Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Endings

Today I'm thinking about endings and new beginnings, but this is because I'm closing on a new house. Still, it shouldn't be surprising to you how important endings are, not only in your personal life but when it comes to writing a short story or book.

Have you ever watched a movie that didn't end 'right'? Did you wonder if you'd wasted your time?

Did the movie give you pause? Were you trying to fix it in your mind?

Have you ever read a book that didn't end 'right'?

I'm not saying that a book needs to end in complete happiness, or that the ending should be obvious, I'm talking about an ending that feels right in the gut. It might be a complete surprise to you, it might even be a bit of a depressing ending, but the ending is as it should be. And you feel it.

This book had a completely different ending from my first or second choice,
but it was the right ending for the book

Especially if you're writing a sequel, the ending needs to be 'right.' It needs to give enough closure to the book, and enough unfinished story to get you to the next book.

If your book is a stand alone, you need to be awfully sure that the ending is the 'right' one.

How do you do that?

I usually have a list of possible endings before I begin my book's journey, but I try not to get set on the ending until much later. Why? Often, the main character will tell me through the story that the ending isn't what I first imagined. Yes, I will hear it from the main character. It won't necessarily be words spoken, but I will get a gut feeling that the answer is 'this' one, and not the option I first figured on.

Book beginnings, like book endings, will make or break your book. If the beginning isn't right, no one will read past the first page; if the ending isn't right, you may have a bit of a struggle getting readers to pick up a second book you've written.

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