Anyone for a happy ending?


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Thread: Anyone for a happy ending?

  1. #1
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    Question Anyone for a happy ending?

    I want to know how you guys feel about happy endings? Should a writer just give the reader what they want, the girl getting the boy, the bad guy defeated, the pretty couple riding off into the sunset or is a story improved by leaving the reader in a state of emotional turmoil?

    Does it depend on the story? The characters? The genre?

    Does the reader even know what they really want?

    Do people prefer books/films etc where the ending is wrapped up neatly and everyone's happy?

  2. #2
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L2me View Post
    I want to know how you guys feel about happy endings? Should a writer just give the reader what they want, the girl getting the boy, the bad guy defeated, the pretty couple riding off into the sunset or is a story improved by leaving the reader in a state of emotional turmoil?

    Does it depend on the story? The characters? The genre?

    Does the reader even know what they really want?

    Do people prefer books/films etc where the ending is wrapped up neatly and everyone's happy?
    It heavily depends on the story. That will have the biggest impact on the ending and how it effects the reader.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

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  3. #3
    I just finished reading "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. It is basically a story of two women, sisters, and how they individually contributed and dealt with the German invasion of France. Readers will fall in love with the characters - I certainly did - and we want them to survive (even though we know the unlikelihood) and be happy again. But the story takes a reader so far into hell, that it soon becomes apparent that happiness, as we know it, is a long way from the end of the book, and so all we can hope for is life.

    One sister, who is strong, courageous and rebellious, is reunited after the war with her long-time love, and dies shortly after. But I was grateful to the author for giving us that reunion. The other sister brings us to modern times, well past war time, but still recounting deaths of her husband and a child along that path. But I am, again, grateful to the author that she gave we readers that crumb, that that sister survived and told her story, and her deceased sister's story as well.

    So, to sum up () I think it depends hugely on the story and your characters' character, and that you can never have a formula happy ending that will always be satisfying. Sometimes, yes, but I think readers are all too aware of how life can twist and turn and sometimes all you can give as a writer is the best a reader can hope for. Good question!
    When the night has come
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  4. #4
    Mentor Dluuni's Avatar
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    I write romance.

    It's an explicit requirement of my genre. If the book doesn't end in an emotionally satisfying, hopeful ending, I can't get credited for it as in my genre.

    Anyways, I already live in a terrifying and dangerous dystopia, if I wanted to feel afraid, hopeless, and hated, I would read the news relevant to me. Relentless hopepunk optimism suits me fine.
    Last edited by Dluuni; May 16th, 2019 at 01:09 AM.

  5. #5
    I like a hopeful ending, especially if the characters have to get through a lot of crap to get there. But it doesn't have to be a perfect package--maybe they have lost something along the way, or have to sacrifice something to get that happy ending. My favorite endings are well-earned endings.

    And as Dluuni mentioned, it is genre-dependent. Tragedies have to end, well, tragically, and comedies (both in the classical and modern sense) usually end happily (SLC Punk is the only one I can think of that doesn't).

  6. #6
    All of my endings are reasonably happy. It might not be for everyone in the story, but the bad guys always ultimately lose and the good guys always ultimately win. I wouldn't write any other way.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by L2me View Post
    I want to know how you guys feel about happy endings? Should a writer just give the reader what they want, the girl getting the boy, the bad guy defeated, the pretty couple riding off into the sunset or is a story improved by leaving the reader in a state of emotional turmoil?

    Does it depend on the story? The characters? The genre?

    Does the reader even know what they really want?

    Do people prefer books/films etc where the ending is wrapped up neatly and everyone's happy?
    I have never encountered a situation where I felt there was a choice as to whether to make an ending 'happy' or 'sad' and I'm fascinated by those who say they can make that choice.

    My stories' endings write themselves. Literally. I have no idea how to write an ending. By the time I reach the natural conclusion I just go with the first thing that comes to mind that makes sense and once I do that I am basically unable (and entirely unwilling) to change it.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  8. #8
    No. Just no.

    "Now let's all agree, never to be creative again."




  9. #9
    Happy endings satisfy me as a reader so I tend to never want to write tragic pieces when starting a story. There are also many endings for stories that I read that are neither happy or sad. I wrote one a long time ago. Sad endings are few but exist for movies. But notice that there are almost no bad endings when you go to see movies. I once watched a documentary that stated this fact.That movies are a different market may be true. I feel cheated if I read a sad ending because they don't feel emotionally satisfying to me as they lack what I want to feel. Some sort of happy resolution is necessary. Real life stories I can enjoy on the other hand but still must be a tale of survival. So I guess maybe I should say never. Also sad pieces were prominent at some point in time. So I am not saying it's impossible. Just that almost everything I bought has a positive ending.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; May 16th, 2019 at 04:29 PM.
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  10. #10
    The thing with romance and HEA sor HFNs (Happy for now), that's just a finish point. It can as dark and shift across any genre you'd like. Romance readers like the HEA/HFN, purely because what goes on in the story can be gut-wrenching, and they like a safety barrier.
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