April 23, 2010 | By: Tracy

Happy Endings

Huge thank you to everyone who congratulated or wished me luck on my partial request.


You guys are awesome! I especially appreciate it from the people I don't hear from much, or those of you who are new to my blog.  You are now my new favorite people.

With it being Friday, I wanted to keep it light and talk about Happy Endings (and no, I'm not referring to questionable massage parlor practices).

I ran into an issue when I was first trying to genre-lize (that is the art of figuring out what genre your book falls into -- yeah, I made it up). Since my story rests under the paranormal romance umbrella, it has to follow basic understood romance guidelines. Meaning, it better end on a happy note ... or a really high one at least.

At first I was like, "well what if I don't want it to end happy? Life doesn't always end happy, why should my story?" (for the record, it ends on a high note)

Then I realized I was being a hypocrite. I was thinking like an entertainer and not one of the entertained.

I LOVE happy endings. It doesn't have to be saccharine sweet, but I want an ending where I feel like GOOD has ultimately won out over EVIL ... no matter how much GOOD may have heart-wrenchingly lost along the way.

I can handle a song being sad, because it's only 4 minutes of my life. I can allow myself to feel that intense emotion for 4 minutes, knowing I can move onto something happier when it's done. When it comes to books or movies -- or any other serious time commitment form of entertainment -- I need to be satisfied with the ending.

That doesn't mean I want Mary Sue type characters who always have people fixing things for them. I enjoy stories & movies where my hero suffers to the point where I'm thinking inside my head "Leave him alone! Hasn't he suffered enough? Damn you!"

I think endings are trickier for those of us who write books, more than any of the others. Because it's such a big time commitment for a person to read a book, we are under the pressure to write endings that will meet their expectations. I've forgiven great movies with bad endings, but there are a couple of great stories I know I'll never likely read again, because I was so disappointed in where the journey ended.

So what do you all think? Do you need a happy ending or do you prefer entertainment that rips your heart out and leaves it lying on the floor? Can you think of examples where a book or story DIDN'T end happily, but you loved it anyway?

11 witty remarks:

JustineDell said...

One, I must have missed that partial request post. SORRY! Well then....

* * C O N G R A T S * *

And as for the ending. HEA! HEA! I demand and HEA! That happy ever after for those of you who don't know. ;-) I must have it. That's why I'm die-hard romance fan - they always have the HEA, it's required in the genre.

Good luck on the partial request.

~JD

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Yeah, I see where you're coming from, but it really depends on the story. I mean, take 'The boy in the striped pyjamas' for instance. There's no way that could have a happy ending. and the horrific ending had me crying for hours but I loved it. (I'm a sucker for being made to feel sad ... I don't know what's wring with me - LOL)

Tracy said...

Justine - Thanks! It was just yesterday, and everyone in blogosphere has been crazy this week it seems. And you're right. The one good thing about going shopping in the romance section is knowing you're going to get an uplifting ending. Thankfully they keep the Love Stories (Nicholas Sparks) separated.

Jessica - I get what you mean about being sad. I do like stories that are a little darker and touch me on a deeper level. My problem is, that if it doesn't end with at least a solid ray of hope for the hero I can get STUCK in that sad feeling. I tend to carry emotions from books & movies around with me for a while. I was a mess after I watch "Remember Me" last month.

KarenG said...

First off, genre-lize is an awesomesauce word and should be added to the dictionary! For endings, they don't have to be happy for me, but they need to be complete. A good ending is where the characters get what they want, even if it isn't what the reader wants for them. I like those kinds. And lets hope for a happy ending for your partial request!!!

Kaylie said...

I can think of lots of unhappy endings that are still satisfying. But they work only when you care enough about the characters to cry over 'em. Though I don't like it when everyone dies, either. You have to keep somebody alive so the novel isn't completely hopeless.

G.~ said...

I read and watch movies to escape the 'real life' scenario, so YES, I like happy endings. I do not like movies that are sad all the way through or that are sad at the end. Philadelphia was a fantastic movie, but it was heart-wrenchingly sad and I will never watch it again. The Green Mile, fantabulous, but only once.

I have never seen Titanic and never will. I don't like being sad and feeling heart broken. It doesn't matter how great the story was. If I know a story has a sad undertone or will not have a happy ending, I won't see it or read it.

I read and watch movies to escape to a happier place. That is also why I write.

G.~ said...

Oh and congratulations on your partial request!

Mary McDonald said...

I love the way you worded that, Good over Evil. That's exactly how I want books to end too.

Slushpile Slut said...

I like sad endings for some reason unknown to me. The movie, Life is Beautiful with Roberto Benigni is my all time fave movie and Sold by Patricia McCormick, my fave book is sad too....Sometimes though I think you can do both. I think if you have a well-developed book with a cast of characters, you can have sad and you can have happy too! Life is multi-dimensional and I really don't like neat & tidy endings...Drives me cah-razee! Great post!

Wanted to give you a Big Thank You for becoming my 50th follower! I'm so excited! High Five!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Congrats on the partial request!

I love endings that are right for the story. They might not be happy, though I prefer if they are. They must leaving me thinking about the story, and thinging why it ended this way instead of happily ever after. If the ending make me cry (that doens't take much, btw), then great . . . as long as it feels right.

Tracy said...

Thanks, all! I went dormant over the weekend. Forgive me.

I do have to say that a few of you have some good points about the story ending has to feel right. I don't even mind bittersweet endings, where the good guy wins, but it costs him something heartbreaking. It's the stories that have no sort of silver lining for me to grasp onto that depress me too much to re-visit.

Great discussion!

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