Pick an ending. Any ending. Yesterday, I was finishing a lovely short story that I was really into. Couldn’t wait to find out what happened. And then as I got to the final page, then the final paragraph, and then the final sentence:
And when I say, WHAM, I mean nothing happened.
I was left hanging. The knife was in the guy’s hand. Whom would he kill? Him? Her? Himself? No one? Guess what? We’ll never know…
As I wrote yesterday on Facebook, unresolved endings drive me nuts. It’s like making your favorite sandwich and then throwing it into the garbage.
I know there are those of you out there who like those open-ended novels and short stories, where the reader is allowed to use his or her imagination to fill in the blanks of what happens next. But for me writing is all about making choices. All along, authors have taken great pains to create characters who are authentic and compelling, plots that are intricate and plausible. Why on earth would they want to throw their hands up in the air at the end and say, “Okay, you decide, dear reader, what to make of all this. I’m done.”
I just don’t get it. As I wrote yesterday, I don’t need things to be all wrapped up in neat little bows. I’d settle for some aluminum foil with big gaping holes. Go ahead and end with a little teaser that sets up the sequel. No problem. Just give me something. Call me boring, but I need to know if it’s the lady or the tiger, a little bit of closure so I can feel satisfied. Like I just ate my favorite sandwich.
How about you? Do you mind — or even like — open-ended fiction?