Don’t you hate it when you get to the end of a book and nothing happens? That’s why you should take the time to craft your ending carefully. Readers don’t want to be let down. They want an ending that gives them closure to the story.

Terry Pratchett at Worldcon 2005 in Glasgow, A...
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Here are some tips about endings that might help you:

  • Never leave loose ends hanging, unless you’re leaving a thread unraveled for a sequel.
  • Be sure that what happens in your ending is logical. It has to make sense.
  • Avoid Deux et machina endings, where the good fairy comes down and solves everything, or a mysterious something is found that cures all ills. Feh. Your characters need to solve whatever it is that’s bothering them or it has to stop. So, if they’re diseased, the disease has to stop, for example.

The most important thing to remember is that you need to make your readers close the book and think, Wow! That was great. I’m sorry it’s over, not Jeez… This guy/gal couldn’t end a novel to save his/her life I feel like I wasted my time. How many times have you done that?

I can think of one popular writer that is HORRIBLE at endings. He’s a great storyteller, and probably why so many folks buy his books, but man… his endings SUCK. I stopped reading his books for that very reason.

And yet, when I read Terry Prachett, I want another book. His endings are like candy. You hate to leave Discworld, and want to go back for more. Lucky for me he’s written so many books.

But he ends the story. Whatever the conflict was, it’s solved. What was nagging the characters has either resolved or has ended. And there are no questions left in my mind. Read some Terry Prachett books and you’ll see what  I mean.

Greg Iles is good at endings, too. His stories are usually pretty complex, but when you put the books down, everything is in order.

That’s how someone should feel after reading your story — everything is in order. If they don’t… go back and rewrite your ending. You owe it to your readers.

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