germany.
Oh, swell. Now anybody who doesn't like a given book's twisty ending is going to have to keep quiet about that or risk exposing herself as an individual with low self-esteem. And will mystery writers tie themselves into knots trying to decide whether to write for self-confident readers or for shrinking violets? (Quick! Somebody commission a study! Which group purchases more books?)
A smart-aleck friend (which is about the only kind I seem able to attract these days) recently suggested to me that the inclination to write must be a form of insanity. "No," I protested, "it's the writing that makes us insane." But on further reflection, I have concluded that the conflicting expectations of readers (and editors and agents and critics) must surely make a significant contribution.
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