Ending Your Story

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We’re all writers here, right? I know most of you have several manuscripts complete at the moment. Some of you probably have dozens. Well then that means you have some experience bringing your stories to a close.

Before I begin, I first want to say that I have no issue with happy endings. Fiction is not supposed to be 100% believable, otherwise how could you have all the crime series that never seem to end? Now let’s talk about ending your story. Personally, I’m a big fan of the ending that fits. So if the main character must lose someone close to him/her, then I’m okay with that. If the main character gets seriously injured in heroic fashion, then I’m okay with that. Or even if the story leaves you with a cliffhanger. I have no issue with any of these as long as it fits.

I think writers can be guilty of writing a happy ending just for the sake of doing so, at times. I’d say that’s the only issue I’ve had with story endings. The ones that leave you scratching your head like “whaa?”and thinking how in the heck did the author come up with that. I’ve never once had an issue with a story ending in a manner that forces you to read the next book in the series. Or ending badly for a main character in the book. I honestly think it’s more difficult to write these kinds of endings. Because readers have almost come to expect a positive resolution to the events throughout the book.

When it comes to my own writing, well I have just the one story that certainly had a happy ending. But I have every intention of continuing the series and absolutely throwing in some curve balls when it comes to the endings. Am I going to have Andrew killed in a shootout with a bad guy during his last case? Eh, probably not because I don’t want him to go out like that. But you never know, right?

What about you? In your writing do you have any preference when it comes to endings? Or perhaps in your reading.

PS: I apologize for not replying to comments at all recently. I have a giant orange number staring me in the face right now of pending comments. I’m going to do something about this. Finally. But I always read what you guys say. Always.

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7 thoughts on “Ending Your Story

  1. I like an ending that fits. Which sounds flippant but a good ending has a logic to it that’s rooted in the world of the story. A grafted on ending takes me out of the story, no matter how good the writing or the plotting, sometimes you can hear a writer sigh ‘fuck it’ and the whole thing collapses. Even the memory of it gets tainted on some occasions.

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  2. I tend to do terrible things to my characters at the end of the book. I’ve killed one by ripping his soul in half and completely ruined another’s life by turning him into a vampire which got him expelled from school and disowned by his parents. The ending of my current book is probably going to feature imploding relationships and a nervous breakdown.
    In the happy column I did once let a character live and set off on a probably hopeless quest and she seemed to be satisfied with that. At the very least it was a satisfying conclusion to her story.

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  3. I did a good ending for the main character and a bad/leaves you hanging ending for another big character…who becomes the main character in the second book.

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  4. I must admit that I’m very partial to happy endings. In fact, an unhappy ending will ruin an otherwise great book for me. I mean, life is full of unhappy endings, at least books can provide a little comfort. Having said that, I don’t like endings that don’t fit, so gratuitously adding a happy ending where it doesn’t fit, won’t help that book in my opinion. So basically, I want endings that are both good/fitting and happy. That goes for my own writing as well as other people’s books.

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  5. For the stories I’ve written, I’d say they had happy endings. Not all of the endings were perfect–there was something lost or lessons learned but there was closure for the main characters to move on with their lives. As a reader, as long as the story has closure, I don’t mind if it has a happy ending or not.

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  6. I’ve herad of people who hate cliffhangers and won’t even start a series if they know there is one…strange. I end mine where it logically ends for me.

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  7. I’m a big fan of endings that fit, too, but I’m an even bigger fan of happy endings. I’ve had MANY stories ruined by unhappy endings that also didn’t fit.

    My stories have happy endings, probably as a result of being an unsatisfied reader too many times.

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