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  • Writer's pictureTracey Lee


I can’t help but think that endings are so very important; in life and in writing.

In life the end of epic adventures, long hauls, critical events, heart break and indeed life itself is fairly significant in the human experience. Some ends we look forward to and others we resist with everything we have. But ends happen. And how we deal with them can be the making of us. It’s a letting go, patching ourselves up and awaiting further territory to be explored. Even in death…not perhaps for the dearly departed; but for those of us who have to tend to the end. It can be painful and shocking or a blessed relief but in the human lexicon of events it is one of the few things beyond our control. And generally we don’t like that.

Perhaps it is why we expect so much more from our literature, film and television shows. We want a great ending. Sometimes accompanied by an even greater song- (thinking Titanic and Celine Dion here!) Our literary endings need to make sense.

Writers have to come up with endings. They are really hard to make happen in the way that satisfactorily brings the reader to accept the finality of a story; or in the case of my Lily O’Hara trilogy, how to make a reader want the actual ending to be delayed in some way (like at the end of book 3). We can expect cliff-hangers from thrillers or detective novels, red-herrings or tangible hooks left at the end of stories so that we are prepared to willingly leap into the next season or book. We like those; they make sense because there is some expectation and shared understanding of what might come next.

We don’t like it when the ending is too predictable…we don’t like to be treated as if we are simple. And under no circumstances will we tolerate “it was all a dream” or the key character simply dies for no good reason! Or some character that wasn’t even mentioned in the rising action suddenly appears to explain away the mystery. Nor do we want a conclusion that is so complicated that we are left wondering what the hell is going on!

This last point is my deliberate segue into what prompted me to write this blog. I’ve been happily settling into some Monday night viewing of the rather enigmatic television series “The Kettering Incident”. Primarily because it was set and filmed in my home state of Tasmania. Beautifully rendered, spectacular imagery, some pretty good acting and effectively maintained mystery. However, the ending was unfathomable. What happened? I’m assuming that a second season will possibly answer that question. Maybe? There just wasn’t a clear hook or enough coherent clues for the viewer to want to know.

I’m guessing aliens or cloning or some terrible toxic waste producing a global delusion! Those big moths had to be a clue…didn’t they?

So it made me think that while beginnings get us in, we still deserve good endings. I remember when I was a kid and learning to love writing stories every one of them was concluded with stunningly large letters that proclaimed undeniably to the reader: The End! It wasn't great writing, but at least you knew you had arrived at the conclusion.

I would have even found giant letters stating 'the end' more compelling than the final incomprehensible events that brought “The Kettering Incident” to a halt. And I'm still aggrieved by it. I wanted a good ending to what was a really interesting story. 

Now having said that I’d best be on my game with my own endings or you will all be rightly critical of my failure to live up to my own lofty assertions. So I will end this blog appropriately.

The End?

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