Wednesday, January 5, 2011

more on endgames

Thought I'd pick up on Townsend's comments on my last post--

Over drinks with my neighbors, I told the story of how I ran off with a group of jugglers when I was in college. The story is wild—and they wondered whether I’d ever written about it. I told them it was more memoir than story, and we got into a discussion on how these differ. – Ultimately we decided that it has to do with the ending. In Memoir, the end is predetermined by the truth: what actually happened. In Fiction, it is up to the author to invent an end.

An unsatisfying ending can cause you to hurl a book you’ve been reading across a room, disappointed and betrayed. So as a writer, how do you know if an ending is “right” for the story? In my real-life juggler story, I stayed with them one summer, came back to finish college and remain close friends with them to this day. That’s real, but in fiction, that’s pretty boring. Despite some extremely colorful characters, lush settings, and some really nutty events, the story would never work as a novel. I pose the question to you: how do you know if an ending is “right”?

1 comment:

Townsend said...

At the risk of making this a dialogue rather than a blogalogue, I think you answered the question in your first post: did you remember the ending the next day, or the day after.

And with the juggler story, why wouldn't you have used that talent to escape your capture by the Estonian secret police?