Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ending With A Bang! Writing That Leaves Your Reading Wanting More

Final scenes in novels need to leave a lasting impression that makes the reader eagerly await your next book. Its commonly quoted, “The first chapter sells your novel, the last chapter sells the novel after that."

With that in mind here are four essential ingredients for a good ending. Use these tips and you'll leave your reader wanting more.

1)Is it satisfying? All novels need a satisfying ending. This doesn't necessarily mean a happy one, but one that wraps up the story line and makes the reader feel the story is complete.

2)Does it seem natural? Ever read a novel where it seemed like the author just got tired of the story and decided to end it two pages later? An ending must seem naturally grown. If it doesn’t evolve, we won’t believe it. The characters need redemption or there has to be a valid reason why its lacking. Often my endings get tweaked quite a bit while editing, to make them more believable and less contrived.

3)Does it end with a bang or a sigh-worthy last line? Every good book ends with a great last line. A line that moves the reader in some way. While the first line in your novel should intrigue, the last line should leave a lasting impression.

4)Does it tie up loose ends? Sometimes authors have one or two mini endings, to tie up subplots before the final ending. Stand-alone novels should not leave the readers wondering “What happened to that character?"  Novels in a series can have more intrigue that leaves you awaiting the next installment.


Here are several examples of stellar endings from some of my favorite novels:
1) Shakespeare's Lady by Alexa Schnee : "I knew the world would never remember me or what I had done, but it would never forget the man I loved." 

2) Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta: "I squeezed his hand as tightly as I could, never wanting to let go. Yet I knew if I didn't, I would never discover the other side of love. I took my first step of faith." 

3) For Such a Time by Kate Breslin : " A soft breeze arose at that moment, steady and sweet across the hills of Lvov. And Hadassah smiled, hearing His whisper."

These endings showcase the points above, yet are all very different. "Born of Persuasion" is the first book in the "Price of Privilege" series so this particular ending hints at more to come. "Shakespeare's Lady" is an example of an ending that isn't exactly happy, but still finishes with a satisfying note. "For Such a Time" is the perfect happy ending. The characters have gone through trials, loved and lost, but they came out stronger in the end and the reader is now content.

Try these tips yourself and you’ll be sure to write an ending that shoots straight for your reader’s heart.

-Happy Writing

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