I have a secret.
I love happy endings. I know a lot of books tend to veer off course from happy endings, from ending with teeth-clenching cliff-hangers (Hunger Games, anyone?) to simply not leaving everything happily resolved.
I, however, like happy endings, although occasionally (if sweet happy endings were all I saw, I would ask what the world was coming to; variety is good). I like closing the book, and thinking nice thoughts about those characters and relief and not gut-wrenching What's going to happen next? or That was unexpected, and weird or various other unsatisfied feelings. I like feeling like the story and the characters have been quenched, and the resolution resolved completely.
But do happy endings really bring us satisfaction? Because often, even when everything is resolved happy as a duck (I don't think that's the right expression, ah well) I am whining in my head that the story is over. I want more.
Now, this could be the case because human beings are selfish and wanting and never really satisfied but... I have a different proposition.
Really, it's the characters. Throughout the novel, we get attached to the quirks and perks of the lovely protagonists and protag-sidekicks, and when the end comes, we don't want to let it go no matter the ending. We cry out, "But I was just getting to know [insert character name here]".
Some examples I've found in reading adventures are...
Scrambled Eggs at Midnight (Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler).
This is such a cute little romance. I loved every minute of it and couldn't put it down. And the reason I couldn't put it down was not because it was heart-stopping cliff-hangers every second page, or chapters dripping with mystery and anticipation. It was the characters. Quirky Eliot and Cal attracted my attention so much that I was indulged in the story. It helped they were interesting, too -Eliot made fireworks illegally, Cal and her mother were constantly travelling, among other things. But most of all, there was a happy ending (hope that didn't spoil too much; though the story isn't really in the ending, it's in the story) and I absolutely hated I had finished the book already. This was because I fell in love with Cal and Eliot.
Another example is Harry Potter, which (don't kill me!) I have only started reading a couple weeks ago. At the point I am in the series (halfway through the fourth book) no book so far has ended unhappily.
Yet, I still wanted to go on and read the next book, and the next. Why was this? Because Ron, and Harry and Hermione (along with Ginny and Hagrid and the rest) were just so lovable. I wanted to spend more time with the characters, which left me dissatisfied at the end when I couldn't.
That'll be all for now, but stay tuned till tomorrow when I'll continue on this idea: How to make your characters lovable!