This blog, Stories Never End, is named after the fan-club of the fantasy author in my horror novel, COMEBACK, which is called what it’s called because that’s what the fictional author, and I myself, truly believe. Stories never do end, just as they never really start. All writers do is choose tiny a section of this infinite adventure, and call it a short story, or a novella, a play, or a novel. We snip it whole from the main body, carefully making our incisions at dramatically advantageous moments.
Perhaps we start it as our hero and heroine are thrown together by a largely irrelevant McGuffin, like the leads in a Hitchcock movie, and end it when the couple have overcome all the obstacles and dangers placed in their way and reached that fabled-happy-ever after, striding off into the sunset together or greeting the dawn of the new day with a sweet first kiss.
What happened to the characters prior to the start of the novel (or short story, novella, or play) is usually dealt with in some way or another during the course of the story. Through flashbacks or conversations the characters either share willingly or are forced by circumstances to reveal, the reader is told of the way the heroine was the only girl in litter of seven children, which is why, despite being so feminine and attractive, she is also such a tomboy, how she came to have such specialised knowledge of the offside trap in soccer, and why she knows how far up a wall the average boy can whizz – or how the hero came by his unmanly horror of insects/bats/heights/enclosed spaces/etc, and his expert knowledge of nuclear fusion/ice sculpture/flower-arranging/etc. All pretty standard, naturally.
But readers are very, very rarely offered a glimpse into the future of their characters’ stories. The implication may be there, of course, that the wild and crazy guy she fell for may one day be tamed (but not tamed too much, of course), and that the baby they are expecting will not ruin their love life together (the very idea!), and that seven years down the line, after a period of failed therapy, the hero will run off with the heroine’s step-sister (who will, in turn, leave him for a bartender she meets in the new town they move to), the heroine will be arrested and jailed for fraud and embezzlement and running a bordello without the appropriate licence or kickbacks, and their child will go to court to divorce itself of them both. But let’s face it, probably not.
People tend to like happy endings, that’s all.
It’s hard to blame them. Happy endings are so rare in real life, it’s sometimes nice to enjoy the feeling, even though it’s only by proxy. It brightens our lives to see the guilty and the evil justly punished, the innocent well rewarded, and lovers allowed to love.
The future is uncertain. Dangerous. Scary. Too real.
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