Since “Day 1” I have known broadly how Conventions would end. Back on Friday, I summoned up the courage and wrote it in detail – the final chapter. While writing one always also surprises oneself, too: as I worked on it I realized I could toss in an unexpected (and in my humble opinion, great) last twist.
After the dust had settled, re-reading it in its entirety, I found the chapter to be – accidentally – a combination of happy and sad (and poignant). That’s striking a bit of “lucky” balance. I’d “signed off” for the weekend well-pleased with what I’d managed.
Don’t think writers don’t notice what’s said generally on “social media.” I see how some readers voice quite strongly how they hate “sad” endings. I also notice how others consider “happy” endings contrived and even childish – because “real-life” ain’t like that, they declare.
And both groups have good points. Life is almost never entirely one thing or the other. We live a daily muddle most of the time.
In that context, too, we have to remember life never really “ends” in the definitive manner a novel must have a last page, a final line; life usually sort of…. drifts. (Leaving aside the issue here of our own personal mortality: it’s a Monday, after all.) Yet a novel’s ending is also similar to actual life in this sense: when a book ends for a reader, that’s it for those characters, leaving the reader to ponder what else happens to them.
I think of that as readers having been dropped into those characters’ lives at some point and then, after traveling along with them for a time, abruptly saying “goodbye.” In that, real life is often much the same. We bump into someone and make a friend, but then, at some unexpected time, perhaps that same person simply disappears from our life.
Is that a “sad” ending for this blog post? Uh, sorry about that. Try to have a good day regardless. 🙂