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March 4, 2013 / ljbradburn-Smith

Imaginery Endings

What do you think of open-ended novels? Do you feel like stories should be wrapped up in a bow and presented as a fully completed present or do you like to be left to make up your own ending?

Having no concrete ending can be similar to the feeling you get when you wake up right in the middle of a vivid dream, you had so been enjoying. I used to be a bit annoyed, when this happened, as though someone had interrupted me in the middle of a crucial discovery regarding the meaning of life (or something equally as important). Then I decided that I could just make the ending up, whatever I wanted to happen could happen, especially as the dream was in my head in the first place. Who can argue?

Although with a novel we are presented with a plot/s, each reader still has the potential to derive something completely different from the same story depending on their knowledge, life experiences, sense of humour (the list could go on!). In short it is your own interpretations that make a novel what it is to you so what’s to say that we can’t be satisfied with making up our own endings too? When I read a good book I often feel like the characters are my friends and I quite like knowing that their stories were left with endless possibilities. Sometimes I imagine they are somewhere in the literatsphere, happily living out the rest of their lives, which makes my loss of them seem less sad somehow.

Don’t get me wrong some of my favourite books are wrapped up at the end and are meant to be stand alone stories, as the author intended, but sometimes I enjoy making up my own ending and end up thinking about the book more than I might usually and looking for clues for what the characters could have gone on to do. I find it interesting to talk to people about what they think might have happened and I can imagine it is satisfying as an author to hear people talking about your book and drawing their own conclusions. That way your novel can have thousands of different endings.

Being an author is all about appealing to people’s imaginations and you rely on readers investing in your book, your characters and their lives so maybe giving your readers a chance to own the ending by leaving things open-ended isn’t such a bad thing. It brings new meaning to the saying, “some things are best left to the imagination” 😉

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