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Satisfying Endings

By On Apr 12 2010, 1:00 pm

Let’s talk about endings. Endings…some dribble off to nothingness, some are saccharin sweet and make me stop reading, others are ambiguous and confusing and I’m left wondering. When that happens I have to weave a fanciful ending in my head and have the ending I need.

I’m like most readers. I like an ending that is satisfying like a nice cup of coffee after a good meal. I want to know what the characters are doing in the future. But endings should be well thought out and complete, not rushed. I’m still mad at the ending for the last Harry Potter – can anyone say written in a hurry? I, as a reader, felt cheated.

In the case of romance books, I like to be hit over the head with a happy ending. I like knowing the characters will be together longer than the next month. Epilogues are an effective way of giving the reader a glimpse into that future.

Some of my favorite endings are:

A Room with A View by E. M. Forster – boy meets girl in Florence, they have troubles when returning to stuffy England, but boy eventually gets girl and they live happily ever after in Florence.

It by Stephen King – childhood friends vs. evil clown-demon-spider thing. The movie was actually pretty good too, which is rare in my opinion on books moving to the big screen.

Regina in the Sun by R. G. Alexander – okay I know this is one of my authors, but I love the ending. It ties everything woven throughout the story together.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie – can’t say anything, it would give it all away. But if you like mysteries, this is a good one.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – a very thought provoking ending. I have been afraid to read others in the series because I don’t think anything can trump this one.

So as an editor, I’d love to hear your feelings about endings. Do you like epilogues or do you like to leave the future to your imagination? What are some stories with memorable endings (non-romance endings are fine)?

Comments

9 Responses to “Satisfying Endings”

  1. Cathy in AK says:

    I want the ending to make sense. For a romance, that probably means HEA or HFN for the couple, but not every little thing needs to be resolved to the protagonists’ satisfaction. Life isn’t that tidy.

  2. Lainey Reese says:

    I’m all for the epilogues. I love seeing into the future and knowing that all is as it should be. Endings I hated? The Golden Compas! I mean really! and the season finally of Angel. To this day i still can’t talk about it without going postal. I know those aren’t books, but they are still endings that burn my butter!

  3. Eve Langlais says:

    I have to have an epilogue to feel the HEA. No matter how well written a story, there’s always a few loose ends—where will they live, do they have kids etc… An epilogue helps tie the missing facts together as well as give us a chance for one last smile at the characters who caught our heart as opposed to an abrupt ending right after the main conflict is resolved. Kind of like an intense workout, we need a cooldown period.

  4. Samantha says:

    The final season of the Rosanne tv show I totally despised!

    Harry Potter I’m with you there, I could have used so much more than what I got.

    Ender’s Game and it’s series has been on my keeper shelf since I was 12 and read it for the first time. I do like the rest of Ender’s books (haven’t read the latest yet) but if you’re scared to finish Ender’s story you can jump over to Bean, Ender’s Shadow is Game from Bean’s perspective and the Shadow books then continue with his story line. I was very satisfied by the end of Ender’s tales but Card screwed with us, we got the end but he’s only now going back to the middle.

  5. I am a sucker for a happy ending-no surprise. :)
    And as a reader I’m always dying for more-I want to know about everyone-I want everyone to have their own HEA or solve the riddle or save the day.
    I think I’m just really nosy. ;)

  6. Sharon says:

    I guess I’m in the minority, I loved the ending of the last Harry Potter book because I knew they all got what they wanted.

    I want my ending and when there isn’t one that’s satisfying I feel cheated. So, yes I adore epilogues. While I like epilogues that take place a month, two months or even a year out one of my absolute favorite epilogues comes from a Samhain published novel, Compromising Positions by Jenna Bayley-Burke. It take place over 5 years in the future and gave me a very warm and fuzzy feeling. Probably one of my favorite romance novels ever.

    That being said, I also adore “series books.” In those I don’t feel like I need to have an epilogue because we are allowed to “catch up” with the characters from the previous books. One of my favorite authors does a great job of this in every one of her books. I think Lorelei James’ Rough Riders series should be in the romance novel hall of fame. I seriously can not get enough of the wild McKay’s and their West cousins. I’m so hoping that once this generation of McKay’s have all been written about, she’ll start in on the next generation and we’ll be reading out our original heros and heroines becoming grandparents. A truly great series!

    As far as leaving endings to my imagination, while I have a decent one I want to see how the writer brings it all together, if there isn’t a true and defined ending to me the book isn’t finished.
    Sharon

  7. Sharon says:

    I guess I’m in the minority, I loved the ending of the last Harry Potter book because I knew they all got what they wanted.
    I want my ending and when there isn’t one that’s satisfying I feel cheated. So, yes I adore epilogues. While I like epilogues that take place a month, two months or even a year out one of my absolute favorite epilogues comes from a Samhain published novel, Compromising Positions by Jenna Bayley-Burke. It take place over 5 years in the future and gave me a very warm and fuzzy feeling. Probably one of my favorite romance novels ever.

    That being said, I also adore “series books.” In those I don’t feel like I need to have an epilogue because we are allowed to “catch up” with the characters from the previous books. One of my favorite authors does a great job of this in every one of her books. I think Lorelei James’ Rough Riders series should be in the romance novel hall of fame. I seriously can not get enough of the wild McKay’s and their West cousins. I’m so hoping that once this generation of McKay’s have all been written about, she’ll start in on the next generation and we’ll be reading out our original heros and heroines becoming grandparents. A truly great series!

    As far as leaving endings to my imagination, while I have a decent one I want to see how the writer brings it all together, if there isn’t a true and defined ending to me the book isn’t finished.
    Sharon

  8. Frank Tuttle says:

    A bad ending can ruin an otherwise great book for me. I wasn’t too fond of the Potter ending either; it smacked of someone in a huge hurry to start spending a very tall pile of money,. Ooo, meow, jealous much Frank?

    Best ending ever; Lord of the Rings, in which Frodo sails off for the West, and Sam heads home to the Shire, where there was a bit of a fire in the hearth and supper on the table.

  9. Tara says:

    I am in total agreement with Eve Langlais. And for the reason that life isn’t tidy, I need my endings to be tidy.
    I don’t want to spend waking (or sleeping) hours wondering what happened to such and such character because of a cliff hanger ending or an insert-conclusion-here ending.

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