Done? Excellent isn't it? And I hope you took some time to read the scenes that were part of the challenge... no? OK the links are in the comments. We'll wait. Honest.
When you are writing or reading you are always heading towards the end. The best feeling is that you desperately want to know how it ends but you desperately don't want it to finish. The whole of a story can be ruined by an unsatisfying ending. As a writer this the holy grail. How do you get an ending to be satisfying and fitting for the characters themselves.
This is something I have struggled with for awhile. When I was attempting to write for Mills & Boon, I found that I couldn't write the Happily Ever After that I knew they needed. Call me a cynic or a realist but I knew that even if these two people had overcome their obstacles in the book, that there would be other obstacles out there for them afterwards. OK so I know that it is a fantasy we are dealing with, I was even told that by M&B's Editorial Director, but for some reason I couldn't allow myself to overcome my cynical side.
But I am also an idealist and a romantic. How do I marry these things?
During the now infamous Cornwall trip I took recently, Liz and I were discussing endings and how, as a cynical romantic, do I resolve my own internal tension. Well I shall tell you, I am a big fan of the ambiguous ending.
1. (of language) Open to more than one interpretation; having a double meaning.
2. Unclear or inexact because a choice between alternatives has not been made
See I quite like that, the choice has not been made. Oh the choices have been pinpointed through the story. You hope that they will take the correct choice but will they? And what is the correct choice?
Going back to 'Frenchman's Creek' by Daphne du Maurier, you have a classic ambiguous ending. The proper and moral ending would be for her to stay with her husband and family, this is the dutiful ending. But for the romantics there is the ending where she runs away to sea with her lover. The only man she will ever love. The book ends with her on the shore, her lover in a boat. And then it ends. I reckon she probably stays with her husband but by ending it there, the choices and possibilities haven't been completely closed off. She could still hitch up her skirts and jump in that boat.
But for all my cynicism I am not keen on the unhappy ending. That is the romantic in me coming out. In my head I rewrite the ending to 'Casablanca' so she doesn't get on the plane. Oh I know the ending fits and is satisfying but I am romantic enough to want love to conquer all.
So what is your favourite sort of ending? Which books have the most satisfying endings?
Please come back on Thursday when Susanna will be posting!