Pretty Maids Tied in a Bow*

Besides having posted three very pretty boys in the post below (let's all take a moment to swoon, shall we?), today I'd like to rant discuss what I think of as "The Rushed Conclusion", or more informally, "What the hell? Twenty hours of build-up for ten minutes of Happily Ever After? The Asymmetry!"

I think it's safe to blog that I am a really big anti-fan of things being too neat. This applies to stories as well. I want things to feel complete, sure, but is perfection the only kind of completion to chase after? I cry foul. If everything ends up with every little loose end tucked safely back into the rope, how has anything really changed or grown from the beginning of the story to the end?

Lately my beef with this sort of thing has been grilled by the Korean dramas I am still, yes, addicted to (moving on, now). Each one has been between 16 to 25 hour-long episodes, during which there's a pretty good pace and the story arc is well developed . . . until one gets to the last episode or two, wherein they often try too hard to make everything seem impossible to overcome or survive the Bad Situation in the current drama, and then, at  the last possible scene everything works out so that everyone gets exactly what they want. This usually takes five to ten minutes.

Ever read a book like that?  Where, yes, all the questions are answered and all the problems solved, but it's like on the second half of the last page? And how annoying is that? Even though everything ends up resolved, it doesn't feel like it, and you come away having this weird kind of niggling in the back of your mind that you've forgotten something, even though you haven't. It IS annoying.

So, my advice, as a consumer of stories, is this: Don't just worry about tying up loose bits at the end. That won't cut it with most of us. You've got to make us work for it.

*A version The Eagles didn't release, as opposed to Pretty Maids All in a Row, which is my favorite Eagles tune.


Post a Comment