Bitter-sweet

I took a few days off from my blog because I was…gasp…being an author. Or, becoming one, at least.

This last weekend I finished my revisions for my debut novel that will be coming out soon. Then I sent it to my editor and got started on my next book. Before I get completely lost in a new and exciting world, I thought I should stop by my blog and talk about endings.

As I finished up my revisions for my debut novel, and used my baby’s favorite blanket as my personal tear-catcher, I realized that I have a–well, I’m not sure what to call it. A problem? A habit? A preference? Anyway. I like a little bit of bitter in my semi-sweet endings. Just like a lovely dark chocolate.

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Yum.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Don’t even get me started on all those novels I had to read in my Spanish Literature classes where no one ever got the girl and half the people ended up dead or destitute. No. I am not a sad ending kind of girl.

However, something all that Spanish Literature taught me was that sadness can be truly poignant. That tugging, aching feeling you get in your chest when you REALLY don’t want that character to die, but you KNOW he must! That breathless, tear-jerking moment when everything is (finally) all better, but it’s just not the same. It’s never the same. Because we Lost something so very important in the midst of those heart-wrenching pages of the novel.

I love it.

If an ending can make me close the book or sit at the credits at the end of a movie and make me sit there and think for several minutes about whether or not I’m happy about what happened, then I usually get a smile on my face.

Unless it’s one of those movies that just makes me want to say…

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So, I’ll ask for your comments later on, but right now I want to talk about my favorite and least favorite endings.

For my favorite ending, I have to go with Push I love the twist, the tragedy, the somewhat open-endedness of the plot, and every time I watch it I wonder, “Why didn’t they ever make a sequel?” And then I realize, “Oh yeah. Because Chris Evans became filthy rich doing all sorts of other super hero movies, and Dakota Fanning got too old to be the cute 12-year-old who likes to drink.”

As far as an ending that might go too bitter in that bitter-sweet concoction is the movie The Time Traveler’s Wife. I haven’t read the book yet, and that’s probably because of the reaction I always have to the movie. Basically, every time I get to the end of that movie I sit there while the credits roll and ask myself over and over, “Am I depressed? I think I’m depressed. Was that happy, or…kind of sad? I think that was sad. Like. Really sad. I don’t know if I can watch that again.” Which of course means I have watched it two or three times, and still get to the end asking myself those very same questions. The last time I watched it I decided I pretty much know it makes me sad, and too sad for me to want to suffer through it again. So I’m sorry, Time Traveler’s Wife, but we can’t have any sort of ongoing relationship.

Funny, though, I just realized that my favorite and least favorite movie both came out in 2009.

So what about you? Do you love those bittersweet endings, or are you ready for the author to just pour on some sugar at the end so you can go to bed knowing that everyone ate dessert? Or do you go the other way? Are you a Spanish Literature-type fan, who thinks dessert should be spelled with one S, and everyone should be dying of thirst and have nothing to eat but sand when we read the words The End? Let me know in the comments below, and…hey, why not. Let’s do a spoiler alert. What’s your favorite ending? What’s your least favorite ending? We can go with movies or books.

Have fun, and enjoy the writing.

4 comments

  1. I am a bitter sweet ending person too. I can go a bit more bitter than you, I loved the time travelers wife (the book far more than the movie, so much was left out of the movie) for example. If it’s to happy in the end then I find myself going, ‘what was the point?’ There was no sacrifice, no lesson learned, nothing of value. If it’s purely sad then I feel the same, except instead of no sacrifice it’s, ‘They lost it all for nothing?’ I can handle a sad ending if it hints that things will work out eventually. I can handle happy if it came at a huge cost earlier. But happy for the sake of happy, and sad for the sake of sad, neither of those have enough depth to please my tastes.

    1. You should have written this post for me! I love your statement about needing to sacrifice for something, (but not too much.) And about the Time Traveler’s wife, I’m sure the book is much better, and I honestly do love the movie. The first time I watched it I told my husband, “that’s an ending that I would probably write.” The only problem is I feel so sad that they can’t be together all the time, that I honestly sit around in a gloomy angry state for the next three days after I watch it. I think that I love the character development so much, and I think they are so perfect for each other, so it’s just heartbreaking how apart they have to be. But really, it is a wonderful story. I should try the book. It’s worth being gloomy and angry for a few days, maybe.

  2. It depends on how I have developed the character’s arc. Though we can have the ending in two different ways, it makes sense if we do justice to our main characters.

    I my first novel, I had to separate protagonist and his love interest because of the country barrier. In next two novels, I had the ending based on the character development. However, I write the story for my satisfaction rather than anyone tells me or for any one who reads my work later.

    Your post was interesting to read!

    1. I love that you write your book for your own satisfaction. I think that’s what is so important in novel writing. For me, the bitter sweet endings are so perfect, but I know people out there who love happy all the way. If we try to write an ending that we think will make other people happy, then we lose what we really want, and there’s someone out there who likes our type of ending, be it happy, sad or in between.

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