Personal Posts

Open Endings


I’ve noticed a trend with my work. Since I’m in the editing process of An Austrian March I have little time and energy to work on another full-fledged novel or novella, and until it’s done and published, I won’t be doing very much novel writing. However, as I mentioned before, I have a very intense need for writing now. A writing habit, if you will. As such, I can’t go for very long periods of time without writing something.

So, I’ve gone back to writing short stories and poems – pieces that don’t need extensive and copious amounts of time and attention to create. And as I’m writing them and doing quick edits of them, I’m also constantly shipping them off to literary journals/magazines. As I’ve been writing them, I’ve noticed a lot of open endings. And once I took notice of that, I also thought back to Apocalyptia and An Austrian March, both having very open endings.

I, personally, hate open endings in the novels I read.

But on that same coin, I love them because I hate them.

I know that makes no sense, but allow me to explain. I love works that give me an intense emotional response, including anger. If a book can anger me because it didn’t give me closure, then it is a great book. To me, when a book is open ended, it gives me the sense of continuation, of immortality. The characters’ stories aren’t done, they have lives beyond the book that I may never know about. Something about having it end with a sense of more just fascinates me. It’s like saying you’ll see a friend later even though you both know it’s good-bye. Sad, but wonderful, and something I want to emulate in my writing, though I hadn’t noticed it until now.

Books with complete endings aren’t bad either. I also have an emotional response to those, but the analogy is much different in this case. At the end of a book (or series) for me, I feel as if I am burying a friend. I’m saying goodbye for one last time.

I love both and it’s up to us as the writers to decide whether our hero or heroines should get their complete ending or not. We don’t have to have them win or lose, live or die, or do much of anything. That’s the beauty of being a writer. We decide how we want it all to end, or if we want it to end it all. Isn’t that a beautiful thought?

How do you feel about open endings? Closed endings? Which do you prefer? Which ones do you tend to write? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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