Just finished “Odd Woman Out”, the weekly-installment book on Wattpad. Yay! T’is truly the end, the concluding conclusion, the final farewell.
That got me thinking that a worthwhile venture might be a quick post on what to consider re a book’s ending.
Given the end should prove the apex—the highpoint—of your book/story, you want to close with a bang. Depending on the genre, tension and excitement will vary. In a romance, you’ll want the heroine and hero to argue, to detest each other, to bicker, and then to—awwwww—kiss and make up forever and ever. In a mystery, you’ll need a body or five to impel the protagonist along a twisting trail to determine the demented killer, also known as Evil Villain. Whatever the genre, though, events and incidents should propel the reader toward a grand finale.
A grand finale can be surprising, unusual, even quirky. Engage readers’ imaginations. Tease them if the story/plot warrants it. What that grand finale shouldn’t be is ridiculous, laughable, or implausible. And, if you’re writing a series, leave some things unsaid—entice your readers to want to pick up the next book.
If you’re writing for the first time, read books in your genre to get a feel for what works. Research what makes for good endings. A one-off/standalone may have your main character(s) change . . . grow up . . . mature . . . become informed. A series can offer the same, but character growth and development could be extended into the next book(s).
Happy endings are wonderful. I love them. Life isn’t always that pleasant and things don’t continuously happen in our favor. But it’s ni-ice to have things work out in a story. It provides . . . yeah . . . satisfaction.
But, given your story, maybe things don’t end well. Maybe the heroine drives off into the sunset, leaving the hero at the side of the road. Or there’s a surprise (but not unbelievable) twist that has the protagonist doing something unexpected (but, again, not unbelievable).
You don’t have to provide a lot of action to build up to the climax, but you do have to keep your readers’ attention. Provide for tension and/or friction; get readers involved emotionally. They not only want to know—they need to know—what’s going to be revealed in the subsequent pages.
In “Odd Woman Out” (“OWO” as I fondly call it), Alex, the protagonist, returns to where she started, but she’s a little wiser, informed, mature. The story follows her physical—mental/emotional—journey, where she’s learned some difficult, painful lessons . . . . as we all [hopefully] do.
That grand finale is about what’s transpired, been gleaned, and realized. It’s not just “the end” . . . it’s a conclusion to [another] beginning.