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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

E: Endings

Do you know the ending of your novel before you started writing?
Some authors write the end first. John Irving said: "The first thing I write is the last sentence of the book"

Do you prefer HAPPY endings?

such as Persuasion by Jane Austen

Or Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes

  Of course, some genres have an expected ending which cannot be messed with, such as
Mills and Boon Romance
Of Mice and MenThe Catcher in the Rye
Sad Endings?

Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

or AMBIGUOUS endings?

Such as J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye

One thing to bear in mind is that a good ending is the difference between whether or not your reader will choose to buy your next novel. Some novels, like the Lord of The Rings have satisfying endings although sad ones.

So stinting on the ending isn't an option. The reader's emotional investment must be satisfied. So tie up those loose ends.

Do you have a favourite novel ending ?

I shall end this post with a haiku on the theme of growth

Maturing each day
Our values reaching great heights
Forever growing

I have another silly virus, hence my relative quietness at the moment 'cos my immune system is slightly haywire at the moment.


  1. Usually i don't know the ending till I get to it, or until I'm very near. Other times, I think I know, but then change my mind later. :D

  2. I generally knew the ending type, but as I wrote a sentence I realized that was the perfect place to end and was surprised I was done.

  3. I did endings too! Good post. I think most good books have good endings, they sort of go hand in hand.

  4. Yes, I knew the ending of the WIP I just finished when I started it. Lots of details around it changed, but I knew the basic ending :-)
    And I like happy endings. I don't want to read a book to end up depressed at the end of it!

  5. I love the ending of I Capture The Castle. The narrator is still so young, that no matter how it ends (and I'm not spoiling!), you feel a sense of hope for her. She has so much life ahead of her, you feel that almost anything could happen. Yet the ending is bittersweet, a little ambiguous and gives a wonderful sense of how much she's grown.

    Great post!

  6. I knew the ending of my novel before writing it. I kind of had a vague sense of the entire story, with a few definitive points (such as the ending). I typically like happy endings where the character achieves his goals. Ambiguous endings are also fun, trying to figure out what really happened, how it really ended for the characters.

  7. When I started the very first draft of my current wip, I seriously didn't know how to end it!! I just fumbled my way through! But now that I think I know how it'll end, I'm having to re-do so much previous stuff to fit the ending!!

    So yay for endings!!!!

    p.s. please take care of yourself and get better and rest!! Take care

  8. I don't write the end ahead of time, because I could miss too many strings of thought that have yet to be thought of.

    But I know how every book in Doorways's series will end. It's what keeps me sane during the process of writing it.

    As for endings I liked, I just finished The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (yes yes, I know) and I must say I liked how Ms. Meyer handled then end.


  9. Thanks for great Endings post - I love that bit, the reader's emotional investment must be satisfied How true. One of the saddest endings, for me, is The House at Pooh Corner (don't laugh!), whilst one of the most memorable is The Darling Buds of May when you discover something, on practically the last page, that contradicts nothing that you've been told, but everything you've assumed, for the entire novel.
    Thanks for the post, and my little trip down memory lane :-)
    All best

  10. Me, I like happy endings. I hate sad ones. My books all have happy blue sky endings. At least for those who survive until the end.

  11. I like to have a general idea of how my wip will end.

    My favorite novel ending? Gosh, that's a hard one! I really like the ending to "Gone with the Wind." It's so unexpected and rightly fitting to teach Scarlett a lesson!

  12. I have a notion of the ending. It is usually cloaked in a fog. So the answer to your question is yes and no.

    Feel better soon!

  13. Endings can be tricky little things. I do appreciate the ending that makes me long for the world I've just left behind. I only hope my readers get that same kind of feeling with my stories.

  14. I usually have some idea of the beginning and the end before I start to write. The middle is somewhat vaguer (slight understatement there!), and quite often the WAY the happy-ever-after ending comes about can be very different to how I originally envisaged it!

  15. I don't have a preference of the type of ending as long as it fits the story. Not every story will end happily, nor should it.

    I've often thought that Philippa Gregory's novel Wideacre had one of the most perfect endings I've ever read. The first time I read it, I'm pretty sure I swooned, it was so perfect.

    As for my own writing, I generally have a sense of where I'm headed but how exactly I end up there and what happens there is often a surprise.

    M.J. Fifield
    My Pet Blog

  16. I always know the ending of the story before I start writing it. If I don't know the ending, how can my writing be intentional enough to engage the reader and pull him or her along?

    We should all strive for daily growth. Lately I have been stagnating. Time for that to change!

  17. Oh, rats! I'm sorry you're sick again. I hope you can beat this soon.

    Ref: endings

    Most of the time the ending comes before the characters do. LOL.

    Take care.

  18. Endings with a twist whether happy or sad are the ones I enjoy the most. I love to be surprised. It is always dissapointing to read something that you just know the ending to. You have a great blog and I look forward to coming back.

  19. Aha Madeleine,
    And the alphabet challenge, continues :)
    The letter 'E' and endings.
    Hmmm...well, I always write the ending of my book before I start. So yes, I know the ending before I start. Then again, I write really short books. First page states, 'the beginning'. Second pages states 'the end.'
    And next, I'm reckoning, because I learnt the alphabet, would be the letter 'F'?
    Take care and have fun.
    In kindness, Gary :)

  20. I honestly can't think of an ending that stuck with me off the top of my head. As for my own writing, I come up with a tentative ending, one willing to change if necessary. Good luck with the challenge!

  21. I love what you are writing. As for endings I like surprises, sometimes I am sad when its not a Hollywood ending, some ending make me mad (THe Bridges Over Madison County) and some endings make me want more. Then again, I guess that was in the author' design.

  22. its true, sometimes there is no choice but to end a novel sadly, but some writers leave a trail of hope even in saddest circumstances, like in rebecca.


  23. Terrific haiku on Growth! Hope you feel better soon..!

  24. each day is a marvelous opportunity to learn new things... we have no choice but to grow from each experience. brilliant haiku! :)


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Comments based on others' comments can lead to misunderstandings that spread like whispers!