The first time I saw Tangled, I cried at the end. Kind of a lot. Eugene gives the best ever one-slash haircut. Eugene is dead. Eugene is alive! Rapunzel gets her real parents back. I have seen the movie at least fifty times, and I still cry at the end. Because it is beautiful and emotional. And because it is over.
I always feel a touch of disappointment when a book I love ends. I may love a story’s ending, but I don’t love that the story is ending. I immerse myself so deeply I hate to leave. I am never ready. I face precisely the same struggle when I write. I cannot let the characters go. I know them intimately. I love them. I need to write what happens next. I want to stay with them inside their stories forever. My heart breaks when I write the ending… when it’s over.
I need to overcome this. Right? But… after writing madly and bringing my characters where they needed to go, how can I keep from writing what happens in that place? Finally, they’re exactly where they’re supposed to be, doing what they’re supposed to do, feeling how they’re supposed to feel. I want to write all about it… I want to write their futures.
Could this be a good thing? Maybe someday, someone else will get lost in my story, too. Maybe someone will become so invested he/she won’t want it to end. Or maybe it only captivates me that way because I imagined it in the first place. Still, I hope this means I could succeed in reaching a reader through my characters and their world. Maybe it even means the ending is the best part – the part that leaves a reader wanting more.
Of course, lacking enough confidence to expose my words to the world, I may never know how they affect others. Am I too close? Am I too lost in my own head? Is this normal? Does this happen to every writer? I’ve felt myself slip into a depressive state when I’ve come to the end of a story. Granted, I have a predisposition to depression and anxiety, so this isn’t exactly shocking. But usually my downturns manifest from my reality, not my fiction.
Maybe the answer is to write after-the-ending just for myself. Then everybody’s happy. Of course, right now, everybody is just me.