Working towards finishing up draft one of this new project, I’m caught by the fact that I haven’t decided on the ending. Very easily, I can give each character a fantastic end to a long journey, a place in their world that makes it all worth it, that makes their sufferings and losses culminate to finality in contentment.
But is that a good ending? I loved HUNGER GAMES because of the harsh edges Katniss‘ life left her with. I appreciated Tris‘ death because I believe ultimate sacrifice is necessary for the big changes. To give less cheapens the story and teaches a certain lackness in our real lives. It’s more real, more visceral for my heart to break than to simply smile, close the book, and move on. These stories left me numb, unable to put the book out of my head after the last page was turned. THAT is what makes something spectacular over great.
This was what was missing from Maas‘ THRONE OF GLASS series IMO. That everyone, especially as there were several characters to receive it, got their happy ending was cheap. Cassandra and Brannon reconciling was lame. Some things you can not take back, and the unsatisfied longing for something creates a more lasting impression than giving it.
But I feel public opinion sways more towards handing out this latter ending than the formers. While I don’t want my words swayed by popular opinion, I do want to make money from my work, which suggests leaning towards how the masses might more like something. This is pressure I’m unused to, and unsure how to handle. Pressure I try not to let leach into my brain, but find impossible to ignore one-hundred percent.
In this case, I’m sure I’ll end up writing both endings and leave it to my beta team to decide, or at least allow their opinions to weight my own.
What do you think? How much weight do the fans (or just a general public) get in manipulating the path of art? How do you deal with this in your own work, or how might you expect an artist to react?
Tell me your thoughts! Leave comments or email me directly. I’m so curious to hear how you handle this! 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org.