I don’t like nice endings, not in my fiction anyways. I hate the whole ‘hero gets the girl despite all odds’ and ‘good guys always win’. Well, I hate it when it’s a constant. What I look for in a story: a good, solid, and entirely realistic ending.
If there’s a war and my main hero is throwing himself headlong into the fight, he better get scarred and he better lose a buddy or six along the way. He better be emotionally traumatized for life. On the flip side, if my hero ‘dies’ he better not come back (thank you action movies for ruining every dramatic moment ever).
When I read a story, watch a movie, or write a story, I want my ending to make sense and be as real as possible. Deal with the devil? Of course there’s going to be some nasty consequences and buddy boy who made the contract won’t feel nice about it afterwards. My horror stories don’t end with a pretty rescue. They may not always end in death (though they most often do), but there’s something left afterwards.
Clearly, this isn’t for everyone. I don’t expect it to be. But it’s what I like and what I prefer. Here’s why: