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message 1: by John (new)

John | 6 comments Does every story need a happy ending?

message 2: by Leya (new)

Leya (leyasofpaint) | 114 comments Well, seeing that some amazing books haven't, I would say it's not about the happy ending but about the story. :)
[But I prefer happy endings]

message 3: by Jenni (new)

Jenni (thefabjenni) | 91 comments Stories need a good ending, that fits and suits the lead up, concludes what has happened and doesn't change randomly.

message 4: by John (new)

John | 6 comments Ambiguous endings force you to draw your own conclusions based on what your have learned about the personalities of the characters. It also gives a writer the opportunity to set the course for a sequel or even a book of the same genre.

message 5: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Hamill (patricia_hamill) I prefer a happy ending that isn't forced. But, sad endings are ok, too. It has to flow from the story and make sense for me to like it.

If a story has to end badly, I like there to at least be a glimmer of hope. A chance for something better.

message 6: by John (new)

John | 6 comments There's nothing worse than forcing a happy ending just for the sake of wrapping up all the threads of a storyline. However, there is something satisfying about allowing a reader to draw a lot of his/her own conclusion and interpretations.

message 7: by Jordi (new)

Jordi Van de Vondel (darkwizza) | 278 comments lol okay i dont Always need a happy ending otherwise i will get bored after a while its like real life we have allot of sad and unhappy moments and somethings just dont end well thats how i see it i dont know why but it just is. xD (oh and if its a unhappy ending it has to be well writen otherwise it's crap)

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I say yes.
well,personally thats what I think. all my fave books have happy endings.
It does not need to be a happy ending for abselutely everyone in the story but for the main people yes.
It does not need to answer all the questions asked through the story but most of them yes.

message 9: by Veronica (new)

Veronica | 175 comments i live for happy endings.

message 10: by John (new)

John Burnett | 23 comments Don't you think that totally happy endings leave no threads to follow in a sequel? I mean, if everything gets resolved and all the loose threads are tied up, it really doesn't give the author an opportunity to do a sequel, does it? Won't that make it seem like the main characters are just going from new adventure to new adventure without any common themes connecting them?

message 11: by John (new)

John Burnett | 23 comments Are happy endings just for the end of a series to resolve all the conflicts and plot lines while a less than happy ending leaves room for the story and characters to evolve and find new situations? Your thoughts, please.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I think a nice ending is where 98 % of the questions are answered and the few left un answered are minor issues.
I good ending in my mind is the ending at the end of hex hall by rachel hawkins, or to a standalone old magic by marianne curley.

message 13: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Frankel | 410 comments I think it's part of North American culture in general to have a happy ending much of the time in the story or movie, unless there's a sequel, and even then it's a tossup. I like the idea of a happy ending in a standalone. (Most of my novels are standalone's, so there it is...)

A sequel can be more open ended and that works if there aren't too many loose ends to be tied up. That's partially to try and answer John's question and partially my own thoughts.

message 14: by John (new)

John Burnett | 23 comments Interesting, Jesse, but don't you feel it's catering to a formula? By happy endings, do you mean the story is like a fairy tale where everyone lives "happily ever after"? I think a happy ending means giving hope for the characters, but real life doesn't tie up every loose end, does it? Like Oda says, if there are a few things left unanswered, I think it's much more realistic.

message 15: by Amanda (new)

Amanda  (manka23) I love unhappy endings. I love cliffhangers. I hate when everything is wrapped up in a neat little bow. If it's a happy ending I don't find myself as drawn to read the sequel. I loved the way Awakening (The Dark Rituals, Book 1) by Catrina Burgess ended and I had to read the sequel rather soon afterwards.

message 16: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Frankel | 410 comments John wrote: "Interesting, Jesse, but don't you feel it's catering to a formula? By happy endings, do you mean the story is like a fairy tale where everyone lives "happily ever after"? I think a happy ending m..."

Up to a point I agree with that assessment, but the flipside of the coin is that if you leave an unhappy or ambiguous ending or a cliffhanger then that's also catering to a formula. Granted, life doesn't work in the way of all the loose ends being tied up (okay, rarely) but the novelist can take that liberty if he/she so chooses.

In the end, it all comes down to what the writer wants to show. In a story I wrote a couple of years back, I actually had three endings. The first was that the main character and his girlfriend got separated by time and space and he found her in the end. The second was that she died. The third was that she was lost and he kept searching for her. I agonized over writing out each ending and thought about it for a long time. In the end, I decided on the happy ending because to take away his love would have been a cheat and killing her would have also been a cheat.

This is just me. Other writers will differ in their approaches. JMO...

message 17: by Morrigan (new)

Morrigan I feel like every book should have a REDEEMING ending. It doesn't necessarily have to be "and they all lived happily ever after" but I like them to hold some hope, some meaning, some SOMETHING that makes me feel like I haven't wasted my time only to feel discouraged and hopeless. That said, I did enjoy "My sister's Keeper", which is sad, yet, like I love, there was some redemption and peace in the ending. I know, I know, real life isn't always like that, but I don't read to stay in the real world. I read to ESCAPE it!

message 18: by Morrigan (new)

Morrigan Amanda wrote: "I love unhappy endings. I love cliffhangers. I hate when everything is wrapped up in a neat little bow. If it's a happy ending I don't find myself as drawn to read the sequel. I loved the way [book..."

What about books that don't have sequels or aren't part of a series?

message 19: by Morrigan (new)

Morrigan John wrote: "Don't you think that totally happy endings leave no threads to follow in a sequel? I mean, if everything gets resolved and all the loose threads are tied up, it really doesn't give the author an o..."

Some books are meant to be stand alones, and I love that. I feel like then the author is forced instead to think of new plots and characters, not just dragging out one long plot just for the sake of producing many books. That said, look at the Harry Potter books. Too complicated a plot to be carried out by one single book. Yet each book has some sort of happiness, or at least hope to it. And people are STILL craving more. So I guess J.K. Rowling beats the rule.

- ̗̀  jess  ̖́- (kazbrekkers) | 71 comments happy endings are all right, but the way books go, usually it's not possible to have a truly happy ending. i don't think that it's bad to have a happy ending, just that most of the time it can be unrealistic?

my favorite is bittersweet endings. the main character has lost so much, but they're doing okay, and there's nowhere to go but up.

message 21: by M.T. (new)

M.T. McGuire (mtmcguire) | 2 comments Hello, new here, but couldn't resist posting in this thread first. I love a happy ending but I reckon the nub is this:

Do the protagonists change and develop over the course of the book?
Does it happen in a credible and satisfying way?
Does the ending fit in with the events that have gone before?
Is the ending, be it happy, sad or a bit of both earned?

I think so long as you can put a yes to those three questions the type of ending doesn't matter hugely. The only ones I don't like are the really ambiguous, John Grisham style endings where there will be 7 or 8 complicated sub plots that are left dangling and only one plot tied up. For me, as a reader, that's really irritating. It might be like real life but I read to escape so one of the joys of reading, for me, is that all that stuff can be tied up. ;-)

I'm also with Jess, in that if the character has earned their happy ending or if there is clearly light at the end of the tunnel when the book ends, it's a big plus for me. It's just my view though, in the end it's up to each reader.



message 22: by Jojobean (new)

Jojobean | 675 comments I just want the ending to match with the story lines or the series. I hate when endings come out of left field and its not realistic at all. usually if one (or more) things that I want to happen with the characters happen in the end, then I'm happy regardless of whether its a happy or sad ending. I hate forced endings

message 23: by Elli (new)

Elli | 2 comments I love this question. I was debating joining the group. Then I saw this question and the responses and it was a done deal.

No, I don't think there always has to be a happy ending. It's unrealistic. Of course, it would also make books much too predictable.

I think for series, once readers have invested so much time and emotion into characters, it's super hard to live with an unhappy ending. Even if it's foreshadowed to the max and even if it makes sense I think that very few people would really appreciate the unhappy end to their beloved characters (especially the first time through when you have such high hopes and expectations). Once you've seen the main characters at their lowest and see them struggling with all the conflicts that have plagued them, you want them to prevail (at least a little bit?).

I think it's much easier to accept an unhappy ending in contemporary realistic stand alones. I know. It sounds specific.

In dystopians the story simply has to end with the potential of redemption.
In fantasy so much wacky stuff goes on that the author could pull any hat trick at any time. The readers are reading it to see the hero fight the dragon and win.

Realistic fiction is frequently written to be relatable in some way. People die. People fall out of love. Horrible things happen all of the time. We read to know we're not alone. - William Nicholson And to live vicariously. (See fantasy/dystopian and consider common farfetched contemporary romance stories.)

No one author could ever please every reader. (Um, obviously, hence the thread.) But I do think that some sort of hopeful ending, even if it's not necessarily a happy ending. If it's the last thing a person reads and remembers in a book, I prefer it to be positive.

(Note: I personally lean toward happy endings with everything tied up. If I love everything an author did up until the ending, I want an ending the way the author could see it.)

message 24: by Mzzie (new)

Mzzie (mezle) I don't really mind happy endings as long as it's not to perfect of a happy ending. And I prefer that the main character does not die. Unless it's what fits for the story.

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

If it's a stand alone then yes, it needs a happy ending
But if it's a series, then no, because there's more books to come, and hopefully the last book has a happy ending

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