Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's over when it's over.

I'm inspired by Sarah's post about beginnings. I always think beginnings are the funnest part to write, because every possibility lies before you, and any direction is possible.

Endings, on the other hand . . .

Thriller writers say the story stops the moment the tension is released. Action, explosion, kidnap victim recovered, and boom--the story's done.

Mysteries aren't a whole lot different, I don't think. I always love Agatha Christie's ending: "You know what we need, dear? A nice cup of tea." The books don't meander on, exploring where we're all going to go now that the excitement is over.

For my own taste, I like a little coda at the end of a book. I like to know what might happen next. I want a clue as to how the characters will go on, now that the crisis is past. Will they stay together? Bid each other a teary farewell? Start a new life in a new place? There will be new complications and challenges in characters' lives, and I love to have a hint of that. I like to think, when I put down a book, that the characters in it go on living even though I can't read about them anymore.

And if I care that they go on living, then the writer has done her job.

1 comment:

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Endings ... I watched 'Milk', the movie about the first openly gay man to hold public office in the US. At the end of the movie they showed the photo of the actor who played a role and told you what happened to the real person, as the photo was replaced with the real person.

It was fascinating.