Monday, July 02, 2007

Is it Monday already?

Man, where did that weekend go?

I fully intend to continue my "Choosing a publisher" series, but I'm not continuing it today (as I said, I'll probably do it on Friday and it will likely run all summer). I'm not sure why, since I have no other topics prepared (note to self: when compiling blog ideas in a file, don't drunkenly jot down something and assume I'll remember) but those posts are long and complex to write and as I'm just about to finish a novella I'm working on I don't want to lose the flow. So we'll be quick today. Sort of.

Everyone is gearing up for the big RWA conference next week, and I'm gearing up for my first EC novel release next week (Wednesday), so it seems we're in a bit of a lull. Nobody's writing, nobody's submitting, nobody's leaping on submissions (I assume) because soon it will be time to fly off to the conference.

I've never been to a writing conference of any kind, except for that panel where I acted like a big dork at DragonCon. But that's not really a writing conference. It was fun, though.

So far in our Summer Movie Education program we've shown the sd: Jaws, Speed, Rear Window, Shaun of the Dead, Enter the Dragon, Rocky Balboa, and The Thing. (Tonight we plan a double bill: Face/Off and Hot Fuzz.)

I love The Thing. But I hate the ending. It's my big problem with John Carpenter films. he loves those ambiguous endings.

The hubs likes them too. I hate them. I wonder if it's a gender thing? Because I've never known a man who didn't think the ambiguous ending was somehow cooler than an ending that, you know, actually ends and resolves the story. And I've never known a woman who wasn't irritated by them. At least none that I've talked to about it, because watch, I'll say that and every lady I know will comment how much they love ambiguous endings and I'll feel like a big dumb dummy.

The exception to this, of course, is Gone With the Wind. Because it's Gone With the Wind, so it can have whatever ending it wants.

Books going into series often leave us with unanswered questions, but we know there will be a resolution at some point.

What do you think? Which questions are okay to leave open, and which ones need to be closed? How do you feel about ending a book or movie and not really feeling like you got a resolution?

And was MacCready a Thing?


Robyn said...

It's like Field of Dreams. Every man I know went into headnodding, oh yes I get it raptures over that flick.

I got it, but didn't really care.

And MacCready was totally a Thing.

kis said...

I don't know if McCready was a thing, and it drives batty when I think about it. I also don't know if the boys got in touch with their buddy on the bridge in time, in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, before he could pitch the antique guns in the drink. And that ending still burns.

And yet, a sick, perverted part of me relishes not knowing. We'll call that part my "androgen pool." It is the part of me that is male (or male-like) and thinks anything unexpected is somehow "cool."

Maybe this bizarre character trait is part of the human male's general reluctance to commit. You can see it in all those director's versions of Apocalypse Now. FFS, just call it done, already!

Anonymous said...

I hope it's not a gender thing because I've got to have me some resolution. I hate those (what I call) fake endings.

Caution: Possible spoiler for 1408!

That's the one thing that pissed me off about 1408, although I kind of new it was coming in typical King fashion. Just like I knew there would be a point in the movie where I would be saying, "OK, let's get on with it, already."


P.S. Loved Hot Fuzz!

pacatrue said...

Depends on how the ending is done. Yeah, I like endings which resolve the main storylines, but leave a teaser that maybe there is more story to come.

Bernita said...

I despise unresolved endings.

Vicki said...

I need endings to resolve otherwise I'm wanting to sit down and write them myself for myself.

Since there is no time for that I then feel like I've wasted time.

Now if it's a book that continues I'm cool with that except I waiting for the next release. :)

Rebecca said...

um....Nightswimming has a bit of an ambiguous ending (I actually had one reader - my one and only 'fan' mail so far - email and ask me what happened - lol) which I think might frustrate some people - but as a reader or movie watcher I guess I don't mind if the ending is a little ambiguous, as long as it 'fits' with the story.

I have read books where I thought the ending was 'rushed' - as if the writer just got sick of the whole thing and couldn't be bothered finishing - now THAT annoys me.

Anonymous said...

"End" doesn't have to mean a resolution, but it should be an actual end. Yanno, no cliff hangers in the middle of a scene if there's not going to be another episode next week at the same bat-time on the same bat-channel. TV shows can pull that off because of the frequency that they air.

Really, I did not like Pirates 2: Dead Man's Chest because it felt like they were meandering just so they could end it on a cliffhanger.

In contrast the Matrix 2 ended on a du-du-duuuuu, but the scene was over AND the third movie came out a month later, not years.

As to what is resolved that depends on the genre. A crime novel should have the initial crime solved (though characters can hover in comas and the trial can loom. But the bad guy has to be identified.) A romance novel should have the characters decide, at the very least, if they want to give it a go for a while. No promised of loving forever, but no "Do I want to be with him" either.

Obviously some loose ends are allowed in trilogies or series. Some story arcs have to be reoccurring. What happens to the characters is why I pick up books, even after a formula is obvious.

McKoala said...

For me there's a difference between an unresolved ending (annoying) and an open ending (cool). I think of an open ending as one where the immediate story is tied up, but you can see that these people have a future, and there may be one small thing still simmering that you just know is going to come to the boil soon. And that's OK. I don't even need another book about it. For me it's a way of showing that these people have lives beyond the book/movie - that they are as real as possible.

Anonymous said...

I always just figure it's a cheap way of setting things up for a sequel.

Angie said...

I think the main plot should be resolved at the very least. I don't mind a few dangling threads if they're not terribly important, but The Big Conflict should be resolved (or not resolved in a way which makes it pretty clear that that's the point the writer was shooting for, in which case there should still be feeling that the story has wrapped) and major contributing threads should be tied up. Leaving major questions dangling just annoys me; it comes across as either sloppy or pretentious, and both are irritating.


December/Stacia said...

Yep, Robyn, I think Field of Dreams is definitely a Man Flick. I'm the same; I liked it, but it never made me cry the way it did to every man I've ever met.

I know if MacCready was a Thing, kis, because we have the uber-edition of the movie which originally had a postscript-y more complete ending. I can tell you if you want.
You know why Lock Stock ended that way? Because it's illegal to show Crime Paying in a British film. That's what the hubs says anyway. It's why The Italian Job ends on a (literal) cliffhanger as well, and why Saving Grace--the one where Brenda Blethyn grows pot in her greenhouse--ends with all the pot burning up before they can sell it.

December/Stacia said...

They are fake endings, aren't they V95? I hate the idea that there's more to the story but I'm not cool enough to know what it is.
I totally want to see 1408! Was it good otherwise? Yep, love Hot Fuzz.

Teaser is one thing, Paca, but to just blatantly NOT FINISH THE STORY drives me nuts! (Hey, did you get that recipe I sent?)

Yep, me too Bernita! An ending should end it, not make us think someone's being sneaky.

December/Stacia said...

Exactly, Vicki, it does feel like a waste of time, doesn't it? It's why I pretty much always finish a book no matter how much it bores me or I dislike it, because I've put in the time and I want to know how it ends!

A little ambiguity is okay, Rebecca--my favorite novel ever has sort of an ambiguous ending--but I agree, sometimes it feels like the author or director just went, "Eh, that's enough. They'll think it's cool!"

Right, Michele. In a series there can and should be some unanswered questions, but there should be enough resolution that the reader doesn't feel cheated. You know I never saw the third Matrix movie? Because I hated the second one and heard the third was just a pile of blah.
But yeah, there is a difference with a series or trilogy. I still like the big questions answered, though. Every book should stand alone, blah blah blah. Unless you're Tolkein. :-)

December/Stacia said...

Right, McKoala, that's it exactly. An indication that life goes on is good, but a story that's over before it ends is bad.

Lol Seeley! I agree!

Just right, Angie! You worded it much better than I did! Thanks!

BernardL said...

I'm not much for unresolved endings either. 'The Thing' was a step too unresolved, but understandable.

I'm sorry, but Field of Dreams didn't do it for me. I have imagination, but
I had an easier time swallowing the premise of 'The Thing' than I did 'Dreams'.

Finish your novella. Business is business. :)

Anonymous said...

1408 is definitely worth seeing in my opinion. -V95

Demon Hunter said...

Just for the record, R.J. MacReady was absolutely NOT the thing!! :*) It all depends on the story. I loved THE THING. Sometimes I want the story resolved, and sometimes it's better when it's not. Just depends on the story and the writing for me! :*)

December/Stacia said...

Wow, Bernard! A man who doesn't love Field of Dreams! Even my non-baseball-loving husband likes that movie!

Cool, V95, I definitely want to see it then.

Nope, Demon Hunter, he wasn't! Did you see the extra scene too, or do you just know?

Anna J. Evans said...

I'm evidently a man because I like endings that leave something to the imagination. I actually get in trouble over that with reviewers. I guess, as an erotic romance writer, I feel the relationship is the main thing that needs to be resolved. If it's clear the m/f are together and happy, I don't see the need to continue the story to the point where we see if they win the war. At least not in a quickie. Of course...maybe in another book.

Hugs, never seen the Thing,


catherine said...

Me! Me! I'm an ambiguous ending lover! *Jumps up and down excitedly* I'm not sure why...maybe because life is nothing more than one long, open-ended story. :)

littlebirdblue said...

Yep, mckoala has it right;

For me there's a difference between an unresolved ending (annoying) and an open ending (cool).

But I think my short stories often have open endings. I don't think of them as unresolved, but I could see how they might be interpreted that way.


writtenwyrdd said...

I like some unresolved endings. The ones that imply things but don't spell it out are often okay. But not always. I do hate it when there's a cliffhangar ending. I can't stand illogical endings even worse. Happily Ever After for no effort? Bleh.

Vicki said...

Girl you seriously ROCK!!! Your word count for today is amazing. I'm so excited for you!!

I responded to your comment on my blog but I had to come here and tell you too. You deserved at least 2 WOW's!!!

December/Stacia said...

Anna, you need to go see The Thing. It's awesome. See it before they do that stupid remake they're planning.
I don't think every question needs to be resolved, but the big ones do. I don't think the war needs to end either. :-)

That's such a healthy way to look at things, Catherine! I'm seriously jealous. :-)

There's a difference between a short story and annovel, though, LBB, I think. I don't mind things unresolved as much in a short (although I still prefer an ending.)

December/Stacia said...

Right, Writtenwyrdd. Cliffhanger endings BOTHER me. Unless it's The Two Towers, because you know more is coming so it's cool.

Thanks Vicki! Today I need to go even harder! Wind me up, baby, and let me go.