Monday, July 25, 2011


The ending. It's always the last scene. The last message you get across to your readers. You have to make it count. To make it have a lasting impression with your audience. For some, endings are really hard to write. I actually thing endings are my strong point. I love writing them. Now, the middle of my books? Not so much.

So, I was talking to my sister this weekend about endings in movies that I absolutely hated. Now, this post is sort of spoilery, since I'm going to mention some of the endings, so if you haven't seen one of these movies and don't want it ruined, then look away! lol :)

There are so many different ways to end a book. We all know this. Since I love a good love story, let me go through a few romantic ones with you.

First up? The beautiful love story with the tragic ending.We all know it. Romeo and Juliet. Every time I watch this movie I get so angry. They didn't have to die. They could have prevented it in so many ways. Grrrrrr...

The tragic ending with a little bit of hope. I loved how the main character makes a choice. A choice to live her life instead of giving up. It is sad, but I was okay with it.

The perfect love story with a sad, yet touching ending. Oh, man. Do I even have to say anything about this one? It was heartbreaking, beautiful and had the best ending ever. I bawled my eyes out, but they were happy tears. Loved.
Happy and beautiful ending. A.K.A. Happily Ever After. I don't even have to go into this one. My favorite ending of all.

I know there are a lot more, but I just wrote these four down. I'm rushing this post today. :)

Which is your favorite to write? To read? To watch? You all know me and my love of all things Happily Ever After. I'm not a huge fan of tragic. With no hope at all. When everyone dies and the darkness wins.  I do like tragic with a little bit of hope, since that is how life is, but I like to read and watch movies to be in a different world. To leave our depressing news stories and natural disasters we hear about all the time. I think that's why I would read a happy book over a sad one. And that's why I write them too.

Don't get me wrong, I do read tragic stories and watch sad movies. I do. And I don't hate them. (Although I will NEVER watch City of Angels again. Don't ask unless you want a huge rant, which I won't do on my blog. ;) 
Anyway, the point is, always write your ending how you think it should end. Even if you think a lot of people don't like tragic, there are people out there who hate happy endings. There is someone out there that will love your book, no matter where your ending goes. In other words, don't write according to everyone elses tastes. Write the story you love, with the ending you know it should have. If you're happy with it, that's all that matters.

What is your favorite kind of ending?


Stephanie McGee said...

My books/stories always end on a happy ever after or hopeful note (the latter if it's part of a trilogy). By HEA I totally mean someone's engaged. It's weird, but true. (Okay, maybe married in one instance.)

Yeah. I don't mind a not-happy ending but it has to make sense to the story. (And I infinitely prefer HEA.)

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any endings on movies/tv shows that really bother me. Nor can I in books.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm a sucker for the happy ending. Some people say happy endings aren't real, but since I'm living one, I say they are real!

Jen said...

Pride and prejudice, best love story ever!!

One ending I hated - Gregor the Overlander. I had to read five books so that I can learn he does nothing else exciting in his life. No thank you!

Angie said...

Oh, I love happy endings. I love writing the endings, too. It's like my big reward for getting through the rest of the novel when I finally get to write the ending I've been dreaming of for so long.

Jolene Perry said...

Memoirs of Geisha was another "mixed" ending that I really loved.

When I write, I write the happily ever after, EXCEPT in the one I'm working on now. It's a mixed ending, and I have to admit, that I'm not as excited to get to the end as I am when I know everyone's going to walk off into the sunset.

Kelley Vitollo said...

I am a HEA kind of girl. Love it. It hurts too bad for me to have a completely sad ending. I'm tender-hearted. LOL

Anonymous said...

Beginnings create readers, endings create fans. ;) I was just thinking about this a few days ago. I love the feeling as the screen goes black and begins rolling the credits, and you say, "what a great movie." Tragic with hope id probably my favorite, or happy-ever-after in a way no one would have imagined. Fun post!

Cynthia Lee said...

My three favorite love stories are Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and the love story from His Dark Materials trilogy.

Of all those, only one ends in Happily Ever After. So I guess I mostly like sad stuff.

Honestly, I don't know why this is because I'm a mostly upbeat and positive person. *shrugs*

Sarah Pearson said...

I like endings where someone at least is still standing!

When I was a kid I hated to read scary books or watch scary films where the bad guy didn't get caught. I hated the thought that the monster/alien/killer was still out there.

Can I just say that L. Diane Wolfe's comment has made my day :)

Katie Dodge said...

It depends on my mood as to which ending I like. On another note, I'm stuck on what I'm going to do with my ending! I thought I knew and was done, now I'm thinking something totally different! I can't wait to get my edits done, so you can read it and give me your opinion!

Ruth Josse said...

I'm a total HEA kind of girl. And if it's not happy, it has to be satisfying in some way. I really liked Graceling, but was disappointed with the ending. So didn't end up the way I wanted.

My hubby, on the other hand, is totally dissapointed when someone doesn't die.

Abby said...

Don't get me started on City of Angels either! GRRRR. Also - Love, Love, LOVE Pride & Prejudice! Best EVER! I am a happily ever after girl as well. I hate the tragic. Why not read and escape into a wonderful world that makes you feel like you can take on yours. I don't read or watch movies to be depressed and disappointed. Only kind of sad yet awesome ending I like it Braveheart. That show rocks! Even though it ends sad, it end awesome too!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Stephanie McGee I agree. The not-happy ending does have to make sense to the story in order for me to be OK with it. :)
@L. Diane Wolfe I totally agree! :D
@Jen I haven't read those books yet, but I've heard about the ending. I'm glad you warned me! :) I'll probably still read them though. When I get through my mountain of books...
@Angie Isn't it though? When you finally get to write that awesome ending and heave a big sigh of relief when it's done? Love it.
@Jolene Perry Oh, no! A mixed ending? Shame on you, Jolene. ;) He he. I'm sure it will be awesome anyway.
@Kelley Vitollo I'm totally tender-hearted as well. I can't handle sad endings. They seem to depress me more than the average person. :P
@Madeline Bartos I love that, Madeline! Beginnings create readers, endings create fans. I love finishing a book and thinking, "Wow." Seriously, the most awesome feeling in the world.
@Cynthia Lee Ha! That's funny. It's just a matter of personal taste, right? ;)
@Sarah Pearson I hate those books too! When the bad guy gets away! *shudders*
@Katie Dodge WHAT? You're changing it? Is this a good thing of a bad thing? Get those edits done, girl! I need to read it!!
@Ruth Josse My sister said the same thing about Graceling. She liked it, but didn't like the ending. And about your hubby wanting someone to die at the end of movies? Our hubbies should hang out! lol ;)

Natalie said...

So far I've only ever written happily ever afters, but I love to read a great tragic ending (a la ETHAN FROM or RETURN OF THE NATIVE) every now and then. Unfortunately I don't think tragic endings work for middle graders. :)

Regina said...

I'm a sap for a good ending, but depending on the substance of the book the ending can either be a happy one or a tragic one. I just don't like the ones that don't make sense.

Lorena said...

Endings are so difficult to write! If you think about it, there are only two choices: happy or sad. And so many happy endings are similar! In a way, sad endings in love stories are similar, too: someone dies. (Just the other day we were commenting in the Sisterhood blog how male authors usually end their love stories with the death of one of the characters. Have you noticed?)

But when you write a happy ending, it's very easy to get corny (it's so subjective that what can be touching for some can be considered "corny" for others). And when you write a sad ending, you can end up with very unhappy readers.

When I started writing (short stories) I always ended my stories with a twist (I was a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock/Twilight Zone!) but in my novels, my endings have been bittersweet (more happy than sad, but I don't like endings where everything is absolutely perfect.) But I have struggled A LOT writing them! (My first novel had four different endings!)

Great topic!

Melanie Jacobson said...

I'm definitely a happy endings girl and one of my favorite endings is probably from the cheesetacular Drew Barrymore movie NEVER BEEN KISSED. It just so works for me.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Natalie Yes, I do believe a tragic ending in a middle grade would scar those kids for life. ;)
@Regina I agree. The ones that don't make sense make me so angry!
@Lorena I agree that some can be corny. I'm not a huge fan of those ones. I like the ones that feel "real". The ones that are written so well it feels like I'm in the book with them. I love twisty endings as well. ;)
@Melanie Jacobson Aaagghh!!! Melanie! You are my new best movie friend ever! I LOVE that movie!! :D :D Cheese and all!

Jenny said...

HOPE…that’s what it boils down to for me. Whatever world you are in, whether it be a Dystopia future or a historical love story, I have to feel like there is hope at the end.

I have changed my ending once already because it didn’t feel right and it didn’t leave you with hope. We’ll see what happens when my CP gets to that part.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Jenny I totally agree. There HAS to be hope. Even if it's just a little bit. :)

linda said...

Definitely happy endings! Or at least the room to imagine one myself (as at the end of The Hunger Games book 1. But maybe that's why I didn't like books 2 and 3 as much). There can be a lot of tragedy and heartbreak in the course of a story but I want a happy resolution. No tragic end or cliffhanger, thanks! (And sometimes I even read synopses or reviews to make sure before I start a book/movie, lol.)

Mel Fowler said...

I just love reading your blog Chantele! I agree I wish all stories could be happy endings, but that is just not how it's supposed to be.

Kaylee Baldwin said...

I love happy endings. They don't have to be super cheesy happy ending, or "everything is perfect now and we're all best friends" happy endings, but I like to close my books with a smile (and a sigh, if it's that kind of book.) Though, I am a sucker for a good Nicolas sparks book, I prefer his happy endings books over the sad ones (Nights in Rodanthe and Message in a Bottle--sheesh, I cried for EVER over those).
And although You've got mail is one of my all time favs, I hate the last line (don't cry shopgirl, don't cry) Everytime Hanks says it, I groan. But I still love the movie.

Patti said...

I'm totally with you on the happily ever after. I was just thinking about this the other day when I finished a novel that ended well and one that didn't. Although both were great, I'll take the HEA every time.

Brenda Sills said...

Happy endings are the ONLY way for me. I abhor movies and books with what I call disaster endings and want to throw them off the edge of the world! There's enough sadness in life to have a book I'm reading or a movie I'm watching end disastrously!