Friday, January 23, 2009

Happily Ever After... or at least Satisfactorially So

I like dark stories and gritty settings. I like characters who are sharp and ruthless. I like reading characters put under pressure and who must sacrifice their dignity or integrity or some other virtue for success.

But I want a satisfactory ending. The good guy wins. The bad guy loses. I don't need a happy ending, but I need a satisfying one. Endings that are ambiguous or clearly bad leave me feeling like the story is incomplete. Maybe my copy lost a couple pages. (I had a book once that was missing the last few pages. That was awful.)

I don't spend all this time rooting for a character just to see them lose!

I know that life isn't always happy or satisfactory. And I prefer fiction that is realistic. Up until the end. I want things to end well in fiction. If for no other reason than because life can be a bitch.

Though, there are a few exceptions. For example, when watching the movie "Pitch Black" I was so rooting for the creatures to eat everyone!

How do you like your endings? Sunnyside up, hardboiled, or maybe as an omelet with cheese and ham [insert other toppings] that's fully satisfying?

5 comments:

Paul D.Brazill said...

depends on the tone of the book/ film but the point of most crime fiction is that things get tied up for us...BTW i know someone who had a copy of GET CARTER on video in the 80's and it cut off 2 mins before the end. Before carter get's shot!

Barbara Martin said...

For years I read stories that ended happily, and when I came across a few where the endings were more realistic where two people went off to do their own thing: I was satisfied.

Barrie said...

Totally depends on my expectations for the book. If I know going in that it's a more literary book, for example, and will mostly likely have a dicey ending, I'm fine with it. But for, say, a mystery, I want everything tied up.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A good writer can pull off any ending, a bad one none. It sounds facile but I believe it.

Clair Dickson said...

See, I've never been happy with an unresolved ending. Some bother me more than others, but those sort of endings give me unsettling dreams (where my subconscious goes to finish the damn story as it should have been! ;-)

I think I could accept two people going off and doing their own thing so long as the rest of the story wrapped up okay. (I don't care for mushy endings anyway.)