1. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    some examples please?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tesoro, Sep 24, 2011.

    According to a book I read about writing there were 4 (or 5) kinds of endings:
    happy ending
    unhappy ending
    Classic tragedy (gains objective but loses something more valuable)
    bittersweet/ambigous ending
    (plus maybe Hero sacrifices objective for a bigger purpose)

    What I got stuck on is the ambigous/bittersweet ending - can someone please give an example of how a novel like that could end, because it just doesn't appear to me. I can't even say if i have read a novel like that (probably have but don't remember).
     
  2. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Many high fantasy series have endings like that -- the middle books anyways. I am not sure if you are wanting just examples of one off novels or not.

    What comes to mind first for me is The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (may he RIP). A lot of those books end on cliff hangers like that.
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haven't read it and don't read fantasy. Could you give example (real or made up) of how they end? Are bittersweet and ambigous two different things that fall under the same category or do they mean the same thing?
     
  4. Croga
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    Croga Member

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    Inception if you seen it.
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess it would be things where not everything was explained or people just didn't get what they wanted. Probably a mystery/real life sort of thing, one where the mystery isn't really solved but enough of the other plotlines are wrapped up that the author can have an ending with a wise figure clapping his arm over the shoulder of the dumb protagonist and looking up at the sky saying, "Maybe we'll never know... The world works in mysterious ways. But hey! Some of us are still alive!" while real life things would be those annoying novels about boring ordinary people living boring ordinary lives and the author tries so hard to make it realistic it just ends at a moment when for every one good thing that happens something else bad has, like, hey, I got to go to the prom in the dress I wanted but now I have a crippling eating disorder and the guy who wanted to go with me thinks I'm a sell-out and he liked me when I was fat..." or something. Endings that fizzle out disappointingly in my opinion. :p

    Also. Your book needs to go into happy endings more. That's an awfully grim list. :p
     
  6. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    As far as high fantasy cliff hangers, they are mostly (in my experience) things like this:

    - The main characters "defeat" something/someone but one of the main characters dies or gets captured etc. So it is a bittersweet ending.

    Or

    - The main characters go through the main story arc for that particular entry and they think they "won" and you are lead to believe they "won" but yet it has a couple sentences at the end that contradict this theory. So it ends ambiguously. You are left to ponder until the next installment. And in some cases it is bittersweet at the same time, for the same reason above.

    I am not saying this happens in the Wheel of Time, It is just a generalization of many high fantasy series I have read. Of course, they do not all end this way. But I have noticed it more than once.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks guys for explaining. I really coulnd't figure out what it would be like, call it brain collaps or something ;) I realize I have seen one movie at least ending in what I suppose must be a bittersweet way: Armageddon! :) They won something and lost something else. But I guess it also falls under the category "Hero sacrifices objective for bigger purpose"...
     
  8. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    Not novels I know, but if you like films then Wes Anderson has great examples of bittersweet moments and endings. Rushmore, Darjeeling Limited and Royal Tenenbaums are all wonderfully bittersweet. Bittersweet, to me, is just as it sounds; I want to smile and shed a tear at the same time- a silly, basic example is Beethoven, where Beethoven dies but his offspring live on. *edited to add* After a bit of googling I'm not sure I've remembered Beethoven correctly, but if that is how it ended, then it would be bittersweet :p

    . Ambiguous is as someone says above, like Inception where you could interpret the ending in different ways.

    I clearly need to read more, so I don't need to give examples from films all the time!
     
  9. AllThingsMagical
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    AllThingsMagical Member

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    I would say 'The Time Traveler's Wife', and 'The Amber Spyglass' could be considered to have bittersweet endings. Film wise I would agree with Inception as ambiguous and also add X-men Last Stand.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Lord of the Rings. Sauron's rule is ended, and there is peace in all the land. But it is the twilight of the Elder Ones. The elves are departing Middle Earth forever, and all their wonders are fading.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'm not sure that these endings are quite so clear cut as the book you read suggests. However for ambiguous I'd probably suggest Gone with the Wind. Her love leaves her, and all her plans have come to nought, and yet it ends with the line - "Ahh well, tomorrow's another day."

    As for sad / unhappy / bittersweet, I'd suggest Charles Logan's Shipwrecked. In the end the hero dies after struggling throughout the entire book to survive on an alien world. The last line in fact is "And there, on that rock, by the edge of the sea, he died." (Or similar - its a very long time since I read it.) So its absolutely sad and unhappy, but also there is a touch of sweetness as he dies surrounded by alien dolphins or some such who he regards as friends there to see him off.

    Cheers.
     

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