Yesterday I mentioned a few endings you should avoid in order to leave the reader feeling satisfied when your book is over. A good ending gives closure to your story and also has the potential to lead into your next story (if it’s part of a series). There are right ways and wrong ways to end your story, so I’d like to point out some of them.
-The protagonist learns his or her lesson. The main character has learned something important that has the potential to change his or her life. It doesn’t have to be JUST the main character, but supporting characters as well.
-Sometimes the writer might decide to leave the ending open or as a cliffhanger. I mentioned before that you can do that, but you must tie up any loose ends concerning the theme and subplots. The theme of that particular story must not be left open. Whatever you leave as a cliffhanger can obviously lead into a sequel and can begin the next novel.
-There can be a bittersweet ending where the main character has to make some sort of sacrifice in order to make things right again. This is a common ending in YA novels and can often be somewhat sad (or bittersweet!).
-Twist endings are popular and can work as long as they’re done well. The twist has to be significant enough to be shocking and has to be believable. Obviously, you should have the twist in mind as you write your novel so you can properly lead up to it. Make sure, however, that it doesn’t cheat your readers out of a satisfying ending and avoid anything that discredits your protagonist’s actions.
-Your main character might have a massive revelation by the end of your novel. All of his or her choices lead up to one possible conclusion that they don’t realize until the very end.
-Where the main character wakes up AND IT WAS ALL A DREAM. Don’t do this. If your tension keeps rising and there’s no pay off, your readers will not like it. This often goes along with making your main character a nut job and everything wasn’t actually happening. It’s worked before, but it’s really hard to make it work again.
-If you reveal that your main character was dead all along, your readers will be disappointed. This is in the same vein as “it was all a dream”, but just as frustrating. People want to see action that has real consequences on the characters, not something that was never real to begin with.
-When the main character discovers that the antagonist is actually just his identical twin and they were separated at birth or something like that. This often betrays the trust that the reader has with the author. They want to see a situation they can relate to, not a case of mistaken identity. Your reader must always be able to sympathize with the main character.
Ending a novel can be very difficult, but you have to make sure you don’t leave your readers feeling cheated. Tie up everything that needs to be tied up and do your best to avoid cliches. Your readers will love your characters just as much as you do, so give them the ending they deserve. Take some time to think about how you’d want to see your characters end up, instead of trying to do something trendy. Let your characters tell the story.
Hope you all have a great weekend!