Writing the Down Ending

This week on Hide and Create, Diana Rowland, Jordan Ellinger, Moses Siregar and Joshua Essoe appropriately talk about writing downer endings on this, Diana’s last episode.

It’s controversial. While it’s true that life is just as much about sadness, pain, and the loss of hope as it is about wonder, beauty, and happiness, a lot of people don’t like down endings. Writing one is a risk. You risk upsetting your reader and turning them away from you and your work. Who likes feeling bad — even if that kind of ending is appropriate to your story?

Sad stories don’t have to be depressing stories, though.  The most powerful ones can be devastating, but they leave you with a ray of hope. I think that is the truest power of a sad story — great hope, enlightenment, and a change or broadening of viewpoint.

As readers, we remember whatever stories evoke the most powerful emotional responses the best. As long as those responses aren’t disgust at how awful the book is! That’s not what you want to be remembered for.

We’d love to hear from our listeners about what you think of down endings. Do you hate them? Do you like them? Why do they work for you? Do you remember the sad stories better, and longer, than the happy ones. . . . let us know in the comments!

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