Bittersweet endings

I’ve been wondering if it would be too much having the ending to a YA story be bittersweet and even totally tragic. In a lot of my work, I build up a character to tear them down completely as a form of catharsis for my depression, but when it comes to the group I have built for “Super” it might be a little much to have a big chunk of them dying (at least the ones I haven’t already planned to kill of as catalysts to progress the narrative). The end of this story has been haunting me since I drafted the idea, and it’s a thought that comes to me both in real life stories and fictional ones: how did we get here? remember when things were simple? what happened to yesterday to get us to today?

I’ve thought of ending the story as though it were a television series: with a licensed song I might have on my playlist, like ‘Heroes’ or something… the protagonist goes through all the big turning points in their growth, where the won and where they lost battles… ‘Heroes’ always makes me tear up about how it seems Bowie is trying to convince the other person that they can do this, they can make it. I think of Holly a lot when I think of the song, because of our shared struggles… and given how that relationship is going these days, the sense of yesterdays slipping away is only magnified.

Maybe I want a hyperbolic version of my teen years full of ups and downs, losses and gains, big moves and catastrophic failures combined with my emotional and nervous breakdowns from the last few years. Maybe it would be good for teens to see that you can still lose, and not be okay, but you keep going and will maybe one day be alright… I guess I’ll have to ask around.


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