Thursday, July 2, 2009

What makes a perfect ending?

We--my husband, my oldest son, my daughter and I--were watching a movie last night. About thirty minutes into it, my husband Steve said, "This is a little slow moving. Can we fast-forward?"

"No!" The rest of us exclaimed.

So he went to bed.

Thirty minutes later Cara was asleep on the couch. A few minutes after that Matt fell asleep on the floor. Leaving me to watch--intently--the semi-intriguing story. Unfortunately, the ending was so lame I was left wishing we had fast-forwarded or that I had fallen asleep on the couch, also.

Endings can take a good story and ruin it or take a mediocre story and turn it into a home run.

This ending was lame because it left me feeling, "So what? Why did anyone even bother to write this story?"

A good ending makes sense and satisfies.

I love surprise endings, too. Like in Jodi Picoults' novel "My Sister's Keeper." My daughter saw the movie last week. She said they changed the ending, removing the surprise. Why would they do that?

Another fabulous surprise ending is in Flannery O'Connors' "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." That ending reached out and grabbed me and has never let me go. Of course, I can't tell you what it is or it might lessen the punch for you when you read the story.

What's your favorite story ending?