Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Endings

I am one of those people who loves a happy ending. I recently had a few people tell me they don't like happy endings in books because it's not what happens in real life.

Yes, well, we are talking about fiction books and not real life. Which kind of makes me contradict myself. Here I am, writing 'real life' stories and I like giving my characters happy endings. Hmmm.

I don't know what it is, but when I come to the end of reading a book, I want closure. Now, I know this isn't possible in series, lots of them will leave you hanging. But, many books can be closed properly. I like to know what happens.

My first two books have endings that show what happens in the future. That is what those characters needed.

My third book will not have the same kind of ending. But, it is still a 'closure' type of ending.

My fourth book, I think I'll leave open. It will have enough closure for my liking, but will leave it open for a sequel or for reader's minds to wander.

I'm not sure what I'll do after that. I think each character needs their story told until they are happy. Whether it's leaving it open or having an epilogue of some sort. I'm just the writer. The characters are the ones in charge.

What do you think about endings? Should the end of a book have closure? What about happy endings? Should we not write them because they don't always happen in real life?


  1. I like my happy endings. I think there really is no grounds for the other side of the arguement. I mean it's fiction. I think most people read to escape the real world or to be entertained. A kick-you-in-the-gut ending is not entertainment or an escape. It's just cruel. Just my opinion though. :) I like my happy endings.

  2. Exactly :) It is cruel! I know I certainly read to escape and even if what I'm reading isn't uplifting, I like to see the characters' dreams come true in the end. I like a happy ending. Even books that have a sequel can end in a nice place. If I like book #1, I'll go read book #2 when it comes out, the author doesn't need to leave me hanging in an OMG moment to make me want the next book.

  3. I think there's a place for happy endings and bitter endings, same as there's a place for clear closure and ambiguity in endings. The appropriate path will be determined by the content of the story, and if it flows with what's been written before it, I'm generally fine with it any which way.

    I've never heard anyone say they don't like happy endings because that's not what happens in real life. I find myself flabbergasted by the implication. (a) Um, says who? (b) Why the heck would I want to read only fiction as bleak as real life can be? That's exactly why I like escaping into light-hearted literature during the toughest times. It's a reminder--fictional or not--that the hardships I endure will ultimately be fleeting.

    I have noticed a tendency in my non-book writing to make sure everything ends up happy. We don't always get the chance to make this happens in real life, so it feels important for me to do it on the smaller scale. (This is also the reason for rewriting the villain of TMD 2, which I touched on in a blog entry early last week. Sure, I COULD be that mean. But why on earth would I want to?!)