Tuesday, August 09, 2011

To make a long story short, the end.

Today on Do Some Damage, Dave White again voices his displeasure with Lost's finale, and asks:

What do you look for in an ending? Can an ending completely invalidate a story for you? Can it completely redeem a story for you? What are some of the best and/or worst endings you've read?

I commented:

Over the years, I've paid less attention to TV series finales. I don't think you can know the ending of a TV series from the start because the show may be cancelled anytime, and if so, the ending you had in mind won't come to fruition. John Rogers, co-creator of TNT's Leverage, writes every season finale as a possible series finale.

By contrast, a lot of TV writers try to squeeze as much closure as possible into a series finale because viewers may have tuned out for a few seasons and only tuned back in for the finale. Readers can't tune in and out of a novel.

I can't say an ending has invalidated or redeemed a story for me, but at times I've wished a novel wasn't just another in a series but the last. Some novels and series would resonate all the more for it.

I prefer muted endings that allow me to focus on the emotions of the final moments, that don't get caught up in fireworks. Recently, I thought Liquid Smoke by Jeff Shelby ended well.

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