A Happy Ending Isn’t Necessarily the Best Ending

I’ve always thought that for a book to be a word-of-mouth success, the reader has to turn the last page and be motivated in that moment to tell someone, “You have to read this!” But to me, that could be just as much because it inspired cathartic, body-shaking sobs as if it left me with a feeling of joyful elation. No matter what, it has to move me in some big, exciting, unusual way—and that, in itself, makes me happy.

Source: A Happy Ending Isn’t Necessarily the Best Ending

A happy ending can also be very moving, making you cry at the end of a book. I especially like endings which leave me feeling stunned, in a good way. Endings which make me think on about the story, where it might go from there. Or, what alternative endings it could have had if this or that little thing had just gone differently.

Overall, I like an ending that haunts me. There are very few. I can’t even put it into words, though I’ve tried to do so just for myself even. A haunting ending is sort of a hopelessness, things which can’t be changed. Tragic and yet not an entirely bad ending, or sad. An ending where something is lost. That seems the best way I can describe it.

Have you ever written the ending to a story, before even planning the beginning? How would that work? Try it.

5 thoughts on “A Happy Ending Isn’t Necessarily the Best Ending”

  1. I have done it, yes. I don’t usually start at the beginning, because I need to find the point where I need to start telling the story. But I usually don’t start at the end, either. The few times I’ve done it, writing the rest of the story was hard –like I had nothing surprising to work towards, I had reached the climax before even starting. That said, writing is always hard for me, so I may be exaggerating.

    1. I started that way but ended up moving the ending I started to somewhere in the middle. I usually juggle things all over the place once I get my first rough draft. Then, moving a few things changes other things. I love having word processing, cut and paste!

  2. Definitely! There was a famous writer in my country who lived in the era of typewriters and who used to say that writing should be like light –immaterial, movable, something you could grab and move around as you please. He died in 1997 so he was alive to see what a word processor was; I guess he must have been a fan!

    1. Probably a fan. Typewriters saved a lot of fingers too. I remember how hard you had to hit the keys.

      I really like the quote too. I had a teacher who said writing should not be noticed, just the story. It’s true. 🙂

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