Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Open-Ended or All Tied Up--What Kind of Ending Do You Like?

Can I say I'm really missing Castle and Hawaii Five-O?  It's going to be a long summer.  At least we have America's Got Talent to get us through.  I didn't think I'd like Howard Stern replacing Piers Morgan because, well, he's Howard Stern, but surprisingly, I've liked him so far.  He seems witty and genuinely interested in the contestants.  And I thought it was funny when he said he was the first American judge on America's Got Talent.  He really is since Howie is Canadian (love you Howie!) And Sharon and Piers were from England.  LOL

Well, as I was lamenting the hiatus of my shows last night, the ending of my book came to me.  A solid ending that I've been thinking about since six o' clock this morning.  (I'm going to write it today I hope so I can pad my Word Count Wednesday totals).  The problem with it is that it's a bit too tidy I think and wraps things up with a big red bow.  I know my publisher likes things somewhat open-ended and some of my readers do, too, so I thought I'd take an informal poll before anything gets written in stone.

Do you like your books to end with all the loose ends tied up and the storyline having a firm ending?  Or do you prefer things to be a bit more open-ended with room for a sequel perhaps or at least using your imagination on how some things turn out in the story?


Melanie Goldmund said...

I usually like a slightly open ending, with all the most important things wrapped up, but with the slight possibility of a sequel.

Debra Erfert said...

I like an ending that points in a certain direction, but it leaves things open in case you come up with a sequel. What I absolutely hate is a cliffhanger where a main character lays in a pool of blood, dying, and we have to wait for--months, years? maybe never? for the next book and an ending. I need an ending to the storyline, but not to their lives. Our lives are ever evolving, ever changing. Why make our character's live any different?

Jon Spell said...

I agree with your comments on the H50 finale. What a huge load of crap. Yes, it was entertaining to watch, but, ugh.

Regarding Chin's "pick one to live", what would the Baldwin have done if Chin picked Kono? Did he have another henchman at his wife's?

Regarding the custody play: what do real-life people do when one parent moves away? In my case, I saw my dad less frequently. We ... made arrangements.

Regarding Kono. Come on, are we really going to believe Surfer Girl isn't going to survive?

And then the whole Shellburn thing, with Marine buddy moving her around before Steve got there, argh. I honestly thought it was going to be a lost brother of Steve's that looked like him. (The shack scene had some serious LOST vibes to it.)

Interesting casting bit: the assassin girl was also on The Event (not that Yakuza BF appeared in person in this ep)

Ah well, I've seen worse, and it's still entertaining in that 24 actiony way.

On endings, in general, I prefer tied up with a bow, just in case we don't get a sequel. Think about Jeff's book that made you want to throw it across the room when you finished it. I really don't like important loose ends. (unless you're intentionally doing it for a sequel) I love epilogues (think Harry Potter.) There can be some open endedness, like they don't have to live happily ever after; life can be messy.

Jordan McCollum said...

+1 to Melanie's comment. I like to have resolution, but my standard for resolution isn't super high, just: did you answer the story question, and did the characters really learn something? A sequel should have a new story question (aside from an overarching series question, if there is one), and a new inner conflict/internal growth direction for the characters.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Okay I have written down everything you guys said. No more big bow ending for me. :) Thanks!

Jon, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who felt that way about the finale. Co-sign to everything you said! But, in the end it was some good entertainment if you don't think too hard about it.

(There was some spec that they spliced together two eps because of Alex O's stint in rehab. That would make sense to me if true, because it did feel a little spliced when Chin was getting Baldwin out, you know what I mean?)

Jon Spell said...

There was definitely an editing issue there. We were like, hey, what's happening here?

What if they'd sent Danny to get him out of prison?

"Well, Danno, you have to choose between your team mate and your other team mate's wife, because I had poor planning and thought they'd send Chin instead of you. Well, who are you going to save?"


(Danny, to dying Baldwin)
"You shouldn't have told me where each of them was. Now you serve no plot purpose, dirt bag!"