Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - endings


Finding a book with a fantastic ending is difficult. Most of the time, I know what to expect. The hero will triumph, hope and light will pull them through, and romance will deliver a happily ever after/happy for now. Hopefully it ties up all loose ends and circles around to link with the beginning. Knowing how stories will end doesn't stop me from reading them, but I do get frustrated when I come across horribly done endings and love it when I discover a marvelous ending.

No writer is flawless. Even some of my idols like Stephen King have books with endings I dislike. I won't name any off as not to give spoilers, but even certain classics have bad endings.

Endings are difficult. I know many writers that spend a lot of time on beginnings, and those are important too. Yet so many just give the expected ending without any twist or flair. I try to add in exciting twists, and there have been a few times I've created such a great villain, I don't see how the heroes can defeat her. Then it's back to rewrites.

I recently finished the final book in my Totem series. I worried a lot because, as a pantser, I had no idea how it would happen. When I finally wrote it, I sat back in my chair and stared at the screen in awe. Yes, this is one of those amazing endings. Circular, emotional, thrilling, and elegant. (I might be a bit biased. We'll see what my readers think once it's released.)

Stories and characters stay with me. Few endings have ever wowed me. One that stands out in my head is the spectacular climax of the fantasy series, The Troy Game by Sara Douglass. It came together in such a tension-filled, complex, and beautiful way.

What are your favorite endings from books? What are some of your most frustrating ones?

22 comments:

  1. Unexpected endings are tough. I only managed it once.
    Frustrating endings award goes to a Skipp and Spector book where everyone dies in the end.

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    1. That kind of ending would frustrate me too.

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  2. Hi Christine - sounds like you've found your way through the maze to give us something we don't expect - good luck .. cheers Hilary

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  3. Endings can sometimes make or break a book. Your Totem series has a fantastic ending. And I know what you mean about Stephen King's endings for some of his books. It's like he didn't know how to end some of them and must have thought "Let's say aliens did it." LOL! As a writer, I have to know my ending before I can really delve into writing a book. It's like I have a mental block on how to reach the end, but once I know the end, I know how the rest of the story should go to get there. I do that with mazes too. Heh.

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    1. Thanks, Cherie. Oh yes, that is exactly that frustrating ending in one of King's books! *LOL* Usually my idea of the ending is that the good guys win. How is another story!

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  4. I love how much you love the ending of the final Totem book! :)

    There's a quote I like about how the ending of your one book is what makes the reader want to buy the next one. It's not about cliff-hangers or anything like that, but about if the reader enjoyed how you ended the story.

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    1. I agree that good endings make the reader want more.

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  5. It's a very difficult balance: giving the readers what they want and expect from the genre vs. doing something that still surprises and delights. The key is to serve up what they want in an unexpected way. But that's easier said than done!

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    1. The balance is key. I hope I managed to pull it off!

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  6. It's wonderful when you surprise yourself! :) It's OK to know the ending, like you say, but have twist and turns along the way and something at the end it wonderful!

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  7. I could never do the pantser thing. I need to know how it's going to end before I even start writing. That's great that your end turned out well!

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  8. That's awesome that you love your ending! I've always known how my book should end but getting there and figuring out how to write it has been difficult. Still figuring it out!

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  9. I seem to only have one or the other. I either love the end, but struggle with how to begin it, or vice versa. Exciting that you have an awesome ending that you're proud of!

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    1. There have been times I've struggled with the beginning too.

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  10. Congrats on finishing the final Totem book! That's awesome how it ended in a way that wows you... ^_^

    And I completely agree about the importance of endings. I always spend a lot of time figuring out the perfect one, before premiering one of my comics. (Well, perfect to me. Everyone else will probably hate 'em, haha. *welp*)

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  11. I know what you mean about Stephen King. I've read some of his endings and have been just like, Really, dude?

    I think wowing ourselves is the first step. ^_^ Sometimes the ending can make or break the entire read! But if I'm impressed, someone else will be impressed, I think. :)

    Congratulations on finishing the last book!!

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  12. I need to start reading Totem 9 so I can see how your ending went.

    My favorite endings are actually the hopeful ones. Not everything is happily ever after, but the sun is rising and the character is looking forward to a new day. Alternately, a book that had an ending that stuck with me most was what inspired Being Human. Thirsty had such a bleak ending I couldn't stop thinking about what would happen next.

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  13. Although I adore my cliff hangers, I've actually never had an issue with endings. Normally the deep meat of the story is the bigger issue for me.

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