Monday, September 27, 2010

What makes a good ending?

This is a serious question to my readers, and I'd really love your input!

I'm working on the final draft of my manuscript at the moment, and amongst the myriad of things to look at, I've been told the ending of the book is a bit abrupt.  I won't dispute this because I'm the student and am well and truly prepared to learn.  What I want to know, is what is the right way to end a book.

This is an adventure, but I've purposely left it a bit open at the end because I have a sequel in development already.  Being that I have a continuing story in my head, I can't neatly tie up all the loose ends and do the "and they lived happily ever after" thing, because, frankly, I want my readers to be desperate to get their hands on the next volume.  Still and all, I don't want them to feel like they just had a door slammed in their face, in case they become disillusioned and shirty and decide they never really liked the first book that much anyway...

So, what makes a good ending.  Do people want to wait to know what happens next, or is that too hard to bare?

In my epilogue it's been six months since the climax of the story, a few loose threads are tied up "looking back" over several paragraphs, then a new twist is brought in right at the end which leaves the main character wondering, "did that really happen", but they have physical proof it did, and that's then end of the book...  Until next time...  Maybe I need to go into more detail in the looking back bit.  Maybe I need to take the twist a bit beyond the moment of shock?  I don't know...

Luckily, I need to edit 20 odd other chapters first, but please tell me what you think makes a satisfying ending to a novel - particularly an adventure novel.

1 comment:

katef said...

Oh I am torn.... I like an ending to have a bit of a quirk but also to be somewhat predictable. I like a book to end, to tie up most of the threads and give me some closure... even if there may be a sequel. Hate endings that are not really endings because the story continues in another book... frustrates me!

Teenagers and the failing parent...