|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
At the end of a movie or story, a character is shown to have written a book related to the experiences in the movie, usually after they settle down and have their happy ending.
If it happens at the end of a book, the implication is that you have just read that book; sometimes it's stated a lot more bluntly. Sometimes the first thing they write is the first thing you read: the passage becomes Book Ends.
This is usually a straight out invocation of the Literary Agent Hypothesis, with the implication that anything that doesn't quite make sense was due to the main character forgetting things, being mistaken, guessing wrong about events that he or she didn't personally witness, or lying for the sake of practicality.
A more recent variation more common in film and television is to end with a film or television series being produced about the events. Many times the ending itself will switch from "reality" to the film under production before the camera pulls back to reveal the set and crew. Often this will involve self-mockery by taking previously utilized tropes Up to Eleven, the story being Recycled in Space or another increase in weirdness.
Anime and Manga
- The end of the second season of Digimon has TK (Takeru in the Japanese version), who has written books based on their adventures in the Digital World.
- The endings of both the anime and the manga versions of Chrono Crusade feature this in the end, although in two separate ways. In the manga, there's some brief quotations from Azmaria's memoir about her adventures with Chrono and Rosette. In the anime, Joshua is shown working on a storybook about "a boy that goes on an adventure with his sister and a demon to see the astraline!" referring to Rosette and Chrono. However, the horns damaged his mind so much that those are the only memories he seems to have of the two of them.
- In a slight variation, at the end of Eyeshield 21, quarterback for the Alexanders and aspiring mangaka says that she was ordered to write a manga about Eyeshield 21. She just wants to draw shojou, though.
- In Letter Bee, Vincent Alcott is a down-in-the-dumps writer we meet in the first season who wanted desperately to be a great writer is an utter failure. Then in Letter Bee Reverse (season 2), during the final battle against Cabernet, he's scribbling in a notebook. It's later revealed that dear old Vincent wrote about it and got famous.
- The original comic of W.I.T.C.H. has the oracle showing the girls a possible future, to cheer them up, where they all reunite as adults. Adult Will then reveals that she just wrote a book about their adventures as Magical Girls.
- George McFly, at the end of Back to The Future, has written a book inspired by Marty's radiation-suited visit to him in 1955.
- At the end of Enchanted, Nathaniel has written a self-help book, and Pip has written a memoir.
- In National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Riley has written a book about the events of the first movie and other conspiracies.
- Throw Momma From The Train
- The bonus: two completely different books about the same events.
- In Scream 2, Courteney Cox's character has written a book about the first movie, which has been made into a movie. By Scream 3, she's written a book about the second movie, which has been made into a movie. Scream 3 follows the production of a third, obviously fictionalised movie featuring the original characters. No doubt Gail wrote a book about it.
- Romancing the Stone
- Bob's "Death Therapy" book in the epilogue of What About Bob?
- The movie Duplex has the main character trying and failing to write a book throughout the movie, mostly due to his upstairs tenant. The end of the movie shows his published novel, also titled Duplex, presumably about the events he experienced during the movie.
- Alex and Emma.
- In the third The Mummy film, we learn that Evie has done just this, publishing the books as fiction.
- In the sequel Shanghai Knights, Roy O'Bannon has published books vaguely based on the first movie Shanghai Noon
- Chasing Amy.
- Alice actually says this in the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland.
- At the end of the Bela Lugosi movie Voodoo Man, a producer considers making the events of the film into a movie. The hero suggests that Lugosi would be a perfect choice to play the villain.
- Race to Witch Mountain
- The Spanish Inn is narrated from the perspective of the main character, as he's writing a book about the story.
- A Knight's Tale ends with Paul Bettany's Geoffrey Chaucer saying that he should write the events of the film as a story.
- The film Better Than Chocolate ends with the revelation that the protagonist eventually published a book called (wait for it...) Better Than Chocolate.
- Near the end of My Sassy Girl, the main character Gyeon-woo not only written a book based on the movie's events, but it's being made into a movie... Wait...
- In the Jackie Chan fantasy film The Myth, his character has written a book of the same name at the end of the movie, and it is dedicated to his Dead Sidekick.
- In-universe, the protagonist of Repo Men writes The Repossession Mambo, which is the title of the Real Life novel on which the film was based. He does this in the middle of the movie, and even kills an attacker with the manual typewriter he'd just finished writing it with.
- In Dragonheart, poetry-loving monk Brother Gilbert is trying to write an epic like Gilgamesh, and decides to frame it around the adventures of the protagonist Bowen. Not a book per se, but as the film takes place in a time before novels were common, it otherwise fits.
- At the end of Wes Craven's New Nightmare, the Ultimate Evil has been defeated and Resealed away now that Wes has finished the screenplay portraying it. Heather Langenkamp and her son read from the screenplay, which depicts the first scenes of the movie.
- Moulin Rouge uses Christian writing a book as Book Ends for the film's story. Satine even tells him when she dies that he needs to write their story.
- In the Winona Ryder adaptation of Little Women, Jo is inspired to write a novel about her life with her sisters when going through her sister Beth's things after she dies. (This does not happen in the book, although the Jo of the books does become a successful author.)
- One of the events depicted in the epilogue of Elf shows Buddy adapting his experiences into a bestselling children's book.
- In The Umbrella Coup, Pierre Richard's character only realizes that he has been involved in a mafia Mob War at the end of the movie, when his partner (an undercover policewoman) spells it out for him (throughout the movie, he thinks he has been hired by a movie studio for some method acting). He then decides that the story would make a great movie, and the epilogue, he is a famous film director with Money to Burn.
- In Misery, Paul's agent pitches him the idea of writing a non-fiction book regarding his experience, he elegantly disregards it as a cheap shenanigan.
- The Book of Lost Things has this near the end. It states that the book you're reading is the one the character wrote. It then gets confusing because things happen in the end that don't happen until after he wrote it and published. So you're reading things in his book that the character says he wrote but couldn't have despite actually happening.
- Well, he obviously didn't have Protection From Supernatural Editors.
- Bilbo and Frodo's The Red Book of Westmarch, a continuation of Bilbo's There and Back Again: A Hobbit's Holiday by Bilbo Baggins.
- Q in the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Q-Squared:
Q: Make a hell of a log entry, don't you think. Captain's log, stardate yakkity-yak. Got up. Brushed teeth. Charted some stars. Saved the universe. Had dinner. Brushed teeth, went to bed.
- Atonement is an odd case, because Briony admits to having changed the ending because it would have been too depressing otherwise. The movie makes it clear that Robbie and Cecilia died rather than living happily ever after.
- At the end of Things Fall Apart, one of the Evil White Colonialists is writing a book called something like "The Pacification of the Tribes of the Lower River Niger." Bit of a subversion, in that he imagines that the incident he has just witnessed - Okonkwo's suicide - might make up a good chapter of padding, or a paragraph at least.
- A very common 19th century literary device. In Charles Dickens' David Copperfield and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, the book is written by the hero, as a memoir of the events narrated, and will make occasional references to the present ("Looking back upon that time, I feel...").
- Happens at the end of some Enid Blyton adventure stories like the Famous Five.
- Lots of Roald Dahl stories end like this (The Witches, James and the Giant Peach and The BFG from memory), usually with the very strong implication that the book they wrote is the one you just finished reading.
- The Outsiders ends with the protagonist being assigned to write five pages about his own life and asking "Can it be longer?" One wonders as to how the teacher felt about grading a 180-page novel.
- Plus, the fact the author wrote it BECAUSE she saw something at school and said (paraphase), "I should write a book about this!"
- I, Claudius
- In the Japanese Ring/Ringu series of books, many of the events from the first book (Ring) have been publicised as a novel with talks of a movie in the second (Spiral). Unfortunately, these methods are also new and somewhat Squicky methods through which Sadako can reproduce.
- Played with in the most recent Thursday Next book: the Thursday Next books as they exist in Thursday's world evidently bear little resemblance to the events as we read them, and Thursday is very unhappy with the way she is portrayed. To make things more complicated, as Thursday can travel into novels, she ends up meeting versions of herself as she appears within the books. However, at the end, the books are being rewritten and it is strongly implied that these new editions are the series we know.
- At the end of Charles Stross's Saturn's Children, we learn that the book we have just read is a message Freya is about to send back to her sisters on Earth, to warn them that their supposedly long-dead mother Rhea is still alive and dangerously insane.
- Be More Chill.
- At the end of Jodie Picoult's Vanishing Acts, the Unlucky Childhood Friend and journalist character reveals towards the end that he has been writing - surprise! - a book about this entire event. However, there's the fact that the book was written in first-person, revolving between the four main characters, so this means that the guy was obsessing over the thoughts of the girl he's been in love with since he was a kid. Romantic or Squicky?
- The book Freaky Friday turns out to be Annabelle's English project, thought the events were supposed to have really happened.
- At the end of Nausea, by Jean-Paul Sartre, the protagonist decides he wants to write a novel.
- The children's book The Enormous Egg features this.
- Biloxi Blues
- The second Artemis Fowl novel implies this in its opening.
- The Sherlock Holmes stories are presented as the memoirs of Dr. Watson. At the end of the first one, Watson tells Holmes: "Your merits should be publicly recognized. You should publish an account of the case. If you won't, I will for you."
- Mark Frost's The List of 7 has an similar example. The novel centers around a young Arthur Conan Doyle becoming embroiled in a conspiracy against Queen Victoria, during which he is befriended by a dashing, yet mysterious(and potentially unstable) detective named Jack Sparks. At the end of the novel, he learns that Sparks had apparently died in battle with his hated brother, and chooses to immortalize Sparks by writing a series of novels about him renaming Sparks' character as "Sherlock Holmes".
- I Am the Messenger, which ends with the author delivering the text of the novel to the main character, who then decides to rewrite it in his own words. Whether the text you're reading has been written by the author or said character is up for interpretation.
- In one of the later Little House books (I believe it's Little Town On The Prarie) by Laura Ingalls Wilder, sister Mary suggests that since Laura is now teaching, she'll also write a book. Laura finds the idea hilarious. Of course...
- Used in the novel Murder in Moultonboro (which you haven't heard of; everyone who has knows the author personally). The hero, Harry, doesn't initially like the idea, though. When Harry's friends suggest that he write a book about some of his strange cases, he answers, "What the hell would I do with a book like that... shim up my fridge?"
- Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events books. There's even an "unauthorized autobiography" on "Lemony Snicket".
- Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. Throughout the book there are references to pulpy holothrillers with names like "Luke Skywalker and the Dragons of Tatooine", and at the end we find that the character who researched and wrote up something about the Mindor incident sold it to one of the holothriller companies for an absurd sum of cash. Luke's not happy about this, but grudgingly gives in and insists on some rewrites. It doesn't matter if the holothrillers liked it as it was, he can be very persuasive.
- The classic book Interview with the Vampire (and the movie too, I would guess) is an interview made by a guy to a vampire. It is implied that Louis (the vampire) destroyed the record afterwards, but in the next book on the series (Lestat the Vampire) the book has been published to the world. Then Lestat himself took over that custom and started writting his adventures, with each successive book referencing the former one.
- Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief, implies that Gen wrote the book chronicling his adventures at the request of his sovereign.
- Tried (not particularly effectively) by William Goldman in The Color Of Light. It's glaringly obvious throughout the novel that it's an edited version of his own life, including tons of shoutouts to his previous stories. The novel ends with him deciding to turn his life into a novel. It's a pointless ending at best.
- Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson ends with the narrator musing that she's a pretty good authority on "normal kids" such as herself, and that she could even write a book about them, making this example a little more ambiguous than others (it could just be irony of the This Is Reality variety).
- Although Proust has repeatedly stated that In Search Of Lost Time was in no way autobiographical, it is pretty clear by the end of Time Regained that the narrator, who has discovered his artistic vocation, plans to write the very book we are reading.
- In "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" Hugo isn't content to just write his story. He builds a human-shaped clockwork automaton that writes out the entire book and draws all the pictures with a dip pen every time it's turned on. Quite the feat concidering that this book is as thick as one of the later "Harry Potter"s.
- The Saga of Darren Shan ends like this when vampire Darren sends his journals to alternate-timeline fiction-writer Darren to be published into a novel.
- The First Wives Club ends with one of the women producing a book she's written about the events of the novel, entitled "The First Wives Club."
- Christopher Moore's Bloodsucking Fiends ends with Tommy suggesting he's going to write a book, presumably about the events of the trilogy.
- Implied (or at least, hypothesized by fans) about The Dresden Files. In a recent book, we learned that Harry's mentor keeps journals of his own life and career, and his own mentor did as well, forming a tradition of wizards' journals going back centuries. A brief excerpt Harry reads is sort of in First-Person Smartass format, which fits the mentor's personality but also fits Harry's personality and the serie's own narrative style. So some think that the series itself is Harry's contribution to that legacy.
- There's the fact that the narration is in past tense, but some details are given in present tense ('I did X, Y and Z, then went back to my apartment. My apartment is...') which would be consistent with Harry writing about events a short time after they've taken place.
- Mr. Small, an entry in Roger Hargreaves' Mr. Men series, depicts Mr. Small attempting to hold down a variety of jobs. He eventually meets an author who writes children's books; after hearing Mr. Small describe his adventures, he decides to write a book about them. It is explicitly stated that the reader has just read the book in question.
- In Stephen Lawhead's Song of Albion, the entire trilogy is a set of books written by the narrator. The final sentence of the third book is the first sentence of the first book:
"It all began with the aurochs."
- At the end of the The General series by David Drake and S.M. Stirling, one of Center's predictions is that Barton Foley will win an award for writing Raj Whitehall's biography.
- Loial's goal throughout The Wheel of Time series is to write a record of Rand and company's exploits.
- A mind-warpingly meta example is implied by much of The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. To wit: Most of the Caretakers of the Geographica are famous authors, especially of sci-fi and fantasy. The implication is pretty strong that they get a lot of their ideas from the Archipelago.
- In Jack Williamson's Darker Than You Think, one of the characters plans to write a book warning the world about the Witch Breed but it--the book you're reading--is dismissed as pulp fantasy.
- At the close of T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, King Arthur on the eve of a great battle asks his page Tom to ride home to Warwickshire and to tell people about the King’s idea, that force should only be used for justice. The boy kneels to kiss the King’s hand before he goes, “his surcoat, with the Malory bearings, looking absurdly new”. It would be Sir Thomas Malory who would write Le Morted’Arthur.
Live Action TV
- The last episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show has Rob Petrie writing his autobiography and subsequently being offered the chance to write his own sitcom based on his life as a comedy writer.
- The Made for TV and later released on home video movie Noah's Ark ends with Noah writing down his adventures, and expresses concerns that someday, people will say they weren't even there. Indeed, the movie's story is a mixing of the Biblical stories of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and, of course, the Flood... in that order. The character of Noah is sort of a mashup of Noah and Abraham, except that Abraham never lived in Sodom.
- Maya, from Kamen Rider Dragon Knight actually does this, selling the story of the Kamen Riders as a children's novel at the end of the series.
- The very last scene of Arrested Development plays with this with Maeby acquiring the rights to the family's story to be developed into a television series. However, she presents the material to Ron Howard who tells her "I don't see it as a series. Maybe a Foreshadowing: movie."
- Although not revealed in the series, Word of God is that Steve and Susan from Coupling made a sitcom based on their relationship (which, since they are, in fact, Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue, isn't very surprising).
- In Doctor Who, Joan Redfern -- the love interest of John Smith, a certain humanised-amnesiac Time-Lord -- is revealed to have kept John's diary and her memoirs in an attic. Over ninety-five years later, her great-granddaughter publishes them as a book...only for a man, just like the one from the diary, to come to the book signing.
- The last episode of Roseanne reveals that Roseanne wrote the series based on her life - except the final season, which she completely made up after Dan died.
- McGee wrote Deep Six in NCIS. It is implied the books were fictional events, although the characters were clearly based upon Gibb's team.
- This happens frequently in Californication, in ways that relate to the ongoing story arcs and with the implication that most of Hank Moody's novels come from this trope. The main example is "Fucking and Punching", a novel that Hank writes during season 1 about his experience with Mia, which Mia subsequently steals and publishes under her own name, creating an ongoing conflict for much of the show.
- The Stargate SG-1 quote above gets (unintentionally?) parodied late in the series, when it turns out an ordinary citizen, who had acquired a psychic connection with O'Neill, attempted to publish the team's mission reports as books for years...unsuccessfully. Also, there's "Wormhole X-Treme," the Self-Parody Show Within a Show that acts as the SG-1 of the SG-1 universe.
- In the How I Met Your Mother episode "Brunch", where Ted, after hearing his parents' less-than-impressive story of how they met ("I think it was in a bar"), declares that when he's older, he's gonna make sure to tell his kids the full story of how he met their mother. Fast forward twenty-four years to 2030, and he does, although as far as we know he never published it.
- The Channel 4 Teletext soap opera Park Avenue ended with one of the characters announcing that he'd successfully sold a soap opera based on the street to ORACLE. Fridge Logic when you consider that Park Avenue was full of topical references, and had started four years earlier...
- The musical of Little Women does this.
- Subverted in Avenue Q. Princeton thinks he's finally discovered his purpose in life when he sees a kid fresh out of college just like he once was: put together everything he's learned about struggling through life after college and make a Broadway show out of it. The recent grad flips him off and leaves, and everyone else thinks it's a bad idea too.
- Older Than Steam: In A Midsummer Night's Dream Bottom, thinking the fantastic events of the play were All Just a Dream, says that "I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream: it shall be called ‘Bottom’s Dream’, because it hath no bottom;"
- If you stayed on good terms with Martin Summers through Hotel Dusk: Room 215, he sends Kyle a letter explaining he's going to write a new novel based off of him. Kyle isn't much of a reader and Summers isn't much of a writer, so his reaction is less than enthusiastic.
- At the end of Paper Mario, one NPC says that he's written a book about Mario's quest, entitled Paper Mario.
- Likewise, the sequel has Mario's adventures being turned into a play performed by one of his teammates, Flurrie, and a former enemy, Doopliss. The game also features a collection of books describing Luigi's adventures (with some facts being exaggerated to make Luigi look cooler). After beating the game, Luigi agrees to hire his publisher to make a book about Mario's adventure.
- Non-RPG Mario example: After helping Mario save both Peach and the entire universe from Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy, Rosalina actually decided to write a book based on her experiences with Mario where he had to save both Peach and the universe from Bowser again (her first book was about her childhood and the loss of her family), but this time Bowser is now a giant, and Mario now travels in a small spaceship shaped like his own face with the help of his dinosaur friend Yoshi and a fat purple star named Lubba. The title: Super Mario Galaxy 2.
- And Rosalina then writes herself into her own story where she finally finds the white Luma she accidentally left behind in the Mushroom Kingdom at the end of the first Galaxy (he was travelling aboard Mario's spaceship), and then she writes a third book (right in front of said white Luma, who listened to her reading SMG 2) about Mario finding various green stars scattered across the universe, and again she writes herself in to give Mario his last star and boards his ship afterwards.
- In Metal Gear Solid 2, the plot of the previous game is summarized in a series of in-universe publications accessible from the main menu.
- In some of the endings of Kana: Little Sister, Takamihi writes a book based on the diary of his deceased sister.
- Done in Riviera:The Promised Land, by Rose, of all people.
- The Sly Cooper games suggest that the missions are entries in the Theivius Raccoonus, the Cooper family journal/diary/manual. At the end of 3, it suggests that Bentley was making the lastentry in it.
- At the end of Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals, Larry and Patti screw over the fabric of their fictional reality, wind up at the set of Sierra studios, and receive a lucrative offer from Roberta Williams to code adventure games about their adventures. Al Lowe had to skip an entire installment in the series to undo this ending.
- Space Quest III also ends with the Two Guys from Andromeda ending up at Sierra's studio and they end up making a game, presumably the Space Quest series. No ending-reversal here, though, since the Two Guys aren't the main characters.
- In the credits of Tales of Vesperia, art is shown of Estelle writing a book; when she closes it, the cover pretty clearly has "Tales of Vesperia" on it, though it's written in the game's made-up runic language. Whether the book is a straight-up adaptation of the game or some kind of children's story about Brave Vesperia's romps and adventures is up for debate.
- Was it Suikoden Tactics or Rhapsodia? That depends on where you live; either way, there's a reason the game's sections are called "chapters," and Andarc comes off as something of a Badass Bookworm.
- Mentioned in passing in Red Alert 3. Following a perilous battle in Cuba, Commander Giles mentions that maybe he will write a book about it.
- In the original Tomb Raider games, Lara has written several books which are treated as eccentric fiction, including "A Tyrannosaurus is Jawing at my Head".
- One of Madison Paige's endings in Heavy Rain has her writing a book entitled...you guessed it.
- One of Leliana's possible comments at the end of Dragon Age is that she might write a book about the game's events. . .but that she'll leave out details about Fereldan food, which isn't any good even at the palace.
- Zigzagged in Final Fantasy Tactics. Orlan Durai didn't say that he wanted to write a book about Ramza's brave struggle against Ultima and her cult, neither there's a sequence showing him do so. But the book, the Durai Papers, is written anyway-- in fact the entire game is about Alazlam Durai storytelling it to you the player.
- The Word Weary is a comic by John Kossler about John Kossler, who's writing a comic. Issue 75 featured him wondering what he should do for in-comic comic's next update- he finally settled on a joke that was used in issue four.
- One of the alternate Season 5 endings to Red vs. Blue has Caboose selling his life story to a company in Redmond, Washington who made a popular video game series out of it.
- Shin spends a good chunk of Sailor Nothing working on her book. The epilogue shows that it was pretty successful, even if it was usually interpreted as allegory.
- At the end of the Lonelygirl15 episode "He Said, She Said", Bree suggests that Daniel should come over and they can make a video about the phone call they are having. Daniel replies, "Wouldn't that be boring?"
- Averted in Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated when a "big shot television producer" suggests that Scooby and the gang's adventures would make a great children's show. Immediately everyone agrees this would be a bad idea.
- Evan Wright wrote about what he saw in Iraq, titled Generation Kill, this is also lampshaded in the television series.