Response #6: Endings

Due March 26 or 27.

By ending, I don’t mean the last few pages, the denouement. By ending, I mean THE KNOCKOUT. The PAYOFF. The BIG MOMENT YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR.

Qualities of a Satisfactory Novel Ending

  • The ending seems both inevitable and surprising at the same time. It doesn’t “come out of nowhere.” It isn’t predictable. 
  • The ending is the result of the character’s actions. The ending is not the result of something happening to the character, but rather the result of a deliberate choice.
  • The ending must actually end. Something finalizes, concludes, gets tied off. Even if the story will go on as a series, there still needs to be some sort of provisional ending. 
  • Something changes. Otherwise, your novel is just a bunch of scenes strung together. 
  • The ending is sufficiently complex and brings together a number of layers–consider for example the end of The Sweet Hereafter. Nicole’s choice effectively concludes ALL the subplots of the book. 
  • The ending “matters,” meaning that there was something at stake and now, something is irrevocably changed. 
  • It’s emotionally or intellectually satisfying. 

Qualities of an Unsatisfactory Novel Ending

  • You cheat and everything ends happily ever after.
  • Or you gloss over some vital steps in order to “get to the end.”
  • You bail on a subplot, plot layer, and/or plot thread and leave it dangling. You leave burning questions still burning. 
  • The story is too simple, not layered, and so the outcome doesn’t resonate as fully for the reader, who thinks, “Eh…”
  • There’s only an exterior change in circumstances for the character, not an internal change. Or vice versa. 
What you need to do

Go ahead and write (or write about) what you think is the most pivotal scene, or series of connected scenes, what you imagine will be the end of your novel–remembering, of course, that this can certainly change later.

Don’t put your entire ending in this response, just a paragraph or a description of what will happen. Put the actual ending in your Weekly Words due Friday. For this response, respond to having written/thought through the ending. Consider these questions: 

  • Does the scene have a beginning, middle, and end? 
  • What do you imagine will be the scene immediately preceding this scene? 
  • What scene will immediately follow it? 
  • Why is this scene the most fundamental scene of your novel? 
  • Does it bring together the various plot layers and subplots of the novel? What will make it satisfying, do you think? 

Also consider these questions:

  • What do you like in an ending, generally? What don’t you like? What–to you–constitutes a satisfactory ending or “pay off”? 
  • What are some of your favorite (and least favorite) endings and what made them good (or bad)? What can you learn from them? 
  • How do you feel about having thought through the ending? Does this feel wrong? Does this feel good? Some say you should never know the end, because this takes all the surprise out of writing. Others say it’s impossible to write a novel and NOT know the end. What’s your opinion?

Remember that your response must be about 500-750 words.

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30 Comments on “Response #6: Endings”

  1. Sarah Chaney says:

    I’ve been dreading this question! This is a very difficult question to answer, especially since I’ve been working so hard creating plot layers, I haven’t yet fit them together. I know the climactic moment in my head, but I’m still trying to figure out how to build up to that moment and make it happen. The climax is only as good as the build up to it, so I don’t want to just throw out my climatic moment without much thought. There are some very tense scenes in my story for different characters, but I’m still not sure in what way to order them or how to weave them together effectively. The important scene leading up to the climax is when Amy finds out Mati is pregnant and essentially kicks her out (Mati leaves willingly). Up until this point, Mati who is conflicted is leaning toward abortion, while Amy pushes her daughter for an abortion. The climactic scene for Amy is when she visits her abortion counselor. Mati’s climactic scene is when she finds out from her father that Amy hates him because she thinks he raped her and Mati realizes she wouldn’t be alive if Amy had gone through with the abortion that everyone was pushing for. Due to my decision to have 2 protagonists who each narrate their own portion to the story, the scene will be stretched over 2-4 vignettes switching between points of view. This scene is crucial to the story because it plays along the theme of the story and is the turning point of the theme. Up until this point Mati is always doing what Amy wants. We think she is going to get an abortion but it is at the pivotal moment she realizes it isn’t what she wants. Up until this point Amy wants her child to have an abortion until she realizes she has become just the way her family had when she was pregnant with Mati. This scene will tie together the plot layers, including Brian and Bunny’s plot lines. I think the ending will be satisfying because a mother and daughter who think they are doing the best for each other is actually in their own interest.In endings, I like twists and unexpected endings. The best kinds are the ones you don’t see coming, but in hindsight you realize there were clues along the way. While most people think predictable endings are awful, sometimes we know what’s coming, but we want to know how we got there. I suppose Election is an example. We know that in the end Mr. M doesn’t keep his career, but we want to know how he got there. I feel like it is important to have a good grasp on your ending while you write the story (ironic considering I’m still floundering with it) because with that in mind you can build in foreshadowing and start prepping your characters for the change that will ensue in the climatic moment. While I think the ending can certainly change, having no idea where you are going is crucial. I personally think it’s silly that people say knowing the ending will take the surprise out. The story shouldn’t be surprising to you, you are the one who is mapping it out. If it does surprise me, that probably means I’ve made such a leap that the readers (who know less about the story and what I want it to be in my head) will have less of a grasp of the surprise than you do. We should write that surprise into the story intentionally. It should be a surprise for the readers, but I have difficulty seeing how it will be a surprise for us, the ones who built the story from nothing and have control over every little aspect of the story.

  2. Ryn says:

    I feel like I reimagine my ending every single time I add or change an earlier scene, but as of right now, I think I've nailed down, if not the ending, at least the pivotal scene in the novel which lets you know that there will be a conclusion. Here's a teaser for you:==Check below. Response was too long with it.==If I had to guess, the beginning would be the fall from the tree, the middle would be the lightning strike, and the end would be Jacques finally breaking his fall (and possibly something else?) somewhere on Noce. The scene right before this is Jacques confronting Pierre at the top of Noce, and despite his best efforts, Pierre tosses Jacques from the tree. Right after this, the rest of the forest catches fire, and Jacques must help everyone evacuate.This scene pulls together both Jacques' growing bravery and sense of “what is right” with the religious element that I've been slowly embedding within the novel, and gives the reader the sense of satisfaction that, in fact, Jacques will emerge victorious. Because Pierre tries to establish himself as the “god” of this world and acts poorly as a result, he foils Jacques' disbelief and reliance upon only himself (the godless character, I suppose) with the result being that that godless character, who derives his morality from his own actions and not from “God,” is stronger than the one who acts “in God's favor.”I'm pretty flexible with endings, perhaps because of my love of Snicket's books. Twelve of his thirteen books don't have “favorable” endings, necessarily. The villain still lives to commit crimes another day. Maybe this is why I've been drawn to comic books of late, too; I get the impression that villains are only diminished, instead of truly vanquished. The ending just has to make me feel as though the character has done more than survive the ordeal, but has really lived and grown as a result. Snicket doesn't even tie up all his loose ends in this series; it mimics real life, in a sense, that we can never have all the answers that we want for our characters or even the smallest of plot devices. It's strange, because I don't see that much in other works, but I'm so drawn to this series because it works here.Maybe that's why I don't like the ending of Mockingjay, the third in the Hunger Games trilogy. Instead of allowing those ends to dangle, Collins tries to wrap them all up at once, and the result is really sloppy. She simply ran out of space to say what she needed to say (she restricted herself to a very specific format in the texts) and the result feels contrived. Heck, the ending of the Twilight series feels the same way! Everything is so “neatly” tied up in a way that just doesn't feel organic. Obviously you'd want everything to come to some sort of conclusion, but trying to force that type of ending when it doesn't belong there just doesn't work.Honestly, I like knowing what my ending is, but not necessarily writing it. I find myself getting excited the more I write, wanting to write toward that ending so I can let my readers see the grand conclusion that I have in mind. And I like having all that in my mind, with me able to manipulate it and change small elements of it without having to worry about changing words written on a page (which I find much tougher than changing my mind around!) I don't know what to say about the “surprise” of writing, but I think writers have a general idea of where their novel is going to go. They may not know the exact scene, the moment in which everything will finally come together, but they have a general inclination for how they want the story to go. They know that to end the story in a certain way could be a cop-out; to end it another way, would be a risk. But they don't have to know the details of each, have those all hammered out. They can write on that feeling and maybe surprise themselves as a result. Maybe that can lead to a different kind of growth as a writer.

  3. Ryn says:

    And the "pivotal scene" section:As Jacques tumbled from the hollow at the top of the tree, he wished to close his eyes. Above him, the sky burned black and grey swirls, and snow fell into his face. Thunder collapsed the air around him, the sound unchanging as he fell from the sky. He expected to die. From this height, with his back turned to the ground…it was almost a certainty. But he could not close his eyes, felt that same force pulling them open, to see the sky and Noce and Pierre, looking down at him from far above.In that next moment, a bolt of lightning connected with the top of Noce, and Jacques' world exploded in light. The force of the hit spun him, and one paw caught onto the edge of a branch. The scraping did not stop his fall, but it did slow, and he actively sought out a new branch to grab in his tumble as the smell of burning wood reached his nose.Burning wood…and burning squirrel.

  4. Zatoki says:

    I always have a beginning and an end floating around in my brain, but the road between them is always a rough one. But anyway, yes, the ending. I want a pivotal moment to be when Jinn runs out of energy. I'm not sure when that will happen, whether it takes years or months, but I want it to happen. And, from there, I want it to devastate Luther because, at that point in the story, he should be the only surviving human left on the alien world. Upon the death of an artificial being, he'll realize that, throughout all of the years he tried secluding himself, he didn't realize how he was never truly alone. And then I kind of want to end it from there, Luther lost, literally alone, his life from there on destined to be lonely.I believe this scene has a beginning, middle, and end: Jinn begins to shut down, Jinn shuts down, Luther comes to the realization of his eternal loneliness.After this scene, I kind of want Luther to carry around Jinn's body, looking for an energy source that will power the android, but never truly able to find it.After that, well, I'm not sure. Luther will probably give up, perhaps be surrounded by the inhabitants of the planet. I'm not sure if it is fundamental or not. It would emphasize Luther's loneliness and how he can never regain the time he lost while being forlorn. The inhabitants will watch him, though it won't be clear if they decide to kill him or not. It'll bring together Luther's angst, that he doesn't have to be alone nor need to be alone. Furthermore, it brings together the fact that you can't really survive on your own; we're a social species, and we need the help of others. Also, perhaps, if I don't make Luther give up on life at that point, it'll tie together the need for meaning in his life, that he needs to survive as long as possible as the last human in existence, but I'm not sure. Satisfying? I'm not sure. It'll probably be a bit more satisfying if I don't have Luther give up on life at the end.I generally like closure in endings, knowing that just about every plot thread has been snipped, though I do like some loose threads every once in awhile just to think over. I also enjoy ambiguous endings, to an extent. For an ending like that, it feels like it is more in the reader's control to answer the ending. I usually love it when the writer uses artistic elements to bring the ending to a stunning but mysterious ending. However, without a sense of beauty and clues, an ambiguous ending just feels rushed or half-assed. I really loved the ending to 2001: A Space Odyssey, the movie to be specific. Besides being one big acid trip, it just provided such wonder and mystery without putting words to it. Your perception of the ending could be completely different than the guy sitting next to you. However, the novel kind of ruins that sense of alien wonder and clearly defines what happens in the ending. I also love endings that appear ambiguous, but leaves some hope for the future, kind of like Battle Royale. There's somewhat of a loose thread, but you are still left satisfied. I think 2001 and Battle Royale's endings might help me, because that's what I kind of want to end with, a feeling or mood rather than an exact literal ending.Well, I always have the issue of knowing an ending before I know the path to getting there, but, at this point, I'm worried that I might not have enough plot layers to give the ending much weight. I want to stay with this ending for now, but as my novel grows, I believe the ending will grow as well, mutate slightly in order to stay with the flow of the novel. Otherwise, it'll feel out of place, forced.

  5. Maye says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Sondra says:

    I have really been dreading having to fully plan out my ending, since I think of some way to change it every time. I know that I want the pivotal scene to be when Lorraine goes to Amy’s funeral. I’ve been working with a way to write the story so that the reader is being led to Amy’s funeral the whole time, but doesn’t really notice that until they are there. I’m still debating on if I want this reveal of the pivotal scene to be the scene itself, or if I want to write a scene before it that gives it away a bit more than the smaller clued throughout the book do.In the pivotal scene, Lorraine goes to Amy’s funeral and meets her daughter, Lily, for the first time. At the funeral, she learns a lot of things she hadn’t known before about Amy and what her life had been like for the past 5 years. The two had just started speaking again, but neither had filled the other on in on anything of real substance in their lives, just the pleasant stuff worth bragging about. The beginning of the scene would be when Lorraine and Mark show up at the funeral and are greeted by Andrea and Amy’s Aunt Jodie. The middle would be the conversations that take place with those two characters where Lorraine learns about Amy’s life, and the end would be when she leaves the funeral with plans to stay in town and go see Jodie the next day.I’m unsure yet of the surrounding scenes. I know that I want to begin the book with a prologue that is just a short scene in which Lorraine and Mark are on their way to the funeral, but the reader doesn’t know that yet. I’ve thought about the scene preceding the pivotal scene being one in which Lorraine gets the call that Amy is dead and decides to go to the funeral. I’m not sure if this would affect the prologue or take anything away from the pivotal scene, though. I’ve also considered just having the preceding scene be one with Amy and her daughter earlier in the day of her death, or sometime shortly before at least. The scene following the funeral, though, will be one with Lorraine and Aunt Jodie in which Jodie tells Lorraine that Amy had left something for her in her will – her daughter. The “father” doesn’t want anything to do with the child and Andrea had told Amy about Lorraine and Mark’s struggle to have kids of their own. There is also a letter for Lorraine dated 2 years earlier, shortly her husband left her and Lily for good.I think the funeral scene is the most fundamental because it’s the big “Aha!” moment for the reader, and it sort of begins to tie everything up. I know that Amy is going to have died in an alcohol-related incident, and I’m leaning towards a drunk driver. It will end the vicious cycle of alcoholism and hurting with Lily in that if she goes to live with Lorraine and Mark she will be away from her grandfather, and Lorraine’s father as well. I’m still not sure if Lorraine’s father is capable of changing his own ways much yet, since any way I try to write that just seems cheesy and unrealistic.The novels I read usually have that big moment, whether it be the final struggle in which the main character finally wins over what they’ve been working for the whole novel, or a slight shocker where some bit of information is given that the reader should have seen coming but didn’t. I think in order for me to feel like there’s a “pay off” something had to go right, something has to be what the character wanted, but at the same time it can’t be a complete happily ever after scenario. My favorite endings that I can think of at the moment are of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, because you don’t think you know how it can end when you read it, but once you’re finished you realize that’s the only way it could have ended and given the reader any sort of satisfaction. I think it’s good to have an idea of an ending in mind, but I don’t think the writer should be dead set on it. Sometimes as you keep writing the middle, the ending has to change.

  7. CWestbrook says:

    Chelsea Westbrook I honestly am not sure at all about the end of my novel, because I usually let things come to me as a write and let the ending write itself. But I have a vague idea of where I think the story will go. Originally I thought the end was going to be my character Aris turning into the monster she becomes in the dark, and then attacking and killing her father. Now though I think that might be somewhere closer to the middle. I was thinking about having Aris and her best friend Billy try to find a cure for Aris’ infection and go to her parents lab to try and find something. I was thinking that there they could find a whole bunch of other experiments done on humans including what is happening to Aris. The end scene will have beginning middle and end but right now I am not sure what the very end will be. If somehow the two characters finding the experiments will become the end then it will begin with them sneaking into the lab to try and find a cure, the middle will be them finding the patients that have been experimented on, and the end may be a fight between some of the experiments and Aris. I think before this scene Aris and Billy will be planning on what to do about their situation and decide that the only way to help Aris is to try and fine the cure and since they cannot go back to Aris’ house they try her parent’s lab. After the scene I have no idea. I do not want it to be all wrapped up in a happy ending, but I am not sure how exactly I want it to end yet. I just have to wait until I am writing closer to those scenes to figure out how the story will go. My original ending is still the most fundamental in the novel as of right now. It is fundamental because Aris finds out that she had an older sister that died because of an experiment and she ends up killing her father. Basically Aris finds out her whole life has been a lie and she has just been an experiment. She has to deal with her knew knowledge and the fact that she killed her father. The end will wrap everything up and connect everything that needs to be connected. Right now I do not really have any subplots going on, so if I can incorporate some then they will definitely come together with the main plot of the story. I will not be happy with the end, or novel, until it is satisfying to me, so I hope that it will be satisfying to others. When I read I like endings to make sense and not be completely happy. I hate when stories throw the reader for a complete loop and put something in the end that has nothing to do with the story. Once I read a big that I liked a lot until at the end big foot suddenly showed up and was connected with the rest of the story, it did not make any sense and made me hate the book. I do not want readers to expect my ending, but I do not want to throw something random in their either. The best endings for me have epilogues that sort of wrap up any loose ends that cannot be explained from the ending of a story. Epilogues are nice because they are set some time later and can explain the question readers are wondering about what will happen after the big finale. I think it is good to have a rough idea of a story before writing and consider where the end may go, but I know that while I write the end will change a lot because as I write I get knew ideas. Sometimes the story takes a completely different turn at some point in the novel and can change the whole outlook and main story line. For some people having an exact structure works for them, but I like to have a vague plan and just sort of role with it, because I know that knew things will happen as I am writing.

  8. asbrewster says:

    Endings are my worst enemy – so I apologize in advanced for my answer of my own ending, or lack thereof. I haven't really decided how I want things to end. Although I know what happens and I've actually written a scene or two that could be considered the end, I'm not sure exactly what I'm doing.I know right now that my killer gets caught. My main character is one of the cops who chauffeurs him to the room where he will be put to death. *it is roughly a decade after the climax of the story and from the time he was taken into custody* She decides after she's finished helping tying him to the chair, to tell him about their child. She simply tells him the name and age of their child and walks out. She wasn't going to tell him anything, but decided to anyway. She then goes to the observation room and watches the final moments of his life (which is more emotional for her than it sounds). When she leaves, we see a scene with her and her new husband (a character from throughout the book) and their interaction together with her now 10-12 year old daughter – the product of the man who was just killed. (sounds weird, I know.)I'm not entirely sure yet if this is going to be it. I have a LOT of work to do when it comes to plot layers, how they're presented, and when. I feel like I want a little more conflict and tension at the end, which right now isn't bad, but could be better. I do like, however, that I was able to show that she has been able to move on and continue a relatively normal life through the portrayal of a scene rather than saying it through her personal exposition. The scene needs some work, but I like the idea of it. The scene that is immediately before this will probably be years before and the capture of the killer – some scene blips from trials, etc. Definitely the scene where he is sentenced to death.The scene after? Well, I'm not exactly sure.Maybe I'll have my character get knocked up again with her husband. Then maybe have a new case arise – either a copycat of my killer or a whole new one.I don't think this scene is the most fundamental scene – yet. Like I said, I have a lot of work to do, and I need to be able to answer some questions that I might have not answered – maybe find a way to get my killer to talk about why (in a realistic way. His antisocial personality gets in the way a lot – he won't ever clearly admit to what he's done, only say what other criminals are thinking.)I think this scene, once I've added a little more to it, would bring together plots to a point. I have a lot of work to do in that area – especially when it comes to my other characters. I always focus SO much energy on my main story and main character, that more often than not my subplots suffer. I'm still working on where I can plug in tension and other characters' desires to make my novel riskier and deeper, I do have some ideas on how to do this and connect them in the end, but I haven't gotten quite satisfied with these ideas yet.I don't particularly like my ending because I feel like my story has so much potential, but I haven't reached it yet. I'm simply skimming the surface of something that I want to get to the bottom of – and it drives me mad. I always have these great ideas, but its so hard for me to convey them in a way to show the turmoil and create scenes that get other people to understand my character and the situations I have in my head. I'm making a lot of stuff up as I go – which is both awesome and bothersome to me. I really saw my story going in another direction, with a different tone and different ways of exposition, but I haven't got there yet. Its a huge work in progress. I'm not satisfied with it and won't be for a long time. Honestly, It's been really hard for me to keep working on this – I've been wanting to scratch everything – but I feel like I've invested a lot of work in it, so I might as well see where it takes me. Maybe its just a temporary loss of passion.

  9. Jgmartich says:

    The ending is probably something I will have to rework a dozen times. I enjoy resolution but also want to leave things open. When I read I'm searching for any type of catharsis the story will provide, and I would like to do the same with my novel. The ending that have have plotted out now goes like this: The main character must travel back to Chicago to pick up the rest of Cameron's things. Cameron killed himself and has left the friends in Chicago devastated. The main character get's beat up for stealing from a drug-dealer and is taken care of by Mary, the ex-girlfriend. Mary must move out and the two make plans to leave the Midwest entirely. I'm not sure where they will go yet. I guess that I'll do more planning with the specifics this week.

  10. Cindy Martin says:

    Endings are always the hardest part of a story for me. Except for this time. I actually know how I want to end my story. As the story is all about Katie’s personal guilt and regrets, it’s only fitting that her biggest regret goes at the end. So the most pivotal moment will be the letter she writes to the son she could have had. I haven’t decided yet if she had an abortion or if she just gave her baby up for adoption. Whichever option it is, it’ll have happened pretty early in her life. I’m thinking probably around 18 years old or so. This will have been the biggest choice she ever makes in her life and it’ll affect everything else. So the rest of the novel will be her gaining the courage to face the decision that she made.I don’t know what will come before this letter. The exact order I’m going to put events in is a work in progress. Each scene will increase in the level of guilt Katie feels about the decisions she made in that situation. But I’m still working on what parts of her life are most pertinent to her story. So until I figure out different sections of her life, I can’t figure out how to piece them together. All I know right now is that the novel will not be chronological. It won’t be a timeline of her life.What comes after the letter will most likely be a final letter to her daughter. She knows her daughter is going to go through everything she’s written, and Katie doesn’t want to leave her daughter with unanswered questions. She’ll also use the final letter as a chance to say goodbye.Normally I wouldn’t want to know the ending to my novel. I prefer to “find” the ending. But I think in this case, it’s a good thing I know how it’s going to end. Katie is writing everything after the events happen, and after the ending happens. So everything she writes is going to be colored by that final letter. Everything is leading up to that. If I didn’t know what the ending was going to be, I couldn’t hint to it and make everything build up to it.I honestly can’t think of what makes a good ending for me. It all depends on the rest of the story. For example if I’m reading a mystery novel, I want to know who the killer is at the end. If the killer isn’t caught, it’s not a satisfying ending. But if it’s a more literary novel, an ending with that much closure isn’t always necessary. For example, in Inception (I know it’s a movie, but it’s all I can think of right now), I wouldn’t have been satisfied if I’d been told that Cobb made it out. It’s much more enjoyable to not know how it ends in that situation.

  11. I'm seeing a consensus among most of you that you're not really sure where your novel endings are going or how they'll end up, which is (in my opinion!) totally fine, and probably a healthy thing. Forcing an ending inorganic to the rest of the narrative could be a huge detriment.At the beginning of the semester, Cathy told us that now is not the time to write the novel you think others will like. Now is the time to write the novel you want to write. In this context, then, I don't see ambiguous endings – or perhaps a clear outline of an ending – as such a terrible thing in terms of this noveling class.For me, all I ask for in a book is that it not cheat me in the end. Cathy's got some great notes on here about various "cheats" that some writers use, and nothing to me is more dissatisfying than working through an entire novel only to feel gypped in the end. I feel like there is more forgiveness in the body of the novel to take the story in a direction the reader might not have expected, or to reveal some kind of shocking twist, but if that happens at the end, there's a real risk of alienating the reader and making them regret having spent the time and effort on a novel with an unsatisfying ending (unsatisfying here being in the "cheating" sense, not necessarily plot sense).A lot of writers' interviews I've read or seen have the writer saying they wanted to be true to the characters and true to the story they were writing. So even though the author is in charge of the writing, it's almost like the story is doing the telling to the writer. And in this way, even if the end of a novel isn't always happy and cheerful, and the characters don't always get what they want, it's still able to feel like a "true" ending.For those of you who don't have a clear ending in mind: Does this worry you? Is it exciting? Are you, as writer, just along for the ride the way a reader would be?

  12. Amy Brookins says:

    Endings are so hard for me! I never want to leave the story I've immersed myself in. I always feel like every time I put myself in a story I leave a little part of myself behind when I finish the story. It's so hard to try and answer this question because I don't feel like I've truly built up enough layers and interest with my characters to have an ending yet. I know that it should help to have an ending in mind when starting out a novel, at least that's a helpful way to go about things. And that's even prevalent in my teaching courses where they are having us come up with unit plans. You have to know the end goal. Perhaps it's too much of my 'student mindset' and not enough of my 'adult mindset' but I'm really not focusing on the end goal and I'm only trying to focus on the here and now. To be frank, focusing on the here and now is what I'm trying to train myself to do. If I tend to think about end goals and things to far in the future I tend to freak myself out. Which doesn't help anyone. So I just need to learn that it's good in some cases such as these to look towards the end and to see how I can manipulate my characters to get them there. Ultimately I have to make a decision; something I'm not too keen on.I know that I want the final scene to bring Mae and John together. I haven't decided yet whether or not they end up together. I feel like this will be the critical point in the novel. The "oh my gosh does she end up with him?" moment. The scene immediately after will either be in the form of an epilogue much like in Harry Potter 7 where the action has happened and then we get a "6 months later" span of time. In this time lapse the two characters will either have split or will end up together. I think that this scene is going to be the most important because everything has been building to this one idea: will they "live happily ever after"? The audience is going to pushed and pulled through this novel and they're going to see the struggles that this couple has with trying to get this relationship to work and that's what is going to test the relationship. I think that everyone would want to know whether or not they end up together. If I was to simply leave it up in the air, not giving any indication as to whether or not they get back together, the audience would come find me and roast me alive! Nobody wants to be lead around only to be left hanging. Hopefully, once I work in the other character's points of views it will create more layering and will make the ending that much more satisfying. I still need to work in what Mae's friends think of John and how they view the relationship. I feel like their opinions are going to sway Mae one way or the other. She may go rebel or she may take head of them. But either way, I think that by bringing in their opinions and then bringing it all the way to the end, showing that what they felt had meaning, will bring a sense of catharsis to the readers.

  13. Cathy Day says:

    A sure-fire way to think about endings is to go back to the beginning. Where is your character emotionally at the beginning of the novel? Novels are about change, about a character (or characters) starting in one place and ending in another. That's the arc. Mikey in Please Don't Come Back is passive at the beginning. He doesn't understand why his father left him. By the end, he has become a father himself and does understand, and he acts, he chooses not to leave.

  14. Phoebe Blake says:

    I like an ending with a great climax and even better resolution/denouement. I don’t want to be left hanging at the end. Before I even start writing out a novel, I like to think out the entire novel. I get a good idea of what the goal is for my main character, what the beginning, middle, and end will be. I focus a lot of my ending, maybe even more so than my beginning. I don’t want a reader to put my book down and be like, “What just happened?” or “I don’t get it?” Nothing pisses a writer off more. So the ending is critical. I don’t normally like to show my ending, but here’s the start of the final scene:Chimes danced and clanged against the glass door as two women walked into the nail salon. The younger of the two looked around and inclined her head as she smelled the spiced acetone air. She turned and touched the older woman’s shoulder. Her mouth moved and the word “Mom” came out. I watched the exchange between mother and daughter and sunk deeper into my pedicure chair. Feet soaking in blue salted water, magazine open and resting on my blimp of a belly, I heard them laugh and it sang its length to my ears. Before I knew what I was doing, my hand rested gently over the maternal roundness growing on the front me. A young Asian woman sat below me, coasting around the titled floor in a small stool preparing her work station. Finally, she stopped fidgeting and patted my left leg. I lifted my foot and set it down in front of her, letting the mother and daughter drift from my mind the best I could. We would never be like them. I pulled my hand away from my bumping stomach and moved it to the arm rest, fingers clinching the front edge. The steam from the water bubbled around my swollen right ankle and hazed up into the air. Inhaling the fresh saltiness, along with scrubs and lotions, the scent felt soothing until my body suddenly reacted. My hand shot back to the beach ball on my front. A jarring shift, like a deep crack moved inside and anticipated to crack further. It was a discomfort I knew all too well. The shift occurred so quickly, I suddenly had to be alone. My arms tightened up and my palms panicked as they held my belly. I watched the young woman straighten her silver utensils on the tray beside her after asking me twice if the maroon colored I’d picked really was mine. I knew this was my last chance to escape without making a scene. “Would you mind if I used to bathroom first?”“Oh, no, no. Please. Follow me.” She spoke quickly like her words were running a race, and then helped me out of the massaging chair and into my original flip flops. Waddling behind the skinny young woman, I tried to stay calm. The feeling was so similar, so close to all the last ones. I had done this six times. The plan was right on schedule, no interruptions. The ups and downs were normal, but these hasty emotions were not. I was incapable of feeling and bonding was nonexistent in my world. So why were tears pressing against the backs of my eyelids?“Here you go. I go wait for you.” She spoke fast again and left, for which I was grateful. I entered the small square room: toilet, mirror, soap dish and a vase of flowers on the sink. I placed my hands on the sinks edge and let out a few deep breaths. The looks the mirror gave back at me confused me of all the plotting I had done. The face staring back wanted to be a mother as terror for what I was internal feeling became more of a reality. What if I did this? My mother half asked me. What if I just restarted? I could pretend Ian was alive and this baby, whether boy or girl, was Shelby. The thoughts swam, the ideas purged forth. Balling my hands into a fist, I stood up straight, looking away from the haunted mirror. Before I could tell myself no, no I could not be a mother again, the crack widened and the gush I had been waiting nine months for hit my shoes and splattered the Asian tiles below.

  15. I apologize for the late response. I did not see Sarah's email until just now. I will try to be quicker next week. As for the ending…I really am not sure what to do with it yet. In all honesty, I am unhappy with the progression of the novel thus far, and want to rework most of it. I am thinking of focusing on two perspectives for the rewrites: Drew and Freddy. I am already focusing on Freddy and he has been the only perspective up until my words the last two weeks. I do know that at the end there will be death, potentially two deaths, maybe more. (I think I'm just displeased with my characters and want to get rid of them to make them more appealing through tragedy.)Right now, this is the idea I am going to start shooting towards. First, with Drew, I want her mixed feelings for Elaine and Mark to influence her into jumping off of a bridge. This does not seem like enough reason, obviously, but I want to develop Drew a lot more to give her reason as to take her own life. Drew and Freddy are going to be revised to become more foils, or at least parallels in the story. Both have feelings for the same girl, Elaine, and neither of them end up with her in the end. Drew's death will come near the end, but will not finish the story. The main plot line that I have been writing around involves the writers and artists living in the house trying to raise enough money to save their home. After Drew's death, the other residents of the house will fail to raise enough money for the home. The group will put together a book and will publish it in tribute to Drew's memory. After loosing the house, Freddy will be left on his own without the others. I want to develop the panic attacks he has. Last week I introduced a dream sequence I was not entirely certain of what to do with, but I think I may have found a use for it. During the panic attacks, I want to send Freddy through these dream sequences which begin to follow a separate plot line. I am thinking that after Drew dies, Mark begins to go into a heavy depression and eventually overdoses. Upon hearing the news of loosing Mark, Freddy falls into a panic attack and remains locked in the dream sequence, in effect marking his death. I am also considering about having an epilogue from either Elaine or Peter, to wrap things up. Still not certain about a lot of it. Just a lot of trial and error at this point.

  16. Michael Cox says:

    Ugh… The dreaded ending question.I guess one of the most pivotal points near the ending of my novel is the revelation that the prisoners that the rebels are trying to slave have become slaves to the nanobots controlling them. This especially becomes dreadful since the Sol are forcing the rebels to fight their former comrades. (And probably a fine metaphor in this politically charged novel.) I guess the beginning of the scene would be the reveal of the slaves. The middle would probably be them realizing that their friends are fighting against them. The end would probably be finding shelter from them and looking for ideas.The scene proceeding is that one of the members of the group going to Dome CX betrays them and kills Fenway. There’s a lot of drama here followed by a lot of silence. This would be the calm before the next climatic wave of having an entire army of former rebels fighting against them. I’ll probably have a flashback here to make the silence stand still.For the scene following, I had the idea of Riley announcing himself to the slaves as a private in the Sol army and having him hug Fenway, who soon becomes a "nano-zombie." I had that this hug would be a loving embrace that would give Riley the ability to keep control and even be able to control the nano-zombies. However, this ending just doesn't sit very well for me because there’s a lot of mucking around just to make it work out.I used to think that my ending would be a happy one, but I don't think that will work. I didn't want to end my novel on a sad note, but I think now that there is no escape from the situation. I can’t think of anything that won't feel like a cheap Deus ex Machina at least. I suppose though that it’s a just metaphor for how I’m feeling about the political situation right now. We’re all trapped in the lives we’ve been given and either we join the zombies or die. Either way, it’s a death in some sense of the word. I feel like this ending to my novel is cynical, and may or may not be hard to sell, especially to mainstream publishers.Of course, now that I think about the kind of endings that resonate with me the most, I find most of my struggle with changing my ending to be ironic. I really do like realist endings that can often be depressing. I suppose all of it has rubbed off. Maybe I’m connecting way too much with my characters and want them to have a happy ending because I want them to have a happy ending. I certainly don’t like endings that seem like copouts, and that’s exactly what my happy ending would’ve been, an insulting copout just to get a happy ending. The depressing reality rears its head violently in my ending now. I feel like there’s no hope for them.

  17. Lacey says:

    The end of my novel is going to be a dramatic break up. Yes the high school sweethearts will go through multiple break ups along the way throughout the book but the ending will end in a big heart break and the tables will turn. No longer will the boy, Colton, be the one breaking up but the girl, Lacey, will end it for good. He will try to contact her multiple times and she will change her phone number. He will visit her house multiple times but she will never be there. Colton will leave a letter with her father and she will she will realize that it is nothing but the same exact thing he has always said. It would be like reading a script that he memorized.I like there to be satisfaction in an ending. I like twists, surprises, and big ta-dahs! I hate cliff hangers and endings that are just bizarre and weird. A satisfactory ending includes closure. It is always a happy ending including a prince and princess riding into the sunset or the evil antagonist meets his/her doom. I really liked the ending of Voyage of the Dawn Treador by C. S. Lewis because they find all seven lords and it was creative. Eustace is a changed boy and of course Aslan appears and sends Lucy, Edmond, and Eustace back home to England. I thought it was creative that they ended at Aslan’s country that has a large wave wall that separates it from Narnia. I did not like the ending of Pretty Bad Things by C. J. Skuse. It is about rebel twins who were abandoned by their father and separated. However, they get back together and go in search for their father. The ending ends in a cliff hanger and you do not know if they get away from the police or if the father dies. I cannot stand cliff hangers! Then there is not even a sequel! It will always be in the back of my mind.I feel like I have a goal to work towards now that I have me ending figured out. Since I have had this novel story in the back of my mind for a while, I have already planned most of the story already. It does not feel weird to me personally now that I have figured out how exactly I want the ending. Usually, I do not plan my stories. I let my brain take me away with my writing and then the ending is always a surprise. I think I prefer that way more. However, preparing the ending for this particular novel worked out well and did not bother me. I think it really depends on the story whether the author needs to figure out the ending ahead of time or not. If it is a short story I definitely do not think it is that necessary. However, for a novel it may be good to plan out the ending and storyboard it so that you have an idea where you’re going with the story.

  18. So…my ending isn't exactly clear since hopefully there will be a equal, so the ending at the moment is hazy. so onward for the questions! First off, the ending will have a beginning, middle and end scene. I would start off the last chapter/scene at the high school where Rath has to fight someone that he's been looking for. At first, Rath and Lyn and Hector will be at the school like always then something will happen and Rath will have to kick ass and do what he needs to do in order to kick ass, then the end part of the scene will be his decision to either stay or go in the human world. i will make sure that the ending isn't forced or cheesy or a what the hell just happened or wanting to throw the book into the fireplace. at the moment there isn't a scene after this unless it's the sequel. this scene is important because it'll be the turning point for the rest of Rath's life ahead of him in his choices and for the rest of the books. the last scene wont tie in together all of the plot or subplot layers because certain ones needs to be spread out in the other books unless i turn this book into LOTR. honestly, endings i don't mind unless it throws a curve ball and the ending makes no sense. i usually enjoy endings, with no sequel, to wrap up everything major or with a sequel, to really capture the moment and allow you to smile at the end and continue reading the rest of the books. i also want the ending to give me an adrenaline rush type of feeling where i'm too excited about anything else to think of anything else. i would have to say that i think only some authors know the book's endings, not everyone. i think one must write through everything in order to get to the ending and once again create that whoa moment for himself and the readers.

  19. Rlgibson says:

    The idea of coming up with a fitting ending in general has been a little bit of a battle. For the most part I have been writing my novel in a fairly chronological order, and in the mean time have been sort of deciding where it goes next based on what I just wrote. So, really, there is no real definite ending in play yet, but there have been some interesting ideas brewing around nonetheless. I felt the easier way for me was to start at the beginning and merge it all along as I go. Going from that, I've thrown both characters into troubled situations in which eventually they will have to work through to some extent. What I would like to do is smoothly merge the two story lines together to create one basic story where both characters are on the same page doing related things for the progress of the story. As of right now, neither knows the other exists. Through their twists and turns, the world starts to fall apart around them in a sort of civil, or world depending on how I take it, war. When that happens the two will try and prevent that from happening, but I don't want to entirely spoil how or if ,or to what extent for that matter, the level of success that is achieved in the end. Simply put, not everything works out for everyone. The beginning of this end would be at a point where the two main characters already are aware their society is falling apart. They must do something or put forth some sort of effort I'm not completely sure of yet for just a chance to save their world. Maybe like a huge weapon or something. Something that could potentially destroy their livelihoods. The middle then would be the action they take. This is where all the pieces would tie together, and the characters are forced to make the tough decisions. Having two central characters will give me room to move around. Maybe one thinks one way while the other disagrees with the actions chosen. The end then would simply be the result of said actions. That is mostly where it can't be spoiled as of yet. I'm not even certain how I'd like to go about this part, but I do know it will be big. If nothing else, I can tell you that there won't be any loose ends at this point. No tapered off questions or what have you. The scene following it would likely just be an epilogue of sorts. After this point, there isn't much further the story could go aside from something like that. Essentially it is a do or die situation and the end is just that. Either they do or they die. I don't know yet. The ending will be quite fundamental to the story, because this is the big pay off for the reader. They stuck through the whole work, and now they would get to know what happens to these lives. At this point in the story's timeline everything will have to be tied together either before or right then. Nothing could really go unturned, unless it is some small detail that doesn't really add to the ending at all. I think the pay off at the end will be worth the work though. I'm a little excited to see what I choose to do to these characters.

  20. Mo Smith says:

    I haven't actually penned my ending yet, but I have developed the plan for it. I have two moments that comprise the ending, for me. One is somewhat of a plot-based ending and the other is a character ending and by that, I don't mean death, I mean a realization–sense of clarity. There is definitely a beginning, middle, and end to each. The preceding scene will depend on whether or not I play with the new format that I have in mind, but it will focus on my protagonists present day family and the building tension in their family life. The following will be an inner monologue regardless. These two big scenes are fundamental because throughout the entire story, the protagonist is building toward moving on and the pivotal moment will the cause of and actual breakthrough for her in terms of over coming her guilt. (In the process, the reader will find out where her real guilt stems from)I do think it will be satisfying because everything that could have the reader turning the page will be summed up. All of the characters will have had their ending in the story as well as the subplot and the main focus. The two points that end the main stories will also coincide with each other so they don’t appear out of place.If I am reading a book that is part of a series, then I only expect the main storyline to be summed up, if only temporarily. I don’t mind if subplots are still open ended, leaving questions. If the book is singular, then I am most upset when subplots are ignored. It makes the book seem weaker. Either the subplots never needed introduced because they weren’t important enough to sum up, or the writer didn’t execute them well in the end. Something else that bothers me is the perfect happy ending. I don’t need a book to end in tragedy, but I would like to see a believable, realistic for the purposes of the story-type ending. One that I like is Perks of Being a Wallflower. The book is character driven and in the end, the character isn’t living happily ever after, but he has made a lot of progress and continues to. It’s believable and it’s happy enough. One thing I hate is when a writer tries to get as far away from a happy ending as possible on purpose. I think if you focus too hard on something you don’t want, you will ruin something else in the process. In a sense I agree with not having a solid ending, but in the forms of epilogues. The book in my hands should always have an ending of some sort whether it be personal growth or plot finale, but that doesn’t mean that the story can’t go on for the reader. I like to linger on a story after I finish it and imagine what will happen ten years later for the characters. I think the typical epilogue ruins that for the reader as well as the rest of the possible story because there aren’t enough pages to detail the afterwards. It makes what is written on the page seem like a bad summary of a book report.

  21. I think the pivotal scene in my novel will be after the monster is slain, and the villagers still regard Alexander with suspicion. There is a moment of stunned silence while the villagers take in the fact that the monster is dead, and then they turn to see their hero, only to find that he is half-elf. They smile and congratulate him, but only briefly and in a very subdued manner, and then they sling back to their houses. The scene right before that will be the climactic fight with the monster, when Alexander fells the beast. The scene right after it will be when Alexander takes up the last leg of his journey, disillusioned but still optimistic for his future. This is the most fundamental scene because this is when Alexander fails, despite all his best efforts and intentions. This is when he knows he will never get what he wants. It won’t actually bring the other subplot to an ending as well; I planned to connect the two subplots in the denouement. I think it will be satisfying, though, because Alexander learns and grows from the experience.I think, generally, I like endings with surprises. I think a satisfactory ending is when everything works out as expected, like how, in Sabriel by Garth Nix, Sabriel and Touchstone kill Kerrigor, but Sabriel’s father still dies. You knew the whole time that they were going to save the day, but even though Sabriel consistently believed her father was alive, the reader never believed he was. I believe you’re probably right that when everyone lives happily ever after, that feels like a bit of a cop out. I think, maybe, The Graveyard Book from Neil Gaiman is a bit like that. I mean, that ending is bitter sweet, but the way Nobody goes out into the world and gets the chance to go anywhere is just a little too perfect. The Andalite Chronicles by K. A. Applegate also has a potentially bad ending. It wasn’t unsatisfactory or illogical, but it felt pretty rushed. They travel across the galaxy to the Taxxon planet and then to another dimension, with each stage of the journey taking a significant portion of the book. Then Elfangor and Lauren just go and live on Earth in peace for several years before the Ellimist abducts Elfangor and returns him to the Andalite fleet – all in the last few pages. I thought it worked for the book, but it was a pretty risky move. I think the most important thing I learned from these was to not force the ending that you want. If the buildup is well-written, the proper ending will come naturally.It feels okay to have thought through my own ending, but only because I didn’t put too much thought into it. I think it’ll be pretty uncomfortable when I have to sit down and write the actual ending later this week. Or else I’ll be very detached from the scene because I won’t think it’ll work in the book, and so I won’t get emotionally invested in it. I think you have to have a general idea of where your novel is going, but it’s better to write in that direction rather than trying to plot out the exact course in advance.

  22. erynn.deanne says:

    This will be fantastic. I have had such a hard time deciding how I want my story to resolve. The main issue is whether or not I want Alice's father to physically come into the story or not. If he does, Alice will be able to confront him about how his choice to abandon her and her family has basically torn apart her life, and will be able to move forward with her life with a sense of closure. But if he doesn't come, she will have to find that strength on her own somehow. Right now, I'm leaning towards a confrontation with her father because I believe that will be such a great scene and can bring about a lot of understanding for Alice. This scene will be the big climactic scene, and the scene leading up to it will prompt Alice's sister, Molly, into finding their father because Molly believes if her father comes back to talk to Alice, Alice will start to get better and turn away from such a damaging life. Alice's friend, Katie, who always leans on Alice and Alice always cleans up Katie's messes, will call Alice repeatedly to come pick her up, yet again, from a frat house. Alice ignores her calls, without the knowledge that Katie had been drugged and raped and actually really needed help. Molly comes over to Alice's house to plead with her to come home and to let her know about Katie, but Alice comes across as unfeeling and doesn't seem to care about Molly or Katie, or what happens to them, and locks herself up in the bathroom until Molly leaves. Molly decides that the only thing that will bring Alice back is if she finds their father. I think this brings in the subplot of Katie and Molly, especially Katie, because Katie is someone who constantly leans on Alice without knowing how it affects her, and the outcome of Alice rejecting her when she really needs help will definitely change their friendship. And Molly steps up and takes control, which she never had to do when Alice was around, which shows growth in her character as well. I don't like wrap-up endings where everything comes together with a nice little bow on top, or where it comes together so abruptly that you feel that the story was cut off a little bit too soon. I think the ending needs to show that the character has grown in some direction after the pivotal scene,and is still going to move forward in that direction after the last page has been turned. I feel good about kind of knowing where I'm heading, and I can kind of map my character based on how I know she is going to turn out. I want to make sure she reaches certain roadblocks and experiences before the story ends. It is a little unnerving though, especially the closer I get with my character, because I feel like I am glimpsing into a real person's future, and I'm holding out vital information that could save my character a lot of pain (haha).

  23. ((Daniel Na))Oh man, endings. Probably my weakest point as a writer. Ok. Here it goes:Thankfully, my climactic moment is pretty easy to spot. As the story progresses, I need my main character, Allo, to transition from a reluctant boy who wants nothing more than to get out of the mess he's been thrust into, into a young man who has realized his responsibilities, and is ready to accept them (heh, when I put it like that, it sounds like the Lion King). The climax has to be a confrontation- a battle, be it magical, mental, or physical, between Allo and the cultist-sorcerer. It's going to happen when the chips are down, things look hopeless, and all of Allo's allies are out of commission. It is here that he must really dig inside of himself and come up with something spectacular, or face the end of his world. I think immediately after, there needs to be a scene where he has to choose to either kill him or spare his life. As for right before, I'm thinking he and Aada get captured, seeing how Meilai needs both their amulet and ring in order to do his hocus pocus whatnot. This adds a bit of that deadline tension to the story, raising the stakes a little further.I don't know what makes an ending satisfactory to me. I feel like, right now, it's one of those things where "I know it when I see it". I definitely think character change is a part of it though. I think that, at least for the genre I prefer to work with, there is a certain open-endedness to the end of stories, because, it is ultimately about building a world, and the world does not cease to exist when this certain character's tale is done.I think it is certainly *useful* to know the end of your novel. This gives you something to work toward, a direction you can keep in mind. I'm working with a general concept of where I want my ending to be. I feel like you need at least that, or you run the risk of writing yourself into a tangled mess with no clear purpose, or sometimes, end in sight.

  24. It’s hard to actually finalize the ending to my story just yet, as I have two different ideas in mind. One of the endings is something similar to a happily ever after, without any cheese factor, and the other is a more emotional and heartbreaking ending. As can be expected the more heartbreaking ending would involve a character(s) death, which would then result in an epilogue ending to the entire story. This is what I consider to be my alternate ending to the story, and I have already written it out. I am still trying to put together what the original ending was supposed to be as I planned during my list of plot points, but I am having difficulties with writing it and not coming off as completely cliché. I think that my ending should have the qualities that I myself enjoy in a novel ending. By including what I like, than I would say I have a better chance at pleasing my readers with the ending as well. For the most part I like an ending that answers all of the questions that I have asked throughout the book. I don’t like when the book is a big cliffhanger ending, whether it is part of a series or not. I always hope for some kind of resolution to the novel, even if there will be another installment to the story. As for my own ending, I am planning on a big confrontational type of scene with my characters abuser. Although the police will be involved in the scene, I still have not decided fully on how to orchestrate the entire scene. As I planned in my plot points earlier in the semester, the main character would be able to “get out” of the situation, but would have to suffer through a great deal of time in the hospital, followed by a lot of rehabilitation to fully recoup from the injuries that she sustained during the event. As for the alternate ending that I have already written out, which as I work on my ending this week is slowly but surely starting to grow on me more and more, there will be character death as I stated above. The first version I have written out has the main character and her abuser both dying, but I have had a few ideas come to mind recently that could alter who dies and who survives. As for the epilogue ending to the “alternate” ending, it would be seen through another characters point of view that I have briefly introduced at a few moments throughout the book. It would also include a newspaper article, that would explain the results of the “big scene” as I would probably be leaving the physical ending as more of a cliffhanger, “What happened?” type of moment. I think that when you begin a story, you have to know, at least somewhat, about how you want it to end. Without knowing the ending, or part of it, you could just continue to write yourself in circles without ever really moving the characters through a story. By knowing the ending when you start, a writer would have a better chance at knowing what they want to happen throughout the story, and how they want to bring their characters to the ending that they thought up. I agree that not knowing can be a surprise factor in its own right to the author, but not knowing anything at all would make it really difficult to get from the beginning to an ending, at least for me it would.

  25. Marc Bartel says:

    So how do you wrap up seven distinctive character’s in one final climatic sequence? I’ll admit it I don’t have quite a clear-cut path of what I want to do. I know that the final sequence will take place after each of the seven have resolved each of their internal struggles the final climatic battle will commence in the center of the galaxy. Each of the my seven will attempt to resist the temptation of the collective mind of the entire dead galaxy. I know that at least one of my characters will give in, another will heroically sacrifice themselves, and the threat of the collective mind will be undone. Now getting there is the hard part. I’ve got a long road ahead of me to reach this conclusion but I think I have the right idea going for it. I have thought about how to end this novel right when I started writing down each of my character’s arcs. I don’t feel bad about planning out my ending in fact I think that a well planned ending can be used to avoid many pitfalls. For instance one killer in stories is the dreaded deus ex machina and/or macguffin, a conveinient way out of a difficult situation by using a little known or contrite plot device that solves any problems. One problem that kept popping up in my initial planning was this easy way out. However by planning out my ending earlier on in the process I have figured out a way for my story to end without the all to familiar macguffin.However I do know of a few good examples of endings that just didn’t work. One example is the book The Mask by Dean Koontz. I won’t spoil much about the ending but Koontz layers on a thick amount of suspense that had me reading till the end of the novel. However once the final scene solution is solved, (using one of the strangest MacGuffin’s that I have ever read) the book just ends. I’m not even joking, once the conflict is resolved the book essentially cuts to black and that’s it. The reason why this ending affected me more than any other book is the simple fact that I found the story so engaging and tense, and that it was ruined by simply fading to black.

  26. kpweiss says:

    My ending does contain its own beginning, middle, and end, and could probably stand on its own as a short story. There is a conflict right off the bat, that I have been building up to from the beginning, my main character – James – goes missing. Throughout the entire story, it is known that James has to do something – this great big decision that affects not only him and his family, but the rest of the world as well. When James goes missing, he has chosen what to do, and his family knows that and knows exactly where to go to find him. The scene, or rather compilation of scenes, that will be preceding my ending will be a series of scenes told from the different points of view of the other characters in the house and their individual reactions to a very important, shocking, and traumatic death – which is also what pushes my main character over the edge, and finally forces him to choose. The novel that I am currently working on for this class is part of a series of book, so the scene immediately following my ending will be an epilogue that hopefully will leave readers wondering and anxiously waiting. It will be a scene following one of the characters – an angel (the angel of Peace) – and the fatal choice he makes to become a Fallen. This scene is the most fundamental to my story, because it really pulls in the theme of my book. It is the scene where my main character chooses to do what’s right for the good of the people instead of doing what’s right for the good of the one. He chooses a fate that is worse than death for him, but in the end will save millions of lives. This is the scene where everything comes together – all of the plotting and scheming between different characters in the book and the reader finally realizes what they were all planning and why. I feel this will be most satisfying about the scene because questions will finally be answered. Generally, speaking in any ending, I like there to be a sense of closure, even if the ending isn’t happy or ideal. I have to feel like all of the trials and tribulations weren’t for nothing. When it comes to books in a series, I also like there to be some kind of a cliffhanger that will make me want to go out and read the next book. One thing that I really do not like in an ending, at least when it comes to books in series (excluding the final book) , is when the author ties up the ends, leaving nothing for me to hang on to and deliberate over, waiting for the next chapter in the story. I feel like if they do that, then there’s no real reason for me to go read the next book. There’s nothing drawing me back in. From the beginning, I had a pretty good idea of how this would end, and I’ve found that it actually helps me flesh out the rest of the story, because now the characters have something to move towards. I think it’s different for everyone, though. I personally like to have some kind of idea of what the ending will be, because then I have a vision of what I’m working towards. Does that mean things won’t change? Absolutely, not. Most likely there will be changes made and possibly a new ending thought up, but I will still have a vision of what I want my ending to be.

  27. Endings seem to be determinate on what type of novel you are writing (um, obviously). I could easily see how my first attempted storyline needed the ending open, something I could work towards. Perhaps that is why I had to leave that story. For the current novel I’m working on I’ve actually started from the end and I’m trying to figure out what all led up to that point. Since I’m writing in first person, it allows my character to be almost cathartic about his choices in life and I get to figure out where he went wrong along with him. I remember the first time I was really disappointed by endings was when I would read Stephen King. I enjoyed his stories. By the time that I would reach the end of the novel I would be highly disappointed by the endings which never really seemed to change the character other than either nihilistically or outwardly. It became a deal breaker with Stephen King for me. I would hate for my novel to mimic that type of behavior. I think one way to deal with this is to start from the end and work back so that you can be assured that the story will not just lead to the end, but develop it carefully with this objective in mind. With my story, I know that my character will loose his best friend tragically and young and this will send him into a downward spiral. That will be the first act where there is no going back. But, I knew to do this because the larger event will be when he finally overdoses and slips into a coma. After that he has to face his life anew and make a final decision to either change his life or continue to eventually killing himself. I knew that he would come out in the end and that was the change that he would see. Releasing his anger, his fears, even his friend and the life he thought he would have and realize that the one he has is good, even though he was hell bent on destroying it. I think that endings are the reason why we invest in a novel. True we must be hooked in the beginning, but no one is going to recommend a book with a bad ending. No one walks away from a story with a bad ending feeling they truly learned anything from the story. Endings are how you remember a story, the surprise that made you the triumph or failure of the characters involved. The resolution is just as important if not more important than anything else in the novel. It is the reason we read. To have a change in the book helps change the reader.

  28. Sarah says:

    I have hated trying to think about this so far. I am not ready for the ending. The final major plot point, which will most likely be the most pivotal scene, is the wedding at the end. Every other major plot point has had some disaster or another, so the ending should be a happier event. I have not written it yet, so I think it will start out well, something will go terribly wrong, it will get fixed, and everything will turn out fine. This also creates a beginning middle and end for the ending. Immediately before this, a major conflict that has existed between two characters throughout the entire novel will be resolved. I do not know yet whether they will resolve their differences or decide to remain enemies for all time, but it will be decided one way or the other. Immediately following this scene will be the reception, which will serve as a denouement in many ways, because it will bring all the major characters together in one place and seems like a good way to wind down the novel. This scene is important because the two characters getting married are two of the most important characters in the story. They hate each other in the beginning and the wedding is a way of showing the change that takes place between them and the scale in which everything has changed, better or worse, in the town. It brings together all of the plot layers and sub plots because all the characters are present at the wedding and all unresolved issues are taken care of either at the wedding or in the scenes directly before. It is satisfying because it is a happier moment after all of the disasters that have befallen everyone. For endings in general, I like it when I feel a sense of relief rather than anxiety after finishing it. However, when there is a sequel, the sense of anxiety is helpful because it sets up the next novel. It is a satisfactory ending if essentially everything is resolved in some way or another. The endings that I can recall to mind most easily at the moment are the endings from all three of the Hunger Games Trilogy. The first two created enough tension that I tried to get the following book as soon as possible but the third ending wrapped up everything from all three books creating a satisfying ending. I cannot think of an ending that I disliked because I generally try to block them from my memory. I knew the ending roughly for my novel for a little while, but I did not know it at the beginning. Knowing it feels right because there was no other way in my mind for the story to end. Usually I know the ending roughly from about a tenth of the way through my story. I often only know the beginning and end, and writing a novel is just about trying to fill in the middle. What I think of as the end usually changes multiple times as I am writing, and I think it is fully possible to have no idea how something will end and still write it well.

  29. rwmurphy says:

    My novel is going to end with the announcement of the contest's winner. One of the themes I want to work on with the entirety of my novel is the fact that life is disappointing, and the "good guys" don't always win. The family members are going to be painted in such a way throughout the book to try and make the reader as sympathetic to them as I can. At the end however, one of the three sculptors in the contest who are not related to Edward in any way will win the contest with a simple tomb designed to be buried at sea, in the Marianas Trench. The climax of the novel is going to be the reveal that he wins the contest, and, by extension the money.After that, there will have to be some kind of wrapping-up, most of which I'm not entirely sure how to do. I'm inclined to say that the participants' desires for the money (Ranging from buying out two shares of a family farm to keep it in the family to redeeming their relationship with their father) will simply not happen, and that's just too bad.

  30. T. D. Fields says:

    If in the beginning there was light and order, then in the end I want there to be darkness and chaos. My ending will be a series of tensions that are finally released. After Woman and A have left, the generally aura is a negative one and to cap it all off, X will finally die, just about a full day after the horrible coughing fit we see in the very beginning. I want this all to culminate into a single image: Y has finally come to terms with how immersed in X he wishes he was while he still had the chance: you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone sort of thing. And Man will be standing just outside the house, holding his twins’ hands on either side of him. They are watching the sun rise over the trees. This will be a reminiscent image from the one which opens the book, but obviously at this point, things have taken on a much darker tone. I want this all to culminate in an interior stream of consciousness reaction from X and then when he is gone, we are thrust into the scene where we witness the shock which has overcome Y, Man, and the twins.This scene is so important to me and the piece because of its catharsis value. My novel has no dénouement to speak of. The entire narrative will have been working from the very beginning to rip this family apart and in the very instance that it finally gives way, X, the protag, dies, leaving the rest of the family stunned. This is fundamental because it affirms what we feared throughout the narrative: there is no redemption to this family as a unit.I want to sneak in more cutaways in the end of this but I want them to be very unlike the way I had them set up in the rest of the novel. I want to sneak them in. Short and seemingly unimportant as they will have no direct link to the base line narrative at the time. I imagine it being like one’s life flashing before their eyes as they die. Except this will be more collective as only the reader is being exposed to it. It will be the final moments and demonstrate that in the end, when all of the chaos is blooming, it is the smallest and seemingly unimportant things which we are left with, which we can’t help but to remember. It will probably be a scene from when X and Y were younger, a time that hadn’t been used for a while in the narrative.The Road is a (the) perfect novel. Everything about it from its form to its language to its topic to its narrative is so precise that it blows my mind. I used to really want it to act more like a modernist text, though, which rejected the conventions of plot and proper space-time alignment, but quickly realized that this would have destroyed the quest which made it so powerful. I say this because I’m really hoping to take the best of these various aspects and sculpt what I imagine to have always dreamt of as a reader. I’m also saying this because it has the perfect ending. I won’t give it away but McCarthy gives the reader a similar fatalistic catharsis that the reader walks away from really very defeated. He ends on an image that is either SO hopeful or unimportantly beautiful, just for the sake and emphasizes the chaotic ambivalence of the universe. THIS IS WHAT I WANT, but through a different and slightly more personal, experimental approach.Love,Tyler…


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