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This is the end, my only friend, the end

Here is my deeply scientific poll about endings in novels. I'm deliberately leaving out the choice It depends on the book, because that's a given, always, and besides, I suspect many of us pick novels because we're hoping for a specific kind of frisson at the wrap up.

Your answer doesn't have to mean you dislike all the other choices, just the one that stands out as the most appealing for you.

Poll #1516928 Sigh and close the book

Endings I prefer in my novels (generally-speaking)

I prefer happy endings
I prefer happy endings with a little sadness mixed in
I prefer small, sad endings
I prefer big, tragic endings
I prefer sad endings with a happily wrapped up romance subplot
I prefer happy endings with an unhappily wrapped up romantic subplot
I prefer stories with many POV characters, and a mix of sad and happy endings for them
I prefer pyrrhic victories
I know you said you were deliberately omitting the option"it depends" but I would rather thwart your attempt to gather useful information.



( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
I prefer endings...
...where the mighty-thewed hero, dripping greatsword in hand, strides to his goal through the red mist thrown up by the still twitching halves of the villain.
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
Re: I prefer endings...
So... happy with a little sadness for all those hard-to-get out blood stains, then?
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for voting for a real answer. :)

I'll admit that part of what I want from a genre is the sort of ending I most enjoy--for instance, I picked "pyrrhic victory" because so many noirish crime stories seem to come out that way, and I love it.

In contrast, I'm generally bored by love stories so I would never go for those.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - burger_eater - Jan. 26th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seawasp - Jan. 26th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Jan. 26th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
What about cliffhangers, twist endings, powerful gut-punch endings?
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
I have to admit to a failure of imagination here: I completely forgot about twist endings, tend to lump gut-punches with "pyrrhic/tragic" endings, and never in my wildest dreams thought that someone out there would prefer a cliffhanger ending.

That's what I get for leaving out "Something else I will describe in comments."
(no subject) - rosefox - Jan. 26th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Jan. 26th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rosefox - Jan. 26th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Jan. 27th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rosefox - Jan. 27th, 2010 05:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seawasp - Jan. 26th, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rosefox - Jan. 26th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Jan. 27th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
I like the endings where everyone laughs at how silly Scooby Doo is.
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
That show is too scary for me. Diving suit ghost under the water? Brrr!
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
I like satisfying endings. I like to feel that, even if the resolution seems sad on the surface, that the characters I care about will be okay. I like to think that they will find happiness, even if it isn't immediately visible on the page. I like to see all the story threads neatly tied, or at least with the ends pleasantly tucked out of view so the overall impression is finished and tidy.

I don't like ambiguous endings, generally, because they make me feel like the rest of the story was pointless. And I don't like tragic endings, because really? Life is hard enough sometimes, and I read for enjoyment.

(Um, maybe I should here admit that I'm the sort of reader who nearly always reads the ending first... :P)
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Endings first (interrobang) You might as well tell me you sleep on broken glass. I just don't understand it.

(no subject) - seawasp - Jan. 26th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bg_editor - Jan. 26th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burger_eater - Jan. 27th, 2010 12:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jan. 27th, 2010 04:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:57 pm (UTC)
I like happy endings. Not HANDWAVY happy endings where nothing was involved to get there, no effort endings, but ones where in the end the good guys won and the bad guys got what they deserved.

How far from this you can go and still keep my attention depends on exact circumstances and how good you are at the writing. There are some points beyond which you can't survive going; projecting HOPELESSNESS would be a generally lethal thing for getting me to read your books (this is why 1984 and Lord of the Flies split their bindings on impact).
Jan. 26th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Endings...
Yeah, I figured everyone had their own limits. I'm sure different people would slot the same books into different categories.

And I can't stand hopelessness either.
Jan. 26th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
For some reason, LJ was insisting it could not post the one comment, but lied and ended up posting it at least three times.
Jan. 26th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
No worries.
Jan. 26th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
I prefer an ending to fit the flavor of the book. If the book is dark and challenging, then I don't want it to have a happy, life is great ending.

Or if it's a fluff book, I don't want main characters to die at the end.

But some sort up hope for the future is preferred in all cases.
Jan. 26th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
Do you find yourself reading more fluff or more D&C?
(no subject) - geniusofevil - Jan. 26th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 27th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
happy endings for me. it doesn't mean though that poeple can't die throughout the book or no suspsense. but i like the main characters to be alive in the end or good to triumph or the aliens to find their long lost home planet. that sort of thing. ;)
Jan. 27th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)
Happy endings for most people, it seems.
Jan. 27th, 2010 08:56 am (UTC)
Then there's the ending where everybody dies, but it's a happy ending because by the time you finish reading, you hate them all.
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )

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