Bonnie Sparks Writes

…fiction and discusses editing, writing, mental illness, chronic conditions, bunnies, food, fitness, and geeky topics.

A Word on Endings


Recently I read the graphic novel The Silence by Bruce Mutard, and while it wasn’t a bad read and there wasn’t a lack of interesting points about art being perceived, the ending left me flummoxed. This left me thinking about endings of a novel and how it might make someone feel.

There are bad endings, there are good endings, there are so-so endings, there is your average ending, and there are endings that make no sense whatsoever. Out of all those endings, there will always be endings that leave a lasting impression, they overshadow the whole experience of the book and what you thought your opinion was of it.

Yes a story is more than it’s ending, middle, and beginning. It’s about the messages conveyed, the subjects addressed, what you take away from it, or whatever reason you read, watch, or play, but I know for me an ending is the culmination of all that the story has strived for.

The ending for me can change everything. It can change the way I feel about the story, it can change the way I feel about the characters, it can change the way I perceive the underlying message, it can literally make or break a novel for me.

This isn’t a phenomenon saved for books alone, I come across this in movies and games as well. If you experience something in one of those mediums that feels as if it is coming to something or has a profound message and then you come to the ending, which is for want of a better word, shit, then that affects the whole experience.

The ending leaves a lasting impression because it’s the last part to take away with you. The ending is the last chance the artist has to make an indelible impression, or to educate, or to open up your eyes to something different, and if it isn’t done in the right way it can have a negative lasting effect.

Endings make a difference to me. Novels such as I Am Legend, Brave New World, and 1984, regardless of what is in-between the covers, will stay with me because their endings were so thought provoking, inspiring, and moving. When I look back on novels like that I will always feel a certain love for them even when my memory of the endings begin to fade.

How do you feel about endings?


Author: Bonnie

Between a blogging addiction, hosting reading challenges, reviewing, writing novels, and overcoming a neuro-immune disease, Bonnie attempts to do as many awesome things as she can and has a good dose of daily bunny cuddles. She resides in Western Sydney with her rabbit, Winston.

2 thoughts on “A Word on Endings

  1. I agree, especially that “This isn’t a phenomenon saved for books alone, I come across this in movies and games as well.” I noticed that this especially tends to matter to me for movies. Maybe it’s just because I may watch slightly more movies than books.

    There are some “slice of life” books/movies, in which, if the experience itself is enlightening and enjoyable, I don’t always even expect a neat and tidy ending. I’m a fan of seeing/experiencing/living the details of an experience vicariously. So, many times, I haven’t really thought about this.

    I’ve only started watching more movies recently, but the last one I watched made me cry (a bit bizarrely, as none of the reviewers said that it made them cry) and I identified with or loved many of the characters in it. If a story can wrap me in it like that one can and it has some sort of discernible form to it, then my latest experience shows that a bad ending *can* leave one feeling very unsatisfied. There was so much emotional buildup in the movie that, in my opinion, the spare (but hinting) ending was on the masochistic side. Then again, I did see a hint of profound meaning coming through, but not enough, and I don’t think it was executed well. However, the movie still stuck with me and I ended up giving it a pretty good rating on Netflix. *shrug*

    So in stories that engage me, I would much prefer to have an ending that makes sense and isn’t ambiguous … though if the book is well written, I would not have regretted reading it at all. In fact, I might not even like it any less. Weird endings can ruin some weak books, but the strong books that engage us most likely have authors who have the endings just as in mind as they do the rest of the story — and if they feel the need to make them hazy, it’s likely they are doing so intentionally and in the reader’s interest.

    Sorry if this is a bit all over the place or poorly written; I’m up way too late after not sleeping enough the night before. Night night!

    • Hey Lorelei! I find that with some movies too, but I also find it has to be a certain type of movie and must bring out a particular emotional response to me or else it can make me feel pretty disappointed. Especially if the ending doesn’t tie in with the emotional setting that you’ve been experiencing up until that point. There’s one movie I watched a few weeks ago, The Guitar, about a woman who is diagnosed with cancer and a short time to live. That movie gave a sort of setting where an undefinable ending would have been alright, maybe even suited it because it had that artsy feel to it, but the ending was a joke and it’s such a shame because the story had some value to it. I won’t recommend it to anyone though now because of that ending.

      Do you think you gave it a good rating because you were so emotionally affected by it?

      I love weird endings and ones that aren’t always clear cut, but only if it suits the story. Lots of art house movies have that and I usually love those. The graphic novel that got me to type up this post actually made me think how I always tell people to read I Am Legend instead of watching the movie because of the ending. The ending of The Silence was very… I don’t even have words to describe it. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it just was a what the? type of ending.

      It’s not all over the place at all! I’m far more all over the place than you are. And it’s nowhere near poorly written either. Looks like sleep deprivation doesn’t play havoc with your communication skills, at least not this time! And anyway, if you were all over the place you’re welcome to be on my blog. I don’t mind, I’ll make sense of it! Thanks for stopping by Lorelei.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s