Saturday, May 18, 2013

Unhappy Endings and Pretty Bows



As much as I love true crime shows, there are some I wish I hadn't watched. The ones where the murderer/culprit is unknown, where a body hasn't been found, where the story has no definitive conclusion and no happy (at least somewhat happy) ending.

I love definitive conclusions and happy endings. Wrap up that ending with a nice pretty red bow, and I'm happy camper.

I'm the same with books. I don't like coming up with my own ending to a plot left hanging. I want answers! I want comeuppance for killers, and I want some semblance of life-is-going-to-be-okay for the protagonist. No loose ends. No figuring it out for myself.

Apparently I passed this trait on to my daughter. When she read The Piano Lesson for English class she ranted for days about the ending. Or lack of one. I haven't read the book (or seen the movie) so I can't judge for myself, but she was pretty upset, so I'm guessing that ending had no pretty bows.

As a writer, I'm a bit of a hypocrite. Kind of. I write series, so my endings almost always have an open plotline to feed into the next book. Only a few times have I written cliffhangers, and whoa boy, did I hear about them from readers. So, I'm guessing my daughter and I aren't alone with our love of nice tidy endings.

I think I'll steer clear of The Piano Lesson and write my own endings to those true crime stories (I prefer happy endings) and hope that there aren't any loose ends dangling in my future.

How do you like your endings? Open? Or nice and tidy? 

8 comments:

BDaley said...

Definitely nice and tidy. Everything around us is in such flux today that it brings me comfort when I can get lost in a book where I know all is well in the end. Love your books! Thank you

Heather Blake Webber said...

Thank you! I agree about the flux. It's also one of the things I love about being a writer. I can make the outcome be anything I want. :)

Barbara said...

I avoid open ended stories as much as possible. I read to learn, yes, but I also read as an escape. I want the ending to make sense, wrap things up, and either show the bad guy getting his due or the good ones learning from the experience and having a promising future, or even both.

Anonymous said...

Heather, I'm ok with the leave it sort of open for the next book, that sometimes makes sense. Otherwise, yes, please(!) wrap it up with a pretty red bow!! Lori

Dru said...

I like conclusions to my endings.

Book Dragon said...

Give me a nice tidy bow!

After Etan was a fabulous true-crime book but NO BOW! Mistaken Identity on the other hand had bow, somewhat messy if I remember correctly but still a bow.

Hints leading to another book are fine, great in fact but cliffhangers are for chapter endings.

Aurian said...

I hate books with open endings with a passion, I also dislike cliffhangers but can live with them. I once read a series, where each book was finished, and at the start of the next book, something would happen that would undo that ending, getting the heroine in trouble again. But it was nice, as each book could have been the end to the series.
I like cozy mysteries, in that the mystery is solved in the end of the book, but the personal lives of the main and secondary characters continue. That is one of the things that makes cozy mysteries so fun and relaxing to read. It is like meeting old friends.

Adrienne said...

Hi Heather. I'm finally catching up on my Cozy Chicks reading and had to comment on your happy endings blog. I just finished Digging Up Trouble and enjoyed it SO much I've put Trouble in Bloom, Weeding Out Trouble, Trouble Under the Tree, and The Root of all Trouble on my Kindle! Why? Well, I love your Nina character, plain and simple. Her stream of consciousness keeps me smiling - even laughing - while she goes from one place she doesn't belong to another. And indeed, I like your endings! Yes, you have me anxious to read your next book having written one sentence at the end of this one something like "if they'd only known". But! Most importantly, you solved the mystery and at least for the time being, put Nina with Bobby leaving me thinking they'll end up together. (although you sure make Kevin pretty desirable as well) Thank you for no cliff hangars and for great books. Keep up the good work! Just had to chime in...
Adrienne in MN :-)