There are certain shows that I could binge watch for days. To name a few: The Office (US Version), Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, but there’s one that’s my go-to favorite, Supernatural. If you’ve never seen the show, it’s about two brothers that save people while hunting monsters. One of the things I like about the show is that it pokes fun at itself at times. There’s an author in the series called Chuck that writes a book series about the brothers. You guessed it, the book series is called Supernatural. During one of the episodes starring Chuck, he talks about writing endings.
“Endings are hard,” Chuck begins. “Any [censored] monkey with a keyboard can poop out a beginning, endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end, but you never can. The fans are always gonna [complain]. There’s always gonna be holes. And since since it’s the ending, it’s all supposed to add up to something. I’m telling you, they’re a raging pain in the [censored].”
Obviously, I can’t say all the expletives here so I censored them. But Chuck’s point is still a valid one. Endings are hard and sometimes even impossible. Maybe that’s why Supernatural has been around even before the CW. Seriously look it up, the show’s been running longer than the company has.
But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.
Sure, I could simply be referencing an ancient lyric from the band Linkin Park simply for nostalgia’s sake. But have you, my loyal readers, ever known me to do that?
Back to my point, does it matter that all the plot-holes are covered and that all the loose ends are tied? And does the end have to mean something?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: Because literature imitates life. Mimesis is the representation or imitation of the real word. Mimesis comes from the Greek word mimeisthai which means to imitate. In his Physics (350BCE) Aristotle writes that “he techne mimeitai ten physin.” For those that don’t have Google Translate, that phrase means “Art imitates nature.”
If you need another metaphor that’s more from a literature nature, check out Shakespeare’s drama “Hamlet” and what the title character says about the subject: “the purpose of [drama], whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold as ‘there the mirror up to nature.”
Even when you’re reading about a monster, you’re reading about the real life. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein isn’t really about a monster, it’s about a mad scientist trying to conquer nature. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is really about conquering diseases. I once wrote a college paper about Dracula and cholera. It was fascinating, but unfortunately failed to spread.
Sometimes we go through life and things don’t make sense. Those things are the plot holes of our life. Have you ever went through life and finished something, but there were issues that were unresolved? Those are the loose ends that weren’t tied. When my nine-year long marriage ended and the divorce was finalized, I was left with feelings of regret, guilt, and unresolved issues. At the time, I felt like I had reached the end of the book. Now I realize that it was only the end of a chapter.
What is the meaning of Life? That’s the age old question. It’s a question that Humanity will never solve, but will always try to find an answer.
We all try to find out the answer in our own ways. Chemists, theologians, biologists, mathematicians, and other professions try to define and explain life. As writer’s we explain life in our own particular method.
Good authors write what they know. Sometimes that includes endings that don’t make sense. Sometimes that includes an unsatisfactory ending, but it’s the best ending for that particular story. Sometimes you get to the end of the book and only questions remain. Why’d that happen? What ever happened to that character? Will they ever get back together?
Life is messy and doesn’t make sense at times. A good story imitates life. There’s a saying that you should “write what you know.” However, I’d suggest that you don’t write what you know. As a writer, explore what the meaning of life could be, what it means to you, or what you would like it to be.
That way, in the end, it does really matter.
Categories: Mastering the Craft