When you reach the story ending, does it leave you with a feeling of satisfaction, or do you want more? Is wanting more a good thing or a bad thing. I think it depends on your culture as well as your personality.
The Hollywood ending
In my last post, I talked about the hero as a real person. Then I saw the movie and was really disappointed. There were many reasons, but the main one is the ending. There are some people who will love the movie and some who won’t. The thing is the ending is a true Hollywood ending. Happy. It just felt contrived.
A happy ending is something that doesn’t always fit. And the problem is that the audience, or reader, is being led to one conclusion and then a different thing happens.
The cultural aspect of story endings
To me, the term Hollywood ending is usually derogatory. The North American need for closure drives unrealistic endings to movies and books alike. Other cultures are just as satisfied with an ambiguous endings, or having the bad guys win – although that’s usually because there are no true good guys.
Is it the optimism that drives Americans that makes not matter how bad the story, everything will work out?
My favorite ending
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books I love. I like an ending that’s set up along the journey of the story. In Gone With The Wind, I liked that we were left wondering what Scarlett would do next because it was set up that she was a survivor and nothing would keep her down for long.
I like stories that don’t always tie up the loose ends. Having a character who still has problems to deal with is a way of making the world more real.
My least favorite story endings
I hate the magical reveal. Agatha Christie was a master of this, and I don’t like her stories because she hides the clues too deeply – or doesn’t give them at all.
The other one is the magic, you just need to tap your heels together and everything will be fine. Lani over at Storywonk.com (I love her insights) said something that made me realize why I didn’t enjoy the ending. “She had the shoes on all along”, so why didn’t someone tell her how to get home?
What is your favorite story ending?