Thursday, April 4, 2013
Endings, good or bad by Janet Lane Walters
Before I start about endings, I'm wondering if anyone can help me get covers of books no longer with the same publisher off blogs. I used to know but I've forgotten how this is done.
Now about Endings. Writing the end of a story is as important as the beginning, The ending must do many things. The ending needs to satisfy the reader. The ending should tie up all loose ends. The ending may lead to other stories in a series. To look at each of these three elements can make an ending good or bad.
What does satisfy mean? Not necessarily a happy ending. The story can end tragically and still satisfy the reader. To satisfy the ending should have the reader thinking, Yes, that's how it had to be. When starting a story, writers struggle and try to entice the reader into the story. The ending can also entice. The ending if satisfactory can pull the reader to want to read other stories by the same writer. This has happened to me as a reader. I've reached the end of someone's book and thought how I wanted to read other books by that author. And I have. I've also read books where the ending left me cold and I've never read that author again.
The second point is tying up loose ends. Granny tells the young person. "I used to wear those boy's clothes." The character asks why. "I'll tell you later." But she never does. The reader has been intrigued by that bit of the story. But the answer hasn't been told. The reader may go back and search for the reason and not finding why may never read that writer's stories again. When writing those interesting bits, make a note to give the answer somewhere in the story.
Series writing means the writer wants readers to read the next book and the next book. That means ending the story on a tease, on something that draws the reader to book two, three and however many stories are in the series. When writing what used to be Flight, but is now titled Escape, the four characters have left the town and are fleeing through the snow. They mentally reach the one they had to leave behind and hear him say that he has to die. They have also touched the villain's thoughts and know he is searching for them and trying to trap one of their group. The ending hopefully will make the reader go to the next book to find the answers and that book will end on another question to send them forward.