I think you all probably know the story of The Lady and the Tiger. A man who has dared to get involved with the king's daughter stands in an arena with only two exits. Behind one door is a ferocious tiger. Behind the other is a beautiful woman, rival to the princess. The man must choose which door he opens. If he picks the one with the beautiful woman, he goes free and has to marry her. It he picks the other, he dies. The princess, his lover, sits in the stands by her father. The man looks to her for help and she signals him which door to choose. But will she save him or would she rather see him dead than married to her rival? The man goes to the door and opens it. And the story ends.
Our group was divided on this one. Some liked being able to choose what they believe will happen. Others felt the story was incomplete. They wanted something, perhaps an epilogue, to tie up the loose ends. For myself, I chose the happy ending, but after following this character through four hundred pages of twists and turns, I wanted to share in her relief and joy when it happened. I felt cheated.
How about you? What books have you read that left the ending up to the reader? How did you decide the story ended? Do you enjoy open-ended stories or do you prefer to have everything nicely tied up with a bow and no loose ends? If you're a writer, do you ever leave your endings open to the reader's choice?
Groaner of the Day: No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.