Recently I have been thinking about how most stories are ended. No matter what the format, be they video games, TV shows, movies, or books they all seem to ultimately end with a happy ending. Even those stories, or individual books or shows, which are part of a series may end with neutral or unhappy endings, the overall story arc ends with a happy ending. Even in my own work I am guilty of this.
Now I'm not saying there
is something wrong with good triumphing over evil, or for the lost loves to
finally find true happiness(other than being boring and predictable). I'm just
wondering why more endings are, let's say not unhappy, but interesting? Why is it that we feel the need to have a
happy ending in all our stories?
Having said that I am
going to conduct an experiment. I'm am
currently working on an idea in which the ending could only be described as
evil or at best disturbing. No one will find their lost loves,
good will not triumph and no one will ride off into the sunset(unless they have
a bag of severed heads slung over their
shoulder). The problem I am encountering
is that no matter what I write I put some degree of a happy or neutral
resolution in my story. I am trying to
get as far as I can from that.
Now, I am not some
miserable person, or someone who cheers for the criminals I see on TV, quite
the opposite. I am developing this idea
simply because I want to see if I can. I
have several concepts in mind, one in particular, I really like. When I get this story done I will post it for
all to see. I want to know If I
succeeded in my quest, and I will need all of you to tell me if I did.
Let me make one thing clear, I am not talking
about a story in which the bad guys merely wins, or the protagonist does not
achieve all his/her goals, or something like that, I am talking about an ending
that will make the reader sit up and take notice. I have read and seen many things where the
ending could be termed unhappy, but there are still parts of the ending that
are neutral or even happy. I suppose as not
to make it too depressing. I have also read endings that made my toes curl. Well,
depressing, shocking and evil are exactly what I'm going for!
To be honest it is very
easy to come up with an unhappy ending, the trick will be to be to take that to
the next level. To take the conclusion
to a place that freaks us out, both as readers, but also as writers. I know
there are writers out there that are good at such things, but I am not. I am treating this not only like an experiment,
but also a challenge to myself as a writer, to take my work to places I have
taken it before(albeit dark places).
I'll see you at the