Different Types of Endings, Why I’m Bad At Them, And How I Might Get Better

So I’m thinking now that I write that title down and see it’s about a mile long, that this will probably be a three-part blog event. No matter.

Today – Different Types of Endings

Tomorrow- Why I’m Bad at Them

Thursday – How I Might Get Better

Friday – Skateboarding and Writing Part II

There, that was easy.

So, today, different types of endings. There are a lot of variations, but I’d say all endings can be separated into two basic categories: satisfying and not.

Now, I have to point out quickly that there are some unsatisfying endings that are still the “correct” endings, I think. That is to say that not all un-satisfying endings are bad.

My roommate and I pick apart the endings of TV series finales quite a bit and try to figure out which ones were the best and why.

[Semi-spoiler alert on Gilmore Girls series finale]……………………….. Ok, so Gilmore Girls is a perfect example. I think it had one of the best series finales out there, but I think it’s arguable that it wasn’t a very satisfying ending. Rory has no boyfriend, no prospects even. She doesn’t have the job of her dreams really. Lorelai and Luke are not married. In fact, they aren’t even engaged. But, the last episode works because the series finale focuses on the heart of the show–Lorelai and Rory’s relationship. And, as a secondary matter, their relationship with the town of Star’s Hollow.

Same goes for Everybody Loves Raymond.

The point is that an ending needs to center around the focal point of the story. If that doesn’t lend itself to some big Ross and Rachel moment, then it doesn’t. Is it less satisfying? Sure. Do I want to know who Rory ended up with? Absolutely. But I don’t and that’s okay because that wasn’t the end of our glimpse into Rory’s story.

Examples of endings that are generally “satisfying”: Happily Ever After, Mysteries Solved, Tragic Ending, Mission Accomplished

Examples of endings that are generally not: Cliffhangers, Abrupt endings,  Guess-the-endings

Now, in writing this post Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott kept coming to mind. And I have to note that a lot of people found this ending unsatisfying. Can I be blunt? I think those people are just wrong. To me, it is absolutely clear what happened at the end of that book. Yes, you have to think through it. But, if you do, you’ll realize that the foundation was laid for that exact ending and that the symbolism and weight behind the ending is what makes the entire story haunting. I’ll admit, I had to check with a few people just to make sure that I got the answer right, but how cool is that? It was an ending that stuck with me so much that it forced to go have a conversation about it.

This is all to say that it is not the emotion evoked that determines whether an ending is inherently satisfying v. unsatisfying. A satisfying ending can be heartbreaking or happy and an unsatisfying ending can certainly be either hopeful or depressing.

I will say that, as a warning, I think that unsatisfying endings can come off as a bit sloppy if not absolutely necessary to the story. It can feel as if the author raised a bunch of issues, but didn’t quite know how to tie them together. So, beware.

Can anyone think of a particularly unsatisfying ending that was artfully done and necessary to the story? What endings do you hate?

Reading ADD

I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but I’ve had some serious reading ADD as of late. With books I like, too. I’m in the middle of 4 books and I just started another one tonight. Oh well, I’ll finish them and I’m just kind of reading whatever I’m in the mood for at the moment. Last time I checked that wasn’t a crime, but still sort of weird since I’m usually a read in one sitting kind of girl.

I figure this might be a good thing, though, since I am in the middle of writing and usually I typically don’t read a lot while writing. I’m truly enjoying both right now, though, so maybe reading a bunch of books at once will keep me from soaking up someone else’s voice and squelching it out all over my own manuscript.

Here’s my abbreviated TBR list.

I’ve got Vampire Academy in there, Dead-Tossed Waves, Heist Society, Living Dead Girl and Wondrous Strange. My Soul to Take and Shiver are currently residing in my car. Nice variety, at least.

Oh yeah, and I tweeted this the other day, but it’s kind of funny. Here is me reading The Dead-Tossed Waves before going out on Saturday night for my friend, Emily’s, b-day. I’ve got my boot, my cute shoe, and my book. That about sums me up, I’d say.

Any bets on which book I’ll finish first?

I started Shiver in January.

I started My Soul to Take in the fall.

The Dead-Tossed Waves this past weekend

Heist Society a couple weeks ago

Living Dead Girl tonight

My money is on either Living Dead Girl or Dead-Tossed Waves

What Can I Say? I’m easily excited.

I have $70 to spend at Barnes and Nobles thanks to winning a Gotham Writers Workshop drawing and a fabulous friend who knows I love books. I’ve been embarrassingly meticulous about how to spend this.

Here’s been my thought process: Do I want to spend it all at once and feel like I’m on a shopping spree? Or should I spread it out so I can keep going back to the bookstore? Should I buy hardcovers since I rarely splurge on those or should I buy paperbacks so that I can add more to my collection? Should I purchase books I wouldn’t normally buy rather than books I was planning on getting anyway? How should I prioritize my list? Should I allow some flex spending for titles that catch my eye at the store or should I come in knowing what I want so I don’t forget something I’ve been truly dying to read?

Preliminary conclusions:

I should spend it all at once so I can look “baller.”

That is, perhaps, the first time the word “baller” has been used with regard to purchasing lots of books.

If I’m this excited for having $70 to spend at Barnes and Noble, I would probably keel over upon winning the lottery?

If I won the lottery I would certainly buy more than $70 worth of books.

A mixture of paperback and hardcover would probably maximize my gain in terms of happiness units. (I learned that term in my mediation class. It’s meaning is nebulous….I learned that word from Michael Scott…and also from my cloud unit in 5th grade science class.)

I should create a list of books I want prioritized in order of desire to own but should treat it much like I treat outlines–nice to know I have one, but not worried about it if I stray…This would have more more resonance with me if I actually ever had an outline…

Contenders:

Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Undone by Brooke Taylor

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Wondrous Strange by Leslie Livingston

Thoughts?

Alas, as they say, mo’ money mo’ problems…