Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nail the Ending

It's Tuesday at Barnes and Noble. You rush to the stacks after work to get your hands on a new book, something that has been written in your calendar for months so you don't miss it's release date. Now imagine you are reading in your favorite spot. Although you have arranged snacks to be nearby, they are ignored because the book has you in it's clutches--the story concept is crisp and fresh. Characters delight, surprise and frustrate you as the scenes haul you through the character's world. The plot moves the story from one delicious tragedy to another.
Yes, but only if the ending satisfies the reader!
What makes a great ending?

•I like a story where every character gets their resolution. The main character provides the action that resolves the main character's problem and the supporting cast gets to solve their issues in the subplots.

•The ending feels like "that really is the only way it could have happened." The author has set me up completely through the character's actions and personality traits to believe the story had to end that way.

•It ends. I know this sounds obvious, but I read a lot of books that are part of a series. The best, the one's that stand out, the ones whose next titles get written in my calendar, are the ones that end, even though there will be another book. The next book in a series is for a loose end or a emerging story question that was left to tantalize me into opening my purse and swiping my debit card again. Don't worry--I'll do that.

•The main character (and hopefully a few others) changes. I don't need them to change all the way through, but at the end there has to be a change of circumstance, attitude, physical/mental/emotional ability--something!


Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Good post! I think this is a wonderful guideline for what makes a good ending. I agree with every point, including the fact that even in a series, the books should be able to end (which means to me, it should be a "stand alone" book as well.)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Love this! While every little thing doesn't have to be resolved--whose life ends up tied neatly with pretty bows--the major issues dang better well or I won't be a happy camper.

Gussie said...

What do you think of predictable endings? To a certain extent, all happy endings are predictable. Right? I know of people who read the ending first to see if the book is worthwhile reading. I don't do that but I won't bother reading a book if the ending is sad.

Ethan Krane said...

Canda, I wanted to talk to you about reviewing my book. Can you contact me at my e-mail. bc@cut.net. you can see my blog at ethankraneauthor, thanks