Many years ago, when I was a child, my mother and I watched a movie (or perhaps it was a short drama program) on television. The story was about a woman who loved a man from afar. She existed on the edges of his life, witnessing the important events of his life, but she was never introduced to him and never did she have a relationship with him, except for in her own mind. At the end of the show, she died, an old woman. In her last hours, the man read a letter she had written to him, but when he arrived at her home she had died. As the credits rolled, the screen showed “The Beginning” instead of the expected “The End.”
I have been thinking lately how things do indeed come to an end, whether we expect them to or not, and that endings are sometimes filled with dismay, but may also be filled with hope for the future or even dread of what may come next.
All of this is leading up to something, I promise.
When one reads a short story or a novel, the ending should be memorable. That’s not to say that we, as writers, must kill our characters or make them suffer at the end. The end, though, should resolve our characters’ dilemmas and problems. I love a happy ending, but I rarely write them, at least so far. My characters won’t have it! Not yet. It well may be that as I develop as a writer, these unruly persons will fall into line and agree to become happy at last. I can only hope. There. I have ended with an upbeat note!