Site of the writer Andrew Wood

An interesting article I just read on the Telegraph website. According to journalist Allan Massie: ‘Letting readers decide how a story finishes is an evasion of one’s artistic responsibility.’

Before I venture my own, in-depth opinion I would like to know what others think about said article and its views. The only thing I will say is that I do not think that it is an evasion of the author’s artistic responsibility.

Here it is:

Let me know your thoughts 🙂


Comments on: "Authors Should Have A Sense Of An Ending" (10)

  1. Ben Miller said:

    Interesting article. I think that as writers we do need to offer a definitive ending. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be ambigious or suggesting of possibliites that aren’t explicity stated in the words, but anything else and I think we’re offering readers a “choose your own adventure” story. For myself, I would like to think that if I was organically conflicted about ending a story that perhaps I’m not dont writing it yet.

    • I found it quite intriguing myself. I, personally, prefer to have my own endings. I remember those second person narrative stories that made you flick from page to page creating your own adventure, sometimes with your character coming to a sticky end!

      If readers want to create their own endings then why not have a story with an open ending where the reader is left thinking about what happened afterwards? It can be a bit boring just tying it all together and saying that it is all final

  2. This is an interesting topic, or perhaps debate. Personally, I think, when the reader chooses the ending it is like trying to tickle yourself. It doesn’t work. The element of surprise is important. The ending of anything, whether it be a poem, a story, or a symphony is extremely important, because it is the last notes of the perfume or stench that will always remain with the reader. There must be a lot of thought invested in the ending. The reader deserves to be rewarded for having read the book that far, to have a quality ending, whether it be tragic, happy or even unresolved, but the writer must be attentive to the reader at this point, because the reader has to part with the story, like the author parts with the reader at this point. [Just my humble opinion]

    • I agree Quirina. The ending is a vital part of the story. If the ending was a D.I.Y kind of thing then the entire story before it would be a bit meaningless (I say that in the point of view of the writer – I certainly would find all that hard work somewhat negated by someone else doing the ending for me).

  3. I have to agree with the article. As a writer you start with an idea and at the vesy least an ending. That ending doesn’t alway trun out the way you want it and you make the change for the story. But it is your story. Readers cna makes suggestion or they may tell you they didn’t like the ending– that’s fine and you learn more about your reader.

    Sometime as a writer the ending is so hard to decide– sometimes you are writing just to get to it. I have a manuscript 98% finished and I can’t decide what finally happens to the protagonist but it’s still my story and I will have to decide. That’s part of the hard fun of writing.

    Great post for getting feed back. I’ll be watching the comments!

    • Dannie I agree totally with your comments! I would definitely find it a great shame if I had no control over what my characters ended up doing. I prefer to write my own endings and tie up the loose ends that I myself have unravelled and weaved. I am a great fan of character development.

      However in my story I feel as though one of my protagonists have had a bit too much of a sharp turn in his reasoning for doing what he is doing at the moment. I have explained throughout the story that what is that is driving him is unknown even to him… all will be revealed kind of thing 😉

      Thanks for commenting my friend 🙂

  4. Diana Stevan said:

    Thanks for alerting me to the Telegraph article. I’m quite happy to go along with the author, who knows the characters best. Whether the reader likes the outcome or not is beside the point. One of my favorite short story writers, Alice Munro, leaves a lot unfinished for the reader to fill in the endings herself. I’m okay with that or something that ties together neatly. It’s all a matter of style. What I do object to though, is when a book is poorly written and when whatever was set out earlier has not been resolved by the end.

    • I agree Diana. Leaving a bunch of loose ends is an absolute fail in my books (unless it’s a series of books then that would be fine). The reader buys the book in order to see what the writer has to say!

  5. Emma Smith said:

    Whereby I can see the attraction and some people may enjoy choosing an ending, for me personally it just doesn’t sit right. Maybe I’m just old fashioned but I like to read a book and get to the conclusion. Whether I like that ending or not is a part of the process that I enjoy. If the author fails to resolve whatever has been set in the story or the book is poorly written I would probably choose not read any more of said author’s work. This has worked for centuries and I see no reason to change it.

    • A poorly written book is the line that comes to my mind too. Maybe this ‘get the reader to choose own ending’ is some sort of fashionable thing to do, or maybe not. Either way I am unaware of it ;-P All the hard work needs to pay off for the writer

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