I have a love/hate relationship with endings. I love them because often, they arrive with such a rush of emotion, its a fitting conclusion to whatever journey we have been. And I hate them because well, while to writers the words THE END are a sign of achievement, to the reader (or viewer in the case of movies) it’s a sign that we must let go.
When I begin writing a new story, I always begin with the end – one moment from which an entire story will be born. Why? Because as Semisonic sang in 1998 “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” I have always believed this. I have always believed that whatever happens to a character or in a story, can very well mean the beginning to something else, someone else, or even the introduction to somewhere else. A new character we will fall in love with, a new journey that will carry us on a ride of highs and lows, or even a new town whose people and places we will come to know as well as we know our own. I spend days, sometimes weeks perfecting the end and then once it’s done, start from the beginning at chapter one.
There are too many book endings I have loved over the years to even pick a few. I know it seems like a cop out, me being an aspiring writer and all. But picking one is just too hard.But I am always amazed at how other writers have come to write their endings. Do they do it as I do – start with it first? Or do they take time with it and relish in the moment? The ritual alongside the fact that its the anchor to a piece of work makes the ending of a novel a special moment.
But movie endings, now there is something to look at .
There are a few that are poetic and perfect in my eyes. Movies have visuals and music to underscore their endings, whereas in books we have imagination. Some would argue that perhaps the later is better. I don’t know, the combination of music with poignant acting gets me every time. Take for example the end of Joy Luck Club or the epic conclusion to Star Wars Episode 3 where we learn the entire reason Darth Vadar turned to the dark side was because of love.
I also love movie endings because I learn from them. I think about everything from the dialogue to the music – I think about if I were to write such an ending, what would I do differently?
Perhaps one of my favorite movie endings is Field of Dreams. This movie makes me cry every time. It has always held a special place in my heart for reasons that are mine and mine alone. But the ending, when Ray plays catch with his father – his deceased father who passed much earlier in his life – is a moment I can never shake. It’s not just incredible that Ray is having a once in a lifetime moment to spend with someone he lost, a moment every one of us has wished for at least once in our life, but a simple display of hope’s incredible healing power, and how the simple act of playing catch can reconnect us to all we thought we lost.
Another ending I was just introduced to was the series finale of Lost. I was never a fan of the series. I didn’t watch it because there was just too much hype and I didn’t want to be caught up in it all. But with the arrival of the second year anniversary of the series’ finale, I found myself curious about the program and after reading a few articles, I went out on a limb and even though it had been two yeas, watched the ending. I have to say, those four and a half minutes were more powerful than any TV series finale I have seen, and perhaps even movie ending. And while I never watched the show, wasn’t connected to the characters in any way, I was touched so profoundly that it was a beautiful example of what I think an ending should be – closure, with hope.
With my first novel Aberration now available I am nervous readers will have a love/hate relationship with its ending. But I also hope this is the case. I hope I can connect with even just one reader on such an emotional level. If I have done this, then I know I am doing something right and perhaps focusing on the end is a great way to create new beginnings.