Story Endings

I’m reading Dan Pink’s book on the power of timing at the moment. Who’d have thought it would be a brilliant source of writing advice?

This is a long quote, but it’s one I need to keep well to hand as it’s inspirational as well as a handy reminder of the ways of humans:

“…at the core of meaningful endings is one of the most complex emotions humans experience: poignancy, a mix of happiness and sadness. For graduates and everyone else, the most powerful endings deliver poignancy because poignancy delivers significance. One reason we overlook poignancy is that it operates by an upside-down form of emotional physics. Adding a small component of sadness to an otherwise happy moment elevates that moment rather than diminishes it. “Poignancy,” the researchers write, “seems to be particular to the experience of endings.” The best endings don’t leave us happy. Instead they produce something richer – a rush of unexpected insight, a fleeting moment of transcendence, the possibility that by discarding what we wanted, we’ve gotten what we need.” When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Daniel Pink

Now if I were to ever produce a story that gave someone unexpected insight, or transcendence, I’d probably suffer from extreme performance anxiety for the rest of my writing life, but the idea of poignancy is one I really do want to keep.

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