Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, June 16, 2007

That’s What They Call Closure

By Sariah S. Wilson

I’ve never seen an episode of “The Sopranos.” But as I am a pop culture junkie, I do know what the show’s about – that it centers around the head of a Mafia crime family, and that he’s in therapy and that it’s a fairly violent show.

What I also know is that the show recently came to an end, and that it ended by cutting to black mid-scene. Many viewers thought their Tivos had gone out or that the power had been cut. The show’s writer/creator has publicly stated that he refuses to do any interviews about what the scene cutout means, thus leaving viewers to draw their own conclusions.

So while theories abound on what it means (with the most popular being that the main character was whacked and that’s why everything suddenly went to black), the sense I get is that many viewers feel dissatisfied and upset about that sort of ending.

Dramatic structure dictates that a story has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. While there are those writers who experiment with shaking the form up, the reality is that a typical reader expects at least that very basic formula. If you read a murder mystery, you expect the protagonist to have solved the crime by the end of the book. And if you read a romance, you expect a happily ever after (which I have decided is probably my primary reason for writing in this genre—the knowledge that no matter what, everything will work out in the end).

Authors can take whatever paths they want to, but in the end they have to reach a conclusion or risk alienating an audience.

Has a movie or book’s ending every left you feeling dissatisfied?


At 6/17/2007 11:30 PM, Anonymous Jennie said...

Frequently. I always enjoyed Louis L'amore, but it always seemed to me that he never finished a story--he just got tired of writing and quit. There are a lot of writers who leave a door open for a sequel and that's okay, so long as they finish the current book. I too, think a book should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

At 6/19/2007 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, frequently. I want my happy endings...stupid Pirates! I am so worried J.K. Rowling will do something stupid with Harry Potter and then I won't like it anymore. If she kills him off so help me... I'll spit!



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