Tuesday, June 26, 2018

TMST: Worst Type of Ending

This week's Tell Me Something Tuesday question from Rainy Day Ramblings is "What is worse: cliffhanger, abrupt ending or open ending?"

This is a fun one that I can answer without too much difficulty. I can't stand abrupt endings! Protagonist wakes and it was all a dream? The end.
Big explosion ends the world. The end.
Main character dies and three seconds of mourning. The end.
I absolutely can't stand it, because it feels like a cop out. It feels like an excuse to not have to go into greater character development or to think through all the loose ends that need to be tied up. The only exception I have had to this so far has been the book The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, because it actually felt like things were being tied up properly and that this ending was the only way to make things work. I have never felt even similarly with other abrupt endings.

In general, open endings don't bother me too much. I can occasionally find them frustrating, but I usually come to my own conclusion that makes it satisfying. I also don't always feel like I need a fully tied together ending if it is done well. Unfortunately this doesn't always happen, but I can find them quite satisfying when done by the right author.

Cliffhangers kill me, but they're supposed to, and that's sort of what makes them great.

How do you feel about these different types of endings? Do you need to come up with your own conclusion for open endings, or are you happy to just let it be?


  1. Quote: "Main character dies and three seconds of mourning. The end."
    LOL. I'm like you - abrupt endings are a no-no (though now I'm curious about the book you mentioned). Cliffhangers I can tolerate, though they're a poor gimmick. Open endings - or at least, non-spelled-out endings - I usually love. Then again, I mostly read books set in the afterlife/with dead leads, or sci-fi, or supernatural novels...so I suppose open endings work better there. I guess they wouldn't if I read romance LOL.

    1. I think it really depends on the style of book, for sure!

  2. I totally agree! Abrupt endings feel lazy and I love to see all the loose ends tied up in order to give the whole thing a satisfying feel.

    1. I am fine with a bit of an open ending or ambiguity as long as a good chunk of things feel tied up, or there is a sequel coming.