Pages

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ending it right-Kandy Shepherd


A guaranteed happy ending is one of the things I love about romance novels. No matter what misunderstandings or differences keep the hero and heroine rent asunder, we know they will end the book happily-ever-after in each other’s arms. We can sigh happily, maybe even wipe away a tear or two, and know that all is all right for that fictional couple. We might even wallow in an epilogue showing they are still happy a year or so in the future.

As writers, we concentrate on getting the opening lines of a novel just so—but we also work hard on making sure we write a satisfying ending. In a non-romance book this might mean a thought-provoking ending or even a cliff-hanger rather than a HEA.

To get that ending right is so important. Don't you hate it when a TV network sees a blip in the ratings or gets a budget cut and ends a series before they should? I remember how ann
oyed I was at the rushed, unsatisfactory ending to one of my favorite television series, Gilmore Girls. We got to know and love single mom Lorelai and her daughter Rory, their friends, family and lovers. The way things ended with both Rory and Logan and Lorelai and Luke were anti-climactic after all we’d invested as viewers in their relationships. We felt cheated.

Same with one of my favorite television series, the
British psychological thriller Wire in the Blood that centers around profiler Tony Hill. Not only did they write out the lead female role of Carol Jordan with just a sentence of implausible explanation but they abruptly ended the sixth series without any satisfactory resolution. Thank heaven the brilliant novels of Val McDermid (upon which the TV series was based) continue!

On-line fans were furious at the odd and abrupt ending of another of my favorites, the US version of Life on Mars (starring the gorgeous Jason O’Mara). The UK version finished off the original series in a far more satisfactory manner. (BTW it was a beautiful romance between time traveler Sam and 1970s cop Annie.)

Any books/movies/TV shows where you loved the ending or would have liked to end differently? Please leave a comment for a chance to win a signed trade paperback copy of my novel HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS. Include your email address if you want to be in the draw.

41 comments:

pageturner said...

Mr Darcy shouldn't have gone off with that hussy Elizabeth - he should have waited for MEEEEE!!

pageturner345@gmail.com

Kandy Shepherd said...

Now that's a great idea for a new happy-ever-after ending, pageturner!

host said...

It is not only the unsatisfying ending that bothers me but also unnatural prolonging of series. Like for example in case of Grey’s Anatomy or Desperate Housewives. I stopped watching those series long time ago.

franalokas (at) yahoo (dot) com

Kylie Griffin said...

Ending a TV series without tying up story arcs annoys the je-heebers out of me.

This happened with one of my most favorite sci-fi TV series, FIREFLY. But this story has a happy ending. The producer of the TV series, Joss Whedon, was able to make SERENITY, a movie, and in it he was able to finish up the stories left hanging at the end of the last season. :-)

kyliegriffin(at)clearmail(dot)com(dot)au

Michele L. said...

I love happy endings. When I read a book that has a terrible ending, I blacklist that author. I think that is the most annoying thing, is to spend time reading a book and to have it end badly. Now, when books are in a series, that's different.

I have your book Kandy and absolutely loved it! So don't enter me in the draw. Whoever wins your book, is going to love it!

traveler said...

When things end poorly or I am left hanging at the end of a book or show I am so disappointed and let down. Why not tie it up nicely.

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, you're right. I remember someone wise who said the first line of your book sells that book. The last line of your book sells your NEXT book. Clever, huh?

Laughed at Pageturners answer! No, pick me, pick me!

Kandy, I so agree about Wire in the Blood. I loved that slow burn of sexual tension and then suddenly...where was Carol? I gave up watching at that stage. Felt completely taken for granted as a viewer. But as Host said, there's also the problem of prolonging the series beyond what's natural. I hate it when suddenly an old boyfriend turns up out of the blue just to stretch the sexual tension beyond its natural extent. Again, feel completely taken for granted as a viewer when that happens.

runner10 said...

Several of the Nicholas Sparks books should have a different ending. He doesn't always do the happily ever after.

csdsksds[at]gmail[dot]com

Annie West said...

Hi Kandy,
You're so right about the need for a satisfying ending. Sometimes they just come out of the blue and just don't seem right with the expectations that have been built in the reader. I enjoyed the film 'You've Got Mail' until the end when she lost her bookshop to the big conglomerate - something she'd fought for all through the film - but we were meant to think it was OK because really she secretly wanted to write children's books - which was totally unconvincing as it hadn't been seeded through the story. It seemed like she was settling for second best.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Kandy,

I'm with on the Gilmore Girls, I was on to it right from the beginning but then after investing, years? the ending was, whats happening?

I'd so love to read your HHOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS.

nas_dean@ymail.com

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Kandy!

Oh, it's so cruel when a TV series is pulled before viewers get to see a resolution.

I liked the way 'Alias' ended--there were happily-ever-afters for some characters and not-so-HEA for the more dastardly characters. I loved the first season of 'Lost' but lost (!) interest in subsequent seasons. Apparently the final season is meant to explain all the mysteries of the island, but sadly I haven't got round to watching it yet.

Kandy Shepherd said...

So true, Host. I used to really anticipate a new episode of Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives but don't bother switching on either any more.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Kylie, nice to see you here! I didn't realize that about Firefly and Serenity. How satisfying!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Michele L- thanks so much for your kind words about HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
I had fun writing the last pages of that story and giving Serena and Nick the happy ending they deserved...
(That's not a spoiler, the book is a romance, they have to end up together!)

Kandy Shepherd said...

So true, traveler, when you have invested time in reading a book or watching a show, you want it to have been worthwhile in the end. I feel cheated and sometimes even angry!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Anna, you have summed it up perfectly.
We definitely do not like being "completely taken for granted as a viewer"!!
I know what you mean about the slow-building sexual tension between Tony Hill and Carol Jordan in Wire in the Blood. My teen daughter watched those episodes with me and I know if she is urging the characters to "kiss, kiss, kiss" that tension really is happening!
The Val McDermid Tony Hill books have that relationship with Carol continuing to build and it is one of the reasons I love her books (as well as the amazing serial killer plots!)

Cathleen Ross said...

Pageturner - I loved your answer. You gave me a good laugh here downunder. I love a happily-ever-after but I always think the I enjoyed the ending of Gone with the Wind. Scarlett deserved what she got, and like Anna C said, that last sentence would have me buying a sequel.
Best
Cathleen Ross

petite said...

Thanks for this post which resounds with me. Why do things weaken at the end of the book or program. Give us something to dream on and live with instead of a feeling of being lost. Too many ruin my experience.

Sharon Archer said...

Kandy, I couldn't agree more about that cheated feeling from unsatisfactory endings!

I see Kylie mentioned about Firefly - that was SUCH a fabulous show! I can't understand these ratings systems - they don't seem to be prepared to give shows a fair chance before they take to them with the axe. And yet other shows which are frankly woeful, go on looooong after their use-by date! Anyway it was fantastic that the movie Serenity got made to round things off for us fans!

There is a book which I adored but, I have to confess, the ending didn't work for me at all! It's called Year of Wonders and it's a beautifully written story set in a village during The Plague in England. I won't put in a spoiler here but I will say when I read the last few pages, I had to scratch my head!

:)
Sharon

ev said...

There are so many tv shows that they have done that to, that I tend to just record them for a bit and if they stay on I will watch them.

I still watch Gray's (it really has gotten better) but gave up on Housewives and Private Practice among others.

Every season I worry that it will be the last for Chuck. Which drives me crazy!

bookwyrm217@gmail.com

jenn j mcleod said...

Can't believe no one has mentioned Message in a Bottle. I LOOOOOOOVE that movie but I turn it off before the end each time and make up my own HEA.
jennjmcleod@live.com.au

Pat Cochran said...

For me it was Moonlight with Alex
O'Loughlin and Life with Damian
Lewis. Oh, (sob), I can't even talk
about it!

Pat Cochran

CC Coburn said...

Pageturner you're a hoot! :-)

I'm all for the HEA Kandy, it's why I read romance, and a nicely rounded, well motivated one is so satisfying.
I absolutely agree with you about You've Got Mail, Annie, it was such a cop out!
Luaghed about you scratching your head about a book on the Plague, Sharon, reminded me of when people mention head-lice. Who can't stop scratching their head when they hear that?

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi runner 10, I haven't read all of Nicholas Sparks' books but the ones I have read are need-a-box-of-tissues reads and strangely satisfying because of all the sobbing! I enjoyed The Notebook, both book and movie, and thought it had a satisfying ending even though it was heart-wrenchingly sad...

Kandy Shepherd said...

OMG, Annie, I so agree with you about Your've Got Mail. That was the worst ending---wrong, wrong, wrong! I've never wanted to see that movie again just because of the ending.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Nas, the ending of Gilmore Girls really was disappointing wasn't it? It was like "we have to end the series so we'll give it a quick, cheap ending". Better than no ending at all, I suppose, but only marginally!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Vanessa, I really liked Alias (love Jennifer Garner) and never got to see the final series. It's one of those I must get all the series on DVD and watch over some rainy holiday.
Talking of Jennifer Garner, I loved the ending of Suddenly 30 (AKA 13 Going On 30)--it was perfect in every way. (With delicious Mark Ruffalo as hero.)

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Cathleen, yes the ending of Gone With the Wind really has to be mentioned! A classic ending that leaves the reader/viewer to to make up their own mind as to whether Rhett and Scarlett ever get together again.

Kandy Shepherd said...

I'm with you completely Petite--that unsatisfactory ending can really leave you feeling annoyed and unsettled!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Sharon, I... er... I actually liked the ending of Year of Wonders!
I have to admit, though, that I have had to defend my opinion with practically every other person I know who has read it! (They're with you...)
It seemed improbable, yes, but I liked it that she escaped into what seemed like an incredibly civilized and sophisticated world compared to what she came from. (And I'm not saying another word as anything more would be a spoiler to what really is quite a shock of an ending!)

Kandy Shepherd said...

You know, Ev, just lately I have been tempted to return to Grey's Anatomy--after reading your comment I might just give it a go again!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Jenn, I have never seen Message in a Bottle, mainly because so many of my friends told me I would hate the ending!
I can only guess what happens as it so often is the ending of a Nicholas Sparks story... For some, it works, but sounds like Message in a Bottle is one of those that maybe the hero/heroine should have been allowed to live!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Pat, I believe that Moonlight was a victim of that writer's strike and such a shame!
It's like losing a friend when you lose a show prematurely and even though fans protest and sometimes win a stay of execution(such as another favorite Veronica Mars) most of us just feel powerless, annoyed and--as Anna puts it--feeling "completely taken for granted as a viewer".
That said, at least Alex O'Loughlin hasn't disappeared from our screens--he's cute in the Hawaii Five O remake. (Not vampirish cute though, I know!)

Kandy Shepherd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi CC, lovely to see you here!
Not quite sure what you mean about the head scratching but sure agree with you about the built-in satisfaction of a well-written romance!
(Ah, just read your post again and I get the head scratching remark!)

desere_steenberg said...

Hello Kandy

Great post , I don't really watch that many tv shows or movies I love reading way too much, so mainly my nose is always inside a book. There are a few books that I have read where I would have liked a epiloge added to it , but I tend to respect the authors decision not to add it to the book as it is after all their work and they do what they feel comfortable with.

And it also give me the chance to use my imagination and create my own epiloge, I just love getting lost in a whole new world conjured up by books !

All the best ,thanks for the great opportunity to win one of your books

Desere

Nas Dean said...

Hello again Kandy,

Have you tried Nicholas Sparks "A Walk to Remember" the book and the movie...need tissues for both.

Mary said...

The one show that ended and I loved the show but was so pissed at the ending was Beaty and the Beast. Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman were on that show and the ending was just awful! I would have loved a diffferent ending. Or...or...since all these differnt shows are coming back...bring it back and show what happened to Vincent and his son.

miztik_rose@yahoo.com

desere_steenberg said...

silly me I forgot my email address I hope I am not too late desere_steenberg@yahoo.com

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments--such fun to read!
Kandy

Kandy Shepherd said...

The winner of the signed copy of HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS is pageturner. Congratulations!