I, personally, get annoyed by ambiguous endings. I like my stories very clear cut — if I invest multiple hours of my time getting to know and care about characters, I want to know definitively what happens to them.
This has put me at odds with several of my friends, especially when we go see movies. For both Inception and Life of Pi, my friends walked out of the theater going “Wow! Amazing movie! I can’t believe that ending! What do you think really happened? Was it real? Was it a dream? Wow!” Apparently they really like to say “wow”. Anyway, then they turned to me and asked me how I liked it, and I had to truthfully respond “Meh”, because of my aforementioned fondness for clear cut endings. They then proceeded to sacrifice me to Enigmaticus, the god of ambiguous endings, but I may or may not have actually died because the ending to this story is left deliberately vague and you’ll never know if it was real or made up!
See how annoying it is? GAH.
Anyhoo, all that being said, I’ve recently been plotting out my NaNoWriMo book, and when I got to the end, I realized that there were two ways the story could end. Two extremely different ways. Both are totally viable options, and both would leave some really cool ideas and questions in the reader’s mind. But I’m having trouble deciding which one to go with. So I thought “Screw the rules, maybe I should just cut the story off right before he makes the choice and let the reader decide what happens!”
Of course, I immediately felt very guilty about this thought, because, again, ambiguous endings = evil incarnate (at least in my mind). But the more I think about it, the more I like it. And the more I hate it.
So I guess I’ll pose it to you lovely people — ambiguous endings: good or bad?
Unrelated media of the day: