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Thread: Endings

  1. #1
    Harper
    Guest

    Endings

    It is true that many if not most books die at the end. Nothing is worse than a book you love, right up to the last few pages, then splat. If I love a book and it has a badly executed ending, that book goes right into the list of "not recommended." "The History of Love" is an example.

    And I don't mean the content or outcome of the book. I mean the combination of quality of language and emotional resolution. We owe our readers a feeling that they have not just been dropped off the face of the world they have spent hundreds of pages and who knows how much time visiting. We owe them, not to have all the ends neatly tied, but to have them, tied or not, feel like an ending.

    I've never watched the Sopranos, though I've heard enough about it over the years. The debate over ending of the last episode can apply also to the endings of books. People are making a lot of excuses about why the ending was okay, made sense, etc., but they just sound like excuses to me.



  2. #2
    Harper
    Guest

    Re: Endings

    And yet, you know, to someone who has never seen the show, I can see that the ending might just be genius! I don't think I would feel that way if I'd been a faithful watcher for all these years.

  3. #3
    Patrick Edwards
    Guest

    Re: Endings

    You know what, Harper? I've only been a watcher for the final two seasons, so what I have to say may not hold much water, but, initially, I was <U>extremely</U> disappointed with the series finale. I felt as if the rug was pulled out from underneath us (viewers).

    However, after all of the debate (the weeks following , I can see it now as being nearly genius. I almost stopped listening to anyone and anything afterwards regarding the show, because I wanted to remain upset about it. But the more I listened and watched and discussed and read, the more I saw that the ending ended as most things do: It stopped. At least from the perspective of another. In our minds, the visual kept rolling. And, I guess, the way they ended it with the black screen--and the many, many suspicious(?) characters, including his daughter parking--has the story going on forever in our minds.

  4. #4
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: Endings

    You know, if there's only one thing I like about my ms, it's the ending. I think I did a pretty bang up job on that part. And, up until the last painful days of typing, I wasn't sure just how I was going to do it - but I did. And, I wouldn't have been happy if those standards weren't adhered to.

    So, yup - I totally agree - if I wind up saying "WTF?!?!" at the end of a book I've been totally engrossed in because it stinks, I feel totally cheated.

    C

  5. #5
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: Endings

    I think a good ending is one that surprises and yet fits with what has gone before and which keeps you thinking (and talking) about the story. (Which is what the Sopranos ending did for me, a faithful viewer who saw every episode.)

  6. #6
    Patrick Edwards
    Guest

    Re: Endings

    As a faithful viewer, jayce, what do you think the final scene told us? Or did it not tell/say anything?

    Might be awkwardly put up there, so I guess I'm asking "What do you think happened at that moment of the blackout?"

  7. #7
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Endings

    A bad ending can really spoil a book for me, movies too.

    I remember I thought Nell was an interesting movie, not one I'd recommend to everyone, but one I think a number of people I know would enjoy and I found myself not recommending it because of the ending.

    The ending didn't make any sense.

    Someone as socially dysfunctional as the main character simply wouldn't be "all better" and perfectly socially integrated into society like that. It was dumb. They should have shown her striving to become a part of society or something that was at least plausible.

    The same thing applies to the book Icy Sparks, the story of a little girl with a lot of challenges. In the end she "sees the light" and everything is better, boom, just like that. There were a lot of good parts to the book and that ending just kind of wrecked it for me. Some people might like it, the idea that boom, life is suddenly just rosy from now on, but even though I realize a book is not real life, for me, there has to be some consistency and plausibility to it. You don't switch from trouble and strife to woo woo perfect in the last ten pages.


    Anita Shreve cheated too, in her book, The Pilot's Wife. The book was an easy read, a page-turner for those who enjoy her genre, but the REALLY interesting part, a crucial plot line that could have made the book better if it had been woven in from the beginning was just dropped in at the end to explain everything. It was a cheat. A mystery writer would never get away with that, creating a mystery, with a puzzle solved at the end, but not a single clue provided to the reader along the way.

    I feel that an ending should follow logically from everything that has gone before. It shouldn't just be pasted in as a feel-good ending without justification or as a HAHA! we fooled you without giving you clues.


    Endings are difficult. I certainly don't find them easy, but they are, in some ways, 70 percent of the book. They leave a lasting impression and it should be a memorable one that "works" with the rest of the story.

    --- Mya Bell

  8. #8
    Patrick Edwards
    Guest

    Re: Endings

    I remember reading Icy Sparks! Though I don't quite remember the story, which means I'll go back to it and refresh (because I do remember it being pretty good)

    thanks for the reminder

  9. #9
    Diane Rogers
    Guest

    Re: Endings

    Mya, I agree totally. Don't know if you read the book version of THE HORSE WHISPERER. I read it long before the movie came out. When I got to the ending I wanted to throw the book across the room. The (book) ending was contrived and not anything like the movie. When I told my (then) writer's group about it, I told them there was no closure, and the pregnancy (yep, she was PG in the book) was handled by killiing off the horse whisperer. Nice and neat - no more conflict. And he was killed by a rogue Mustang no less! I was so mad!

    And then there was the book version of COLD MOUNTAIN. Aaugh! Another one that turned me, well....cold. I read a review about "the love story" depicted in Cold Mountain. Not in the book I read. It was a travelers guide through the Smokey(?) Mountains. The female MC in the book didn't even remember WHO the male MC was until they met (somehow!) in the middle of the mountains in a blizzard! And then he was killed of in a heartbeat. There were few if any war scenes in the book - other than guerilla activity in the mtns. Another one I wanted to throw across the room. A (very well educated) coworker read my (very early) ms. of my book scheduled for epublication in early 2008 and then "tried" to read Cold Mountain for comparison. He said he couldn't make it past the first chapter of COLD MOUNTAIN. But what do I know. The book was highly touted because of it's new "style" (sans punctuation it seemed to me), but I could barely read it. And I hear a TON of marketing money went into it.

    So, back to endings. Yes, give me even a decent ending and I'll remember the rest of the book. But make it bad and that book will go flying. To the Moon, Alice!

    Diane

  10. #10
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: Endings

    Patrick: The moment of the black-out is when your (my, the viewer's, whoever's) imagination kicked in. Leading up to that last episode, everybody was trying to guess the ending. If Chase had killed Tony off, or had him join witness protection, or any of the slew of possibilities floating around, that would have been the end of the story. Period. But this way, any of those endings could still work. So the story lives on, with countless episodes to be imagined.

    Brilliant.

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