Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happily Ever After

One of my New Year's resolutions is to read/re-read more classic literature. A friend and I were talking about the bleakness of Wuthering Heights. This discussion reminded me of an assignment I was given in high school--make like Emily Bronte and write an additional chapter for WH.

To me, this was wrong on so many levels. For one, it's pretty cruel to ask a bunch of 17-year-olds to emulate Bronte brilliance. Second, Em herself would've run screaming into the moors at the prospect of having her novel debased by a bunch of 17-year-olds. Third, Catherine and Heathcliff's tumultous story already had a masterful beginning, middle and end. Tacking on another chapter felt like flogging the proverbial dead horse. Gross.

So here's a new assignment, as a writer, how do you know it's the end of the line for your story? And do you tie up all loose ends or do you like to leave some dangling? Do you write alternative endings and see which one works better?

While you ponder, here's a little treat from Kate Bush:

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