Mar 19, 2012

Favourite Endings

I've been laid up with a sinus infection for the last few days. I finally went to the doctor and got some antibiotics which have left me with little energy to do much practical editing or writing.

Still, I've had a lot of writing-related stuff on my mind. Endings, in particular. Endings are usually my favourite part of a story. If an ending doesn't hold up to the story that comes before it, the entire thing can be ruined for me.

My favourite endings are the ones where the hero defeats the villain in a soundly satisfying manner, which tie up loose ends but also leave open the possibility that there's more yet to come for the hero. I like to think that the story could still carry on, even though we don't get to know exactly what happens next. This could be why I like superhero origin stories so much, because they show us the rise of the hero and leave open the possibility of further adventure.

Certainly, I don't want to think that the story I've just read is the greatest adventure the hero will have, or that the happiness they're rewarded with is the best they'll ever get. I want to feel that the hero can either have a long and fulfilling life, or still do good even after I close the book or watch the end credits.

I think this is why I'm not really fond of epilogues which show the characters's lives years in the future, reflecting on the story we've just seen. That suggests that there's nothing really left for the hero. They've achieved their greatest moment and now they have nothing but obscurity to look forward to.

How do you like your endings? Do you have any favourites?


  1. For me if an ending goes on and on, you know the kind, where every last little detail has to be explained and tied up, I end up skimming in frustration--these endings sometimes take 50 pages or more! I always wonder why the author had to ruin the story that way...

    1. Oh, definitely. I don't really need to know every little thing that happens to a character after the book ends. I think part of the joy of books is that each reader gets to imagine something different for their favourite characters after the story ends.