- "I've got some cream for that."
We have to find out how things end up. It's critical. Some of us anticipate a little better than others.
Think about how you read a really gripping story. Do you nervously enjoy the ride to the very end? Do you crack and skip to the ending because you just have to find out what happens? Or do you unabashedly read the ending first?
What if there were no secret endings? Would it really even matter to you? Could the story still be enjoyable?
I'm sure you've all writhed in agony at some point listening to someone butcher a great joke you already knew the punch line to. Although you knew the ending, it was the delivery that ruined it this time. Hear that same joke told by a good comedian and you're laughing again.
If all we cared about were the endings to stories, then we would get our novels from fortune cookies instead of from libraries. But it's the journey, not the destination (more about that here in a previous post). Maybe it was all a dream, maybe the butler did it, or maybe the protagonist dies at the end. Who cares? How does it develop? What must the characters overcome? What inevitability leads to the ending? This is what makes reading the story enjoyable. This is why we have tattered copies of our favorite books.
Life is not simply about having the answers. Sometimes we never even get them. My wife, for example, will not let me teach her how to solve the Rubik's Cube. Apparently she likes a mysterious geek. But I already know a solution. Does that stop me from solving it again and again? Heck no! It is still fun.
As a reader, do you need your endings to remain a secret?
As a writer, do you need to know the ending before you start writing?