Thursday, July 30, 2015
Endings Are Important, too...aren't they?
I began keeping a list of every book I read--or tried to. Already, my list is long. For my own private notes, I use a check mark for books I liked very much, a check mark plus for an outstanding read, and a question mark for books that bewildered me in some way, or did not have a good ending. Most of the books have check marks. Very few have a question mark or a plus.
Something about each Check Mark Plus story made an impression on me, which made me think about it after I read the last page. Notice I didn't say "a happy impression." Not all the books had the same kind of ending, but all the story lines were good. They held my attention. I turned the pages...digitally...anticipating the next scene. And…I liked the ending, and maybe even remembered it for some time.
Remember "Gone With the Wind?" Who could not remember the story and especially—the ending. "I'll worry about that later. After all. Tomorrow is another day." It did not end happily, at least for Scarlet and Rhett, but it left us hanging a little. What would Scarlet do? We felt certain she would survive and move on, so we weren't very distressed. What would Rhett do? Probably he would return to his old habits and continue being the rogue that he was—with a broken heart, of course. The ending gave us a rare opportunity to imagine the next phase of their lives.
What does a reader wait for at the end? Satisfaction is the key word. The novel must have an ending that satisfies the reader. If not, the reader most likely will not return to that particular author. Just what does "satisfy" mean?
1. To answer or discharge a claim in full.
2. To make happy.
3. To pay what is due.
5. To meet the requirements.
Surprised? A satisfactory ending does not always mean the same as "A Happy Ending." Nor does "a happy ending" hold the same meaning for everyone. For faithful romance authors and readers, a HEA is a requirement. Ninety percent of the books I read fall into this category. Even though I do read others that I know won't end happily, I look for some satisfaction for my protagonist—and myself.
~*~Did the author leave a glimmer of hope for happiness for my protagonist?
~*~Did the author make me believe wholeheartedly that the story was worth the time and emotional commitment I put into it?
~*~Did the author leave me with a lasting impression that her next book will be just as good?
~*~Did the author conclude the story with enough emotion to make me cry, laugh, or say "Yessss."
If none of these happen, you can bet I won't buy her next book.
What was the last book you read that did not have a perfect HEA, but you liked it because of the ending?
What is the best kind of ending for you to recommend a book?
A few good endings:
"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have even done" it is a far, far better rest that I do to than I have ever known."-Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
"God's in His Heaven, all's right with the world," whispered Anne, softly, softly.-Anne of Green Gables.
"I showed them," he was saying. "It was a hard fight, but I didn't give up and I came through." The Beautiful and the Damned.-F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Well, girls, that's the best part of this whole crazy adventure. Her name was Annie."-Kay Bratt-Red Skies: Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters.
I'd love to include some of the good endings found in PRP books, but I feared leaving someone out or seeming to play favorites. Since the PRP books are generally a bit different from the run-of-the-mill romances, you may assume many, if not most, had good lines at the ending.
LINK FOR STARR BRIGHT on Amazon.
From my own PRP short titled Starr Bright, the last line:
She laughed. "I have no idea, but maybe it'll be all the sweeter for it."
Care to share the last line of one of your own favorite stories?
If you're not an author, care to share the last line you loved in a story?
Thanks so much for visiting the PRP blog, today.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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