Sunday, April 30, 2017

A to Z: Editing Fiction - The End

2017 THEME: Editing Fiction (Because that's what I'm in the middle of doing.)

What is the Blogging from A to Z challenge and where can I find more participants? Right here.

Just as Z is the end of this challenge, let's talk about the end of your story. Make sure you take a good look at the end and whether it will make your readers happy. Endings, like beginnings can be tricky to write.

Depending on your story, the end could mean very different things. For the most part though, is your ending fulfilling? Have you made the time the reader has invested in this story worthwhile? Does it offer enough closure? Not every story has a happy ending, but it does need to have an impact.

Does it need an epilogue? Is everything clear enough? Are the subplots are wrapped up? Do you need to give secondary characters closure as well? How much closure do the main characters need? Is the ending dragging on because you don't want to let go of the story or ending too abruptly?

We all know how some genre's end: the mystery is solved, the couple in the romance get married. Others can be bittersweet, tragic or happily every after or at least happy enough for now. However your story ends, make sure it ends.

You're writing a series or a sequel? Great, but end the damned novel. It doesn't have to completely wrap up with no lose ends, but it does need to have a solid point of resolution for the plot at hand. Otherwise, it will end up in my donation pile after putting dent in my wall, and I certainly won't buy the next book to find out what happens after that little To be continued text, the ellipse or whatever cliffhanger sentence the book doesn't end with.

End the story in way that makes the reader feel something (other than anger about how it didn't really end) and they will be more likely to look for more of your work. This is an important place to note the reactions of your beta readers. If they were happy, others will likely be too.

I've enjoyed spending April with you. I hope to see you around throughout the rest of the year. Congratulations on surviving the month!

What are your feelings regarding books that don't really end?


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  2. Hi Jean - I don't think I could do with a book that didn't have an ending, unless it was an exercise for a class to finish the book off ... or perhaps as you meant a sort of non-ending ... but it's a good way to end the A-Z ... well done - cheers Hilary

  3. Great way to end the A to Z challenge with endings. Another great post, thanks for sharing. And thank you for all the tips your shared.

    Stopping by from A to Z: Zonked

  4. I have closed books and vowed never to read anything from the author again when they've not finished the book satisfactorily, especially someone who is writing a series and tells me to check out the next book to find out what happens, that makes me grind my teeth.

    For me the tough thing is epilogues, sometimes I'm tempted, but it's a precarious thing, because then I have to ask myself the question if I should have put more into the end of the book rather than relying on an epilogue.

    Great A to Z, well done :)

    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries

  5. Another great post. Finding that perfect spot between too abrupt, and dragging on and on can be a challenge. I've enjoyed following along with you on the A-Z challenge, and look forward to your future posts!

  6. I'm with you in hating stories that don't actually end. It doesn't make me want to read the sequel, it makes me feel frustrated and tricked. There are ways of keeping some open questions in a series book without resorting to an abrupt non-ending.

  7. Excellent advice that all readers agree with and all writers should heed. No dents in my walls but a few missed opportunities for authors to gain a new fan.
    Thanks for lots of useful information for writers, both new and improving in their art and craft.

  8. You're put together an amazing series of articles. You should put them all in a book! Congrats on finishing the A-Z challenge.

    DB McNicol | Oh, the places we will go! | Zippo & Zion

  9. Sometimes, I'm not satisfied with how the book ends but it is an ending. I can feel a certain level of empathy with people whose books don't have a satisfactory ending because I know how hard it is to end a story!

  10. Like you, I will not buy book #2 if #1 ended in the middle with no end. Congratulations on an outstanding A to Z, Jean!

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Zoo - I live in one!

    1. Thanks for all of your visits this month! I've enjoyed your posts too.

  11. Drives me bonkers if there's not an ending. I'm okay if there's a little vagueness that I can work out on my own, no problem with that. But if all you give me is a beginning and a middle, then NOPE. I'm done.

  12. Endings are my favorite part to write. They're so satisfying--being able to finally wrap up all those ends and that last line. Oh that last line!


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