This post is going to be a little bit different.
Most of my posts consist of either writing advice or book reviews, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about taking on a more reader perspective, creating more book posts. So today, I’m going to go on a little bit of a rant about endings.
If you think about it, what is the biggest complaint books get? What’s one of the biggest things beta readers are out searching for? Realism. Every reputable writer is doing everything they can do make their books as realistic as possible. I’m talking research, interviews, experience- They’re putting all this together to create a realistic experience for their readers. And then they turn around and give a fairy tale ending to a serious book. I talked about this in my blog post about mental illnesses, where the mc has some sort of serious disorder, falls in love, and is magically cured.
Yes, these endings are endearing. They’re cute. And they offer hope. But they do it in a twisted way that offers more harm than help. Imagine being an impressionable reader reading about a young girl with depression “falling in love” with a boy she met three days ago and then feeling completely better. Keyword being impressionable. They’re going to see this as a reality, and be crushed when it doesn’t work out that way. Additionally, so many readers are at a stage where their environment can permanently shape the person they become- And many of them read.
But writers get scared. We look back at all our dark content and think, “Okay, this is really heavy.” Then we get paranoid. “Is it too heavy? Will people like it? Will it cause backlash?” So they throw in what I like to call a sugary ending. “I know what can fix this! A cancer patient sent into remission!” And then you have a cancer patient reading your book, and while it is entirely possible for that person to be sent into remission, the odds very well may not be in their favour. Now they’re reading your book and are convinced they will be sent into remission, as well.
Bittersweet endings are my favourite for a couple of different reasons. They tackle what I’ve been ranting on about this entire post- Realism. It is incredibly rare for a person with depression to be cured, especially for the rest of their lives. But can they find healthy ways to cope with it? Can they have a majority of good days? Can they take medication and utilize therapy? Yes, they can.
They’re also good because it’s sort of a middle ground. They aren’t so damn depressing that you feel like drowning yourself in the bathtub, and they aren’t unnervingly happy ((you know, the stepford ending that you’re positive is happening in some alternate universe)).
And they’re good for pleasure! You will never be able to please anybody. But if you have half of an audience who prefers the stepford endings and half who prefers the emotional, heart wrenching knife of an ending. A vast majority of your audience will be satisfied with your ending, even if it doesn’t perfectly fit the mold of their tastes.
Lastly, they’re easier to create! Look at your outline. What’s the best way to create a realistic ending? Look at each event in order and decide what would most likely happen next. Now you automatically have a realistic, bittersweet ending.
So this was a little different from how I usually do my posts, but I’m hoping to do more of them, so let me know what you think! ❤
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