Thursday, December 30, 2010

Do Most Readers Prefer A Happy Ending?

You know that satisfied feeling when you close a book you’ve just finished. You sit there looking at it, thinking about the great ending.

What made it a good ending for you?

For me, it has to be logical. No contrived happy ending will do. All of the story elements have to lead up to the ending, but not too predictably because, of course, that would be boring. Some books hit you over the head with the foreshadowing. In fact, something surprising or unexpected, a twist of some kind would be welcome as long as it follows the logic of the story.

If it’s a mystery, find the treasure, resolve the conflicts and misunderstandings, but don’t wait until the last few paragraphs to tie up all the loose ends. Whether it’s a mystery, action thriller or romance, abrupt endings leave the reader asking, “That’s it?”

Sometimes the ending is generally happy, but the last view I get of one of the characters is a conflicted feeling about its situation. Or a story ending might present me with hints as to how the story is resolved but leaves me to interpret the clues anyway I want. Do you like that?

The best ending for me is where I give that satisfied sigh because, whether the ending is happy or sad, it had to end in just...that...way.

happy reading,