Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » I'm a firm believer of happy endings

   
Author Topic: I'm a firm believer of happy endings
Jonsul
Member
Member # 8227

 - posted      Profile for Jonsul           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't know about everybody else, but when I read a book or even watch a movie, walking away with a happy ending is the best feeling ever. Honestly unless it really fits the story, such as a horror, if I get into a story and it ends bad I actually get mad. LOL
***spoilers***
That's what happened to me after Bridge to Terabithia, wonderful story. A boy finds himself while making a great friendship with the next door girl. And then Bam! The little girls dies! Not just dies, but drowns. A horrible way to die. Afterwards I felt as if whoever made it had just kicked me in the stomach.

Same thing happened when watching No Country for Old men. Great movie, then Bam! he gets killed by a Mexican gang. Who make off with the money. Again I was punched in the gut.
***spoilers done***

I walked away with such a bad taste in my mouth that I will not ever watch those again. And if anybody asks me about them, they walk away with an ear full.

I love happy endings, and I'm not sure I could ever be able to pen a bad ending. I want to make people walk away with the same great feelings I get.
So what's everybody's views of happy endings or bad endings?


Posts: 29 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philocinemas
Member
Member # 8108

 - posted      Profile for philocinemas   Email philocinemas         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I find this very similar to Reagansgame's post, but I will repeat myself - I prefer an ending where a terrible price has been paid, but there is tremendous hope for the future.

My favorite movies all have this element - Empire Strikes Back, Casablanca, Godfather, Matrix, Aliens, LOTR, Terminator, Jurassic Park, Diehard, Gladiator, Titanic, Tombstone, every Stanly Kubric movie, ... should I go on?

I will say this strategy doesn't work well for comedies. And I can't stand it when the ending is a total downer - I hated The Myst for that reason. Otherwise, give a little grief with my happily ever after.


Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jonsul
Member
Member # 8227

 - posted      Profile for Jonsul           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
yeah i realize that now. I used the search before I posted, but her title didn't reveal alot.
Well this is more about happy endings vs. bad endings anyways.

[This message has been edited by Jonsul (edited September 27, 2008).]


Posts: 29 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wrenbird
Member
Member # 3245

 - posted      Profile for wrenbird   Email wrenbird         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah, I bawled at the end of Bridge to Terabithia, even though I'd read the book and I knew how it ended. My husband, who hadn't read the book, had a similar reaction to you. He felt betrayed and a little angry.

I actually blame this on the marketing for the film. They made it look like a cute little fantasy adventure story and in no way implied the serious themes.

So, maybe a sad ending is acceptable if you see it coming? Or, I should say, if the story properly sets up that things probably won't end happily ever after.


Posts: 346 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BoredCrow
Member
Member # 5675

 - posted      Profile for BoredCrow   Email BoredCrow         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmmm... I don't mind sad endings.
If I think about it, some of the books and movies that have affected me most (Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance, for example) have ended quite sadly. The message is so powerful that a happy ending for this type of story would feel contrived and false.


Not that I'm not a total sucker for silly, happy endings too, just in the right places. And there are definitely sad endings to movies that have had me quite irritated.

[This message has been edited by BoredCrow (edited September 27, 2008).]


Posts: 554 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I prefer happy endings and write that direction myself the majority of the time. There are endings that are just naturally bittersweet, but I usually draw the line at death. One of my many lines. I start to wonder, though, if somebody has to bite it for a story to be successful. Seems like a lot of published stories deal with tragedy by introducing a character and then killing them off. I don't quite get that, personally. Seems a little abnormal since, while people die all the time, most people I know are bopping through life right now without any deaths in the recent past.

The Bridge to Terabithia was a book first, and the death is a really important part of the story. I cried like a baby, and my kids did too. Oh I feel bad about that, but then the movie was well-made and I think the feelings evoked were true and real and it's important to feel those sometimes. I knew the movie had a bittersweet ending ahead of time (but I'm funny like that - I prefer to know how things are going to end before I watch them so I can have my expectations set properly. So I read reviews and seek out spoilers so I can be ready.)

ANYWAY - main point is I prefer happy endings too. I think it's important that something happens during the story, that something big is at stake, that the MC has to sacrifice or dig deep within themselves to meet the challenges that face them in the story, but I don't think that always needs to be a tragic death or other dramatic and upsetting element.


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Crystal Stevens
Member
Member # 8006

 - posted      Profile for Crystal Stevens   Email Crystal Stevens         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Jonsul; The one thing that stuck out to me in this thread is you kept referring to a "bad" ending versus a "happy" ending. There is a big difference between a "bad" ending and an "unhappy" or "sad" ending. My novella is an excellent example. My MC does meet up in a terrible fix at the end of the story. BUT the whole story was leading up to just that. My MC was in the wrong all the way through and deserved what he got in the end. In this case, my readers would have felt cheated if he didn't get what he deserved and richly so.

Tragedies can be written every inch as good as comedies, dramas, action stories, or anything else. It just depends on how they're done so the reader feels satisfied in the end.

And just for the record; I like a "happily-ever-after" type story, myself .


Posts: 1320 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jonsul
Member
Member # 8227

 - posted      Profile for Jonsul           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree, but only if it fits the story.
Like in Gladiator, or Sin City
But in the example of No Country for Old Men.
**spoiler**
The MC is fighting an assassin over millions of dollars in a brief case. He makes many smart wonderful moves, and you really start liking the guy. He's poor, he has a girlfriend who wants a future, he has every reason to fight for the money. Then bam! Out of no where a random Mexican gang kills him and makes off with the money.
I mean, if that's not cheated I don't know what is.

Posts: 29 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Crystal Stevens
Member
Member # 8006

 - posted      Profile for Crystal Stevens   Email Crystal Stevens         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Now, that's a bad ending. No doubt about that. I couldn't agree more.
Posts: 1320 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philocinemas
Member
Member # 8108

 - posted      Profile for philocinemas   Email philocinemas         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I wonder if that's why Tarantino ended Pulp Fiction with Travolta and Jackson walking out of the restaurant instead of Travolta getting shot on the toilet and Willis running off with that girl.

And yes, I know that pulp fiction magazines often have disjointed storylines - the point is about endings.


Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
marchpane
Member
Member # 8021

 - posted      Profile for marchpane   Email marchpane         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Normally I like happy endings - but only if they're believeable. If the protagonists have only achieved their quest by shattering the laws of probability at every opportunity, I probably won't buy it. Happiness is like chocolate: a little is heart-warmingly lovely; too much makes you feel sick.

Sad endings can be wonderful, but I can only handle so many. The Constant Gardener sank me into a place where I spent days brooding over the sorry state of the world. Similarly most of Hardy's novels make me angry with the things he does to his characters.

Bittersweet endings are the very best kind. LOTR has been mentioned; that's one of the best examples. All my finished pieces have sad endings - every time I try to write a happy ending, I end up going 'oh who am I kidding' and rewriting it. I guess I'm too cynical to believe in happy endings.

But you know what I really hate? Cop-outs. Lewis Carroll, step forward...


Posts: 91 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reagansgame
Member
Member # 8149

 - posted      Profile for Reagansgame   Email Reagansgame         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
(how come everyone always thinks I'm a boy?? Bay weekend did an article on one of my book signings and said 'R. Safley will be signing his book'.)

I think I have it. A great ending. Moving. But realistic. Happy endings can't be too unbelievable or you forefit your whole story -- the believablity kinda goes down the crapper when you slap a "and they lived happily ever after" on there. So, there's hope for the good, ironic justice for the evil, and the hero lives to fight another day. Does that qual as a happy ending?


Posts: 243 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jonsul
Member
Member # 8227

 - posted      Profile for Jonsul           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ironic justice is always good. Sounds awesome. Like I said before the greatest ending I ever read is from Stormrider, it was sad but probably the most powerful ending I ever read. Kinda reminded me of Gladiator, but even more wonderful. At least for me.
-----------------------------------
Sorry for my 'his' comment, I fixed it if it matters. I think it was mostly because of the username, it seemed something a man would pick.
Us guys generally automatically assume anybody else respectable is a man for some reason, maybe it's just nature or something. My bad.
Think of it as a compliment

[This message has been edited by Jonsul (edited September 27, 2008).]


Posts: 29 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Crystal Stevens
Member
Member # 8006

 - posted      Profile for Crystal Stevens   Email Crystal Stevens         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Okay, okay. Maybe my "happily-ever-after" remark was a bit over the top. What I meant to say was pretty much what everyone else has been saying. The more realistically plausible the story, the better. But I do like it when everything in a story comes out for the best in the end, which is really what I was trying to say in the first place.


And Jonsul; Don't feel too bad. I thought for quite some time that philocinemas was a woman! I'm sooooo glad that he set me straight .

[This message has been edited by Crystal Stevens (edited September 27, 2008).]


Posts: 1320 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not to be politic or impolitic, but I've noticed a specific preference in writing and in reading for people with liberal values versus conservative values. And I don't mean political leanings, but specifically social values. The liberal value of consequence here is that the individual is sovereign, ie, everything works out for the good person who questions the supremacy of corrupt authority. Conversely, the conservative value is that the collective is sovereign. Everything works out for the collective when the individual goes along with authority to get along with the collective for the good of the collective, often to the detriment of the individual. There's no black and white, shades of gray, though.

Conservative values leaning stories don't often have happy endings. Liberal-leaning ones do more often.


Posts: 5158 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
satate
Member
Member # 8082

 - posted      Profile for satate   Email satate         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's interesting, Extrinsic. So would you like the unhappy endings more if your conservative and happy endings more if your liberal? In my expereince almost everyone I know prefers happy endings (on a side note they are mostly conservative). My step mother is the most extreme. If she finds out a movie ends unhappily she refuses to see it no matter how many people tell her it's great. She says she doesn't want to pay someone to make her sad.
Posts: 962 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nope, politics doesn't apply. The sole distinction I'm proposing is that which is sovereign to the individual's perspective, the individual or the collective in which the individual participates.

I like endings that are appropriate to the circumstances, although beautifully tragic endings emotionally move me more than comedic dramas. Perhaps excepting dystopian and military speculative fiction, the fantastical genres are prone toward comedic drama. In the literary genres I think there's a weighted balance between comedy and tragedy.

[This message has been edited by extrinsic (edited September 28, 2008).]


Posts: 5158 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jonsul
Member
Member # 8227

 - posted      Profile for Jonsul           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well I'm conservative and I like and write happy endings. you should do a little study on it.
Posts: 29 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Again, politics are not the benchmark from which I'm theorizing. At the core of liberal ideals is the sovereignty of the individual. Vice versa, the core of conservative ideals is the sovereignty of the collective. Purely from the perspective of creative writing, liberal values trend toward the good individual triumphing over evil; conservative values toward the failure of evil to triumph over the collective, but the individual is sacrificed for the greater good.
Posts: 5158 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philocinemas
Member
Member # 8108

 - posted      Profile for philocinemas   Email philocinemas         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How interesting. Neither to infer any positive nor negative connotations, but I typically associate liberal thought with idealism and conservative thought with historical perspective. I think there is a place for both of these in literature. I will stop there so not to incur the wrath of KDW.

I enjoy happy endings. However, I have to believe there is a real chance of peril with real costs, for me to be fully invested in a story. I have to believe the author is willing to kill off anybody to advance the story. I won't necessarily be pleased if he or she chooses to do this, but otherwise I just don't care as much. Granted, many stories don't present this level of peril and that's fine. Sci-fi and fantasy lend themselves to more dangerous situations, therefore I often expect there to be casualties - Ender's Shadow - Poke, as in Shadow Puppets.


Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't think what extrinsic is talking about is political liberals and conservatives. I think it's about whether or not you believe that (as in STAR TREK), the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one (or vice versa).

If the point of the story is that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or one, then you are more likely to get an ending where the few or one pay a price to save the many.

If the point of the story is that the needs of the one or the few outweigh the needs of the many (or that by serving the needs of the one or the few, you actually make things better for the many as well--which is an idealistic perspective on this), then you are more likely to get an ending where the one or the few triumph against something like the "oppressive or demanding masses or group/collective/corporation/establishment."

There has been a discussion of Ayn Rand's work in another topic. I submit that her work could be argued to fit the second choice (needs of one or few outweigh needs of the "oppressive many").


Posts: 8541 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Chunky Monkey Sr
Member
Member # 8231

 - posted      Profile for Chunky Monkey Sr   Email Chunky Monkey Sr         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
extrinsic:

I think you may confuse many people with your interpretations of liberal and conservative, since I associate your definitions of each with the CLASSICAL use of those labels. Modern liberalism, albeit the political kind, is identified with (like philo said) a high-minded idealism, where as classical liberalism was about the sovereignty of the individual.

I feel that an ending needn't be "happy" to be a good one, as many have already espoused, but rather it needs to provide a satisfying end point to the story being told. If the story being told is about the struggle to identify self, than the MC needs to identify what he/she/it is about before the end, even if they end up perishing in the final chapters.

The most-bestest endings I have read or seen are the ones that leave every part of you wishing there were more to the story, to have it go on, but at the same time being satisfied. I know, kind of contradictory, but that is how it is for me sometimes.


Posts: 12 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You do know, don't you all, that there are other kinds of liberals and conservatives than just the political kinds?

For example, a fiscal conservative is not necessarily the same as a political conservative. (You could argue that "fiscal conservative" is a "politically correct" term for "miser.")

I fear "liberal" and "conservative" have come to mean only one thing (each) in our current culture, and that's too bad, because the political meaning (connotation) has diverged to some extent from the original meaning (denotation) of those words.

Edited to add: and we're not going to talk about politics or political liberals or conservatives here, right? Right.

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited September 28, 2008).]


Posts: 8541 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Chunky Monkey Sr
Member
Member # 8231

 - posted      Profile for Chunky Monkey Sr   Email Chunky Monkey Sr         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorta like yelling 'Fire' in a crowded theater, if you start talking about liberals and conservatives in an election year...
Posts: 12 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jonsul
Member
Member # 8227

 - posted      Profile for Jonsul           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah, we shouldn't really talk about political stuff right now. But hmmm...
That's actually interesting because I do tend to write 1 vs. many, for the greater of many.
But I can easily see myself writing the liberal way as you put it.

Posts: 29 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ms. Dalton-Woodury is on the money as far as what I mean with specific regard to creative writing, liberal versus conservative values.

What set me on this course is marketplace research. Who's publishing what. I was surprised to find that the marketplace is not as equitable as I suspected in its preferential directions. There's deep currents running under the surface.

I like tragic drama as equally as comedic drama; however, as much as I'm an outlier in anything--thus extrinsic--I'm equally so in creative writing and overall reading. I enjoy variation. And I won't be pinned down politically.

I've seen that one more feature that's handicapped my entré into the marketplace is I've sent liberal-value oriented manuscripts to conservative-value marketplaces, and vice versa. Again, by liberal value, I mean perceptions of the individual as sovereign, and conservative value perceiving the collective as sovereign.

[This message has been edited by extrinsic (edited September 28, 2008).]


Posts: 5158 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TaleSpinner
Member
Member # 5638

 - posted      Profile for TaleSpinner   Email TaleSpinner         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"I fear "liberal" and "conservative" have come to mean only one thing (each) in our current culture"

"Our" culture being American culture. One of the small pleasures of returning from the USA to England is once more being able to use the word "liberal" without unwittingly getting into a political argument. Here, we use "liberal with a small el" to mean "respectful and accepting of behaviour or opinions different from one's own." (OED)

Liberal with a capital el refers to our third political party, and is neither synonymous with the more left-leaning of our two major parties, nor a slur. (If you want to slur Liberals, you call them "wishy-washy Liberals" which I think approximates to the American connotation.)

The English language doesn't morph the same way in different countries, the more that we may misunderstand one another.

On happy endings: I've read several novels recently which were gripping up until the last chapter or two. Then--I guess in order to avoid a happy trite ending--the author takes the novel somewhere happy-but-not-quite. I'm left wanting a fictitious ending to a work of fiction, not last-minute realism--as if a novel with FTL space craft, ansibles, zap guns, women as equals with men, and evil robot monkeys could have a realistic ending!

Liberally with a small el,
Pat


Posts: 1796 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reagansgame
Member
Member # 8149

 - posted      Profile for Reagansgame   Email Reagansgame         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I never made the connection, but dang, you're right, extrinsic.

All political views aside, I like my guns, I like my church, I can raise a barn and three kids without going and getting a "real job", not to mention I know I could survive without electricity, Walmart, or my cell phone. I also love realistic endings over great and, at times, a little too happy triumphs UNLESS children or animals are involved. When you have a cute wittle vampire rabbit or a buncha wizard kids, give them the happy ending with confetti and baloons and the whole nine.


Posts: 243 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philocinemas
Member
Member # 8108

 - posted      Profile for philocinemas   Email philocinemas         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't recall using the word politics in my comparison either. I simply meant that liberalism tends to promote a more pleasant view of future possibilities, whether that involves government, religion, freedom, money, or the ending of a story.

I see conservativism as referencing knowledge of history, to determine how government, religion, freedom, money, or the ending of a story should be viewed.

I suppose this could be equated to the good for the individual versus the good of the group, but I was only commenting on how I perceived the definitions in a different light but reached the same ultimate conclusion after considering extrinsic's comment. I still believe that there is a place for both lines of thought in literature and everywhere else.


Reagansgame - wouldn't that be a "cute wittle vampire wabbit."


Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TheOnceandFutureMe
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I might be repeating something that's already been said, (extrinsic's words are too big), but I took a class about comedy and tragedy. The theory behind tragedy was that the viewer/reader somehow feels better for the experience. For example, Life is Beautiful has a horribly tragic ending. But no one leaves that movie thinking how awful it was that the ending was sad. It's a story about maintaining hope in the darkest circumstances - a premise that is sealed by the ending.

However, I partly agree with the first post. I hate it when an end is pointlessly tragic. No Country For Old Men, assuming there's no meaning for the MC's death (beyond cheap existentialist bs), sounds like an ending that would frustrate me.


IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like endings that fit the story. I look at stories holistically, so its hard for me to really even think about what kind of endings I like indepedent from what kind of stories I like.


I read and watch things (some of which I would and some of which I wouldnt consider horror, but most of which I guess most would call horror) that has downbeat or even unpleasant endings that I enjoy very much. But thats because I enjoy the whole story, and what the whole story is.

Now, I'm not to wild about deceptive stories. If a story is set up to give the expectation of a positive ending and then doesnt, basically just to be "original" or "edgy" that could be rather annoying.

I have, myself, so far only written one single story with an unambigiously definitively "bad" ending.


Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am arriving late to this thread but I would like to weigh in.

An ending needs to be memorable to me. That could be happy, sad, or angry. A movie like {i]Misery[/i] is an excellent example. Not a sad ending but diffently not a happy one. In a way, it wasn't an ending in itself. James Caan was still haunted by the memory of his tormentor.
Another is Burn After Reading. The story was pointless and had an ending where no one was happy at the end. I thought it was oneof the best movies that I've seen this year. A true comedy of errors.

About half of my stories don't end well for the people in them. I have received plenty of critques that reflect with many readers desires for a happy ending. Being charged with writing a predictable ending is something I try to avoid with all of my being. I prefer authors that have that knack of blindsiding me at the end of the story. But it makes me wonder...

Are there editors that don't like that type of work? Will, Mrs Wentworth, for example, reject a story because a submission made her angry because a character she liked got the wrong end of the stick? If that's the case I would like a list of such publications so I can be careful of what to send them.

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited September 28, 2008).]


Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DebbieKW
Member
Member # 5058

 - posted      Profile for DebbieKW   Email DebbieKW         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As long as the ending fits the story, I don't mind sad endings. However, I want hopeful endings.

Endings were the main character repeats the same tragic mistake over and over, swears he'll get it 'right next' time after each failure, and still ends up dying or causing someone else to die due that the same mistake just leave me angry.

Endings were a person tries really hard for a good thing, fails each time, and ends up failing (by giving up or dying) with no hope of future change from his actions just leave me depressed.

However, endings were the main character dies but their actions and/or death will clearly make a lasting change in the future leave me sad but hopeful. I'll take that.

From what I've observed, it seems like stories with a clear sense of "good versus evil" are more likely to have a happy or hopeful ending. If everyone (including the hero) is messed up and morally murky, then the story is more likely to leave the character and world in a messed-up state, which doesn't satisfy me as a reader. I want something positive or hopeful out of the whole reading experience.

Just my 2 cents.


Posts: 357 | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
tchernabyelo
Member
Member # 2651

 - posted      Profile for tchernabyelo   Email tchernabyelo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm perfectly capable of being fine with happy endings or tragic ones. I particularly like ones that are both (or at least possibly both) - there's certainly more than one way, for instance, of interpreting the end of Pan's Labyrinth (and indeed of the whole story). A tacked-on happy ending can ruin a story.

Regarding "No Country For Old Men", my problem wasn't with the fact that he MC didn't survive, it was the way the packing of the story shifted; that, having followed him so closely, he was disposed of completely off-screen. The POV of the movie just changed utterly around that point, and while there was much to admire about the movie, I thought it was a failure not because of WHAT it did to the characetrs, but because of HOW it did it.

It's MUCH harder for big-budget movies to get away with downbeat endings these days (would Casablanca, or Gone WIth The Wind, look the same if they were done now? I fear not). It can be done, but you really need an auteur to stand up to to a studio in order for it to happen (as, for example, Kevin Nolan did with The Dark Knight - not for the ending particularly, but for other utterly non-standard aspects of that film, in particular having the main action sequence in the middle rather than as the climax, allowing the climax to be an emotional one not a physical one).

Ultimately - the ending has to be suitable to the story that has preceded it. Does "Romeo and Juliet" work if the lovers survive? Does "Princess Bride" work if Wesley isn't revived? They're both stories of true love, but their tone determines the appropriate ending. You CAN get away with a dramatic tone change if you've foreshadowed it subtly and are very very good, but if you don't get it right, your reader won;t feel shocked (which is fine), they'll feel betrayed (which is not).


Posts: 1469 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Being charged with writing a predictable ending is something I try to avoid with all of my being. I prefer authors that have that knack of blindsiding me at the end of the story.

I don't mind predictable endings in the slightest. Partially because most fitting endings to most stories are going to be somewhat predictable, and partially because for me usually what happens along the way is more important than the ending.

However, (and I'm not acusing anyone in particular of this I'm just saying) I do dislike endings that end up not really fitting the story, mostly just for the sake of not being "predictable." The end of a story should flow naturally from the begining and the middle, generally speaking, and because of this they will, usually be somewhat predictable...and I happen to like it that way.

The exception of course is stories that are meant to have surprise or twist endings (Twilight Zone) and/or which have rather non standard narratives to begin with (Like the movie The Machinist for instance even though i wasnt really happy with that ending for other reasons.)


Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2