Tag Archive - endings

The Inevitable Ending You Know Is Coming

As contradictory as this might sound, endings in novels need to seem inevitable without being predictable. When your reader finishes the book , she should feel that this was the only  way it could have ended. Everything has led up to this finale, and it just plays out perfectly. This isn’t predictability. You don’t want readers thinking they knew exactly what was going to happen and are bored as they hurriedly flip through the last pages of the book.

Recently I read a couple of award-winning sci-fi novels that were really pretty good until about the last fifty pages. I found myself starting to skim through the inevitable spaceship battles and the endings—to the point that I didn’t really read the last chapters. Such a difference from Orson Scott Card’s masterpiece Ender’s Game, considered one of the all-time greatest sci-fi books written (and I agree!). The surprise twist at the climax and the completely unexpected ending blew me away. Yet, I could say it was the best (and truly only) ending for the book, and entirely unpredictable. Continue Reading…

Endings that Ruin Your Novel

Have you ever read a great book that carries you all the way to the end, and then the ending is so disappointing you feel cheated? I’ve felt that way many times, and usually it’s because the ending doesn’t fit the theme and story, or the characters behave so contrary to the way they’ve been portrayed that I just don’t believe it. On some occasions the author has been promising certain things, building up my anticipation, but when the moment comes, she breaks her promise and the ending falls flat.

I wonder if authors sometimes write these kinds of endings because they think they will sell more books or add more drama. One book that comes to mind (sorry if this offends anyone) is The Horse Whisperer, which I really did enjoy a lot. The premise and story line were great, the conflict throughout was believable, and the characters were engaging and full-dimensional. That is, until the ending. I suppose Robert Redford (who optioned, starred in, and directed the movie, from what I understand) disliked the ending too, for in the movie he came up with a new ending that really did work and was believable. I’m glad he did. I had one of those moments where I wanted to throw the book across the room while screaming, “Oh come on! You’ve got to be kidding.” Continue Reading…