I read an interesting article in Newsweek yesterday. The topic was endings. In this particular article, movies were the focus, but I think the principles are the same.
The writer, David Ansen, talked about how movies these days try to go for the ending that satisfies everyone, not the ending that the story demands. He went after the big, happy-ever-after types, and those that try and whiz bang you into fanhood with millions of dollars of special effects, like a certain trilogy involving Pirates. He gave some examples of good endings, and most of them were obscure titles (I suspected as much when I began the article,) but he cited movies such as Titanic and Gone with the Wind. These two did NOT end happily, as we all remember, but it was the ending that the story required.
The article got the wheels turning in my head. Of course, I thought about the ending of my own story. Is it the right one? I admit that my novel has a pretty happy ending. It is YA, but still. I wonder.
See, my problem is that I am CONSTANTLY analyzing my novel in my head. A scrap of writing advice reaches somehow, in a book, a website, a passing breeze, and I am instantly scrutinizing my story. Truthfully, I am not sure that it is a good thing.
Well, at any rate, I think this advice was needed. I have been examining my ending with a harsh eye. It may still remain a happy ending, but at least I’ll know that the flow of the story required it.