Last week, I experimented with running a poll on the blog. I asked whether people preferred the books they read to have happy endings, or satisfying endings that made sense with the plot and general arc of the story.
Turns out, 2/3 of the people who voted chose the satisfying ending. The caveat being that it sometimes depends on the genre – happily ever after (HEA) is par for the course in a romance novel, for example.
Have we become cynical readers then? Too jaded by the harsh realities of life to swallow HEA? No, actually I think the opposite is true. We, as readers, already know how Cinderella’s story turns out. We’re not opposed to HEA, but we’re looking for something new and fresh – an unexpected ending that works.
So move over HEA. Make way for SEA: Satisfyingly Ever After.