Wednesday, October 19, 2011

After Happily Ever After

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, they met and fell in love, and went off in search of great adventure and journeys of epic proportions, bested the beast, slayed the dragon, received her parents approval....

...and lived happily ever after.

But then what?

What happened after all that?

Did they have kids? Grandchildren? Did the evil stepsister come back to exact her revenge? Did his best friend ever become a rock star and buy the jet pack?

Yes, even though I'm short of breath following all the excitement that makes the story what it is... I still want to know.

A part of it may be that I grow so strongly attached to the characters. They become my friends... I care about them, I care about their lives. I want to see them twenty years later... see for myself that not only are they doing well, but that they've succeeded.

Different from a sequel, or a series (although we WILL get into that another day), it's the after that you continue to ponder even when you've been rest assured that everything turned out okay.

Life doesn't just stop at happily ever after, does it?

I do understand the other side of the coin though--sometimes endings are best left exactly where they are. Trying to return to something twenty years later and re-create the same mood often fails. It's always better to end on a high note.

But gosh darn it, I still want to know.

I guess this is why I write... so I can make up my own "after happily ever afters" ;)

Are you guys okay with the happy/satisfying endings you're given? Do you ever wonder what happens to your favorite characters after? Am I the only crazy one who cares to know?

17 comments:

J. A. Bennett said...

I would love a "next generation" potter book. But alas, that will never happen :(

Janet Johnson said...

Sometimes, I just like to sigh and enjoy it, but how can you help wondering when you really fall in love with the characters?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes it's all right.
Sometimes we decide to write a second book so you'll know what happened next! (Not that my first one had that ending...)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Sometimes authors will put in an epilogue. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it fails, especially if it's for a kid's or YA book. I don't care about the character as a 30 year old.

Christine Rains said...

I always wonder. Sometimes I have a hard time stopping a story I'm writing because I just want to keep going on with the characters' lives!

Joanne said...

It would be fun to read that happy ending, but have the author add some small detail that opens the door to possibility, that leaves me wondering, hmmmm ....

Raquel.Somatra said...

Oh, I'm so torn on this issue. On one hand, happy endings can be so satisfying that it's hard to think beyond it and disrupt the happiness... One the other, I would love to get more out of a story I love, or to jump back into Narnia or Hogwarts or wherever for another adventure-- and yes, I agree with you, that is one of the reasons why I write. Great post!!

Miranda Hardy said...

Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. There are some series I adore and have fallen in love with the characters. I'd love for them to just carry on. Others, not so much.

KarenG said...

To me, the sign of a really satisfying read is when I want it to just keep going. But if it did, it would cease to be satisfying, so yes, I'm okay with endings. But my favorite books I sit awhile and just savor them, thinking about what might happen next.

Michelle Teacress said...

Oh, yes. I always wonder...but interestingly enough, I wonder more if the ending isn't tied up in a happy bow. I want the happy ending so I can bask in the 'ahhhh' feeling. :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I love that feeling of wondering what happens next after a book ends. That's because the book is that good. And that's one reason the book is awesome. It ended the right way--with the characters lingering in my head.

Anne Gallagher said...

When I wrote my contemporary romance, I ended it with an epilogue that actually led up to the Happily Ever After, but still had the question -- What happens next?

I've changed it a couple of times to include what happens, but somehow always return it to the original. Sometimes to actually know is worse than not knowing.

Samantha VĂ©rant said...

Sometimes the happily-ever-after includes a new country, a new language, and step-kids!

Sarah Pearson said...

I'm the person at Christmas who says 'tell me, tell me tell me' but then gets upset when they're told what's in the gift. It's like that with endings. I want to know, but I don't want them spoilt :-)

Krispy said...

I always wonder about characters I love, but I don't always want to know, you know? Haha. Like you said, sometimes it's better left at the ending on the high note with no sequels, no epilogues. Also, that's why I think fanfiction is so appealing. Other people are wondering too. :)

Lynda R Young said...

Yes! I always wonder what that happily ever after means. I think our imaginations are better than reality though and that's why we never find out for sure.

Julie Musil said...

I'm ok with lingering questions, mostly because those moments stay with me for a long time. I do like a satisfying ending!