In which I ramble about the different types of endings a story can have, and my thoughts on them. I have expressed some of these thoughts previously, I realise that. But they fit here too.
I guess the most obvious thing to bring up is happy vs not-so-happy vs downright depressing endings. I am the sort to like happy, or at least happyish endings. My thinking is that books are a form of entertainment, and I like my entertainment to leave me in a good mood. But different people like different things, and I can appreciate a well written downbeat ending.
I think what’s really important is that the ending feels like something that has actually been worked towards. Much as I prefer happy endings, if I’m reading a book and it’s just dark and depressing right up until the last page and then suddenly it’s all happy, then that’s a bit rubbish. And on the flipside, things shouldn’t just go depressing at the end for the sake of being edgy. Yes, I know in real life stuff happens out of nowhere, fortunes can change very suddenly, but fiction isn’t real life. Narratives generally – I say generally because I rarely like to dismiss something entirely out of hand – require some sort of conclusion, and for it to be a satisfying one, it has to feel worked towards. Just because something can happen in reality, doesn’t mean it can work in a story. I feel this applies especially when it comes right at the end and you don’t have to deal so much with the fallout. That’s the difference; a story has a conclusion, reality just keeps on going.