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I am just curious to hear some of y'all's opinions and perspectives about how you end your stories. I personally tend to shy away from nicely wrapped up, tied-off-with-a-bow endings where you get your ducks in a row and everything comes out all right. I dunno...I guess I've just read too many Westerns where everything ends with a happy lovely romance, and I'm just like... *FACEPALM!!* I mean...real life situations don't always end happily. Sometimes the bad guys do win. I mean, you have to have enough of a denouement to not chop off the end of the story. But still...
So I tend toward putting in a twist near the end, to where the ending is not *just* happy. It might be partly happy, but there are sad parts too. I feel like it makes a stronger story that way.
The sticky wicket, though, is going overboard with that and coming out with an ending that is unsatisfying to the reader. Because real life or not, the reader has to be satisfied at the ending. ...Right? If there's too much of a twist, then you leave them shaking their fist and going "Nooooooo! How could you do this to me??" But, on the other hand, I tend to write in the old fashioned way. I want to write a story where, when someone reads it, they will have improved their mind in some way, shape, or form by so doing. Sometimes I wonder if that is too lofty a goal. But I don't want to just write mindless entertainment. I want what I write to MEAN something.
I'm curious to know what you guys think and what you do with your stories.
Last edited by rcthebanditqueen on Fri May 09, 2014 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This is a topic that I've recently covered in the "Be a Better Writer" forum. You might be interested in reading the threads here:
And also here:
I really like your take on endings, and would love to have your voice added to those who look at the lessons.
I've seen a few cases where a book ends with an epilogue, continuing the story after the ending. One example that I remember seeing is the book "Blackbeard's Ghost", which I read back in the 60s; Disney made a movie on the premise, but changed the characters, the circumstance of how the hero met Blackbeard, etc.. It had a prologue, which recounted the story of how Blackbeard came to have a tavern, then his being killed at sea. Then the story begins with the tavern being torn down, but not without difficulties. Two young teen boys decide to explore the old building, find a scroll written by a witch Blackbeard knew, and they end up inadvertently conjuring up the pirate's ghost when they use the scroll for a séance show. It ends with the epilogue, with the tavern becoming a museum, tended by a retired teacher the boys had had in school.
Anyway, is that still done, at least an epilogue at the end of a series? Kind of let the reader know what happened to some or all of the characters after the story ends?
I personally tend to like twists I don't see coming 100%, but makes sense with the story.
I don't need a "perfect Hollywood ending", but unless it's part of a series, it better have some kind of closure, no cliffhangers without a followup. It's like a song that doesn't have a resolution chord - just makes me shudder.
The ending is sometimes my toughest challenge in writing something. I have to work on it, because sometimes mine just fizzle.
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"...hunt like a spider..." Cori - FW Con '07
I agree with the above statement. Certain genres have a specific ending. With my Christian romance book, of course my ending was a union of some sort. But with my suspenseful book series, I chose a cliff hanger ending, leading into the next book in the series. Most of the time when I write, the ending comes first and I simply tie in all the pieces of the puzzle. Sometimes the ending change according to the actions of my characters.
With a series, I think the ending should leave the reader satisfied with the current story, but still curious and ready for the next. Particularly if it is a series that is still in-work, and the next installment is not ready yet, I don't want to be left hanging for months or even years waiting to find out what happened.
The worst is when an author leaves the reader hanging with unresolved situations, and then, for whatever reason, never finishes the series.
Even if we're not planning a series, I believe the ending should leave us open to continue the story. It should wrap up the current tale, but leave the impression that the character's story isn't over. Life is going to go on, with the ups and downs we all experience still ahead for them. And they lived happily ever after, is a definitive wrap-up, but it really does limit the future potential for drama in the characters' lives.
“It is the artist who realizes that there is a supreme force above him and works gladly away as a small apprentice under God's heaven.” ~ Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
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Always good to see you back, Hoomi. What I had planned was at the end of the series, an epilog would briefly tell what happened to each of the main characters who still exist by the end. Like, Character A sold the family house, left town, found a new place in a new locality, and started their own business; Character B died in a car accident, Character C , widow of Character B, fell into a depressed state and eventually died; Characters D, E, F and G went their ways, etc.. I was thinking of one or two paragraphs on each.
Like Shann, I like the twist of something unexpected but that still rings right and satisfies the reader.
One of the things I also like about the twist is that, if done right, it can bring things to a close and yet open the door for more to come.
I also agree with both Homi and others who have said that a cliff hanger that keeps people waiting, and unsatisfied for sometimes months at a time, is something I don't appreciate.
I don't have a problem with an ending that isn't all nicely wrapped up in a ribbon or 'fairy tale'. In fact, they can be very good. But I still think there needs to be something there that satisfies the reader rather than just unknowing. I read a really good book about three years ago that clearly ended with the message of the next book was needed to complete the story and was on the way. It never came. I kept looking for about 18 months and then just decided, for sanities sake, to stop looking and forget the book. I don't think I'd trust it even if I found it now.
And yet that sort of ending is brilliant if the first book isn't released until the second book is ready.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.
My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
Um...ahem...apparently I have not gotten this website figured out yet...is there a way to get an email notification when you post something and somebody answers? Or do you just need to come back and check specifically? I had no idea that anybody had actually answered this post and I was sad...lol... *facepalm*
THANK YOU GUYS FOR ANSWERING!!!!!!!! That was all good to read and helped me think out of the box. Glorybee, thank you for those links.
I am glad that twist endings or surprise endings aren't all bad. I think I've got more than a couple coming along...
Yes. Go back to your original post and click "edit." Then scroll down below the post, and you'll see several options. One of them will be "notify me when a reply is posted." Click it, and then you'll get an email notification every time someone adds to this thread.
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