Pluto’s too small, Denise Crosby got disgruntled about her screen time, and just when things are about to get exciting for Frodo and the gang, the credits roll.
1. Closure, even if a sequel’s coming
Taken all together, the Lord of the Rings trilogy tells a complete tale; but when I finished watching that first movie I nearly screamed, “That’s it; that’s where you leave us?” Fellowship of the Ring told the story of a danger to all civilization and the alliances needed to thwart a great evil. And then? Credits.
My decision to release Adventures Above the Aether’s three parts as three separate novellas died the moment that memory resurfaced. Truth be told, my editor saved me from an all too ambiguous ending where certain plot threads were concerned; and I couldn’t be more pleased by her vocal displeasure.
Even if a sequel’s planned, a great many loose ends need to be tied up before ‘happily ever after’. In my case, the sequel begins many sunrises and a few plot twists beyond that happy ride into the sunset. The first mysteries of this second book stem from wondering, ‘what happened to happily ever after?’.
2. Big things need big endings
I grew up with nine planets circling around the sun, Pluto being one. I get why it’s not considered a planet, but why no ‘grandfather’ it into the club? All kidding aside, some stories post big obstacles only to conveniently forget them when they’re either in the way or no longer serving their original purpose.
Star Wars Episode One stands out to me as a perfect example failure in this department. Naboo’s fight for freedom fizzles in the odd mixture of tone as to two comical characters win the day. Jarjar Binks’ slapstick victory belittles the gravity of the battle, while the toddler Skywalker accidentally destroys the one ship that controls all the opposing ground forces with no sense of the kind of danger he’s in.
The mixture of the comedy and action aren’t unknown, but for the final battle, it waters down the climax unnecessarily. Add to that, the tragic loss of Kenobi’s mentor and you’ve got emotional chaos for discerning audiences.
3. The purpose of a character’s death needs to be as important as their life.
When Denise Crosby complained about being ‘Uhura of Next Gen’ cast, the series’ writers either got lazy or allowed their displeasure at Denise’s decision seep into their creative process. As a result they wrote an episode so underwhelming in one regard, many fans of the show still talk about it.
Tasha’s dismissive demise served little purpose to the plot and so jarred my mind, I lost the main message of the episode, which, looking back on it seemed to be; piss off the big monster and you get his wrath quick and dirty.
4. Finally… everybody gets what they deserve in the end… including the reader
By story’s end, ideally, mountains don’t turn out to be molehills, characters fulfill their purposes neatly, and the sequel isn’t trusted to provide needed closure for readers not yet eager to read it.