Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bringing It Home

A satisfying ending. That's what all of us readers long to obtain. Not necessarily a sappy "and they lived happily ever after," but an ending that leaves you sighing with the joy of having known the characters and having been a part of their lives for a little while.

Even better if the characters live on in our mind for a time after the book has been given a home on our "keeper" shelf.

In my past posts on beginnings and middles, I stressed the importance of getting off to a good start by lassoing the reader in and maintaining that pace over the canyon-like expanse of the middle. Now ending on the right note is of equal importance or even greater. The feeling the reader is left with at the end of the book is key to creating a fan base. If a reader has been entertained, inspired, and challenged by your story feeling that each moment spent with your story was well worth the time and money then they are most likely to look for more books by you in the future.

There is no time in the writing process when the author can let down his or her guard. Each element of the story most be strong if your book is going to stand out among the many fiction titles being published these days. A lot of information out there for authors online and at conferences stresses how to write great beginnings for proposals that will catch these editors' jaded eyes, but don't stop your writing education there. Master the middles and bring home the sweet endings.

You can do it!

Anyone want to share a book title that had an ending that left you giddy with satisfaction at the end?



Vickie said...

I love books that leave you with the ahhh! factor or make you smile with joy at the end. I recently read the third book in M.L. Tyndall's pirate series, and she had an ending like that. You could see no way possible for the h & h to get together in the end, but they did, and the reader is left going "ahhh." The really cool thing is that this hero was a bad guy in the previous two books. I wondered how the author could possibly redeem him in the reader's eyes, but she did a great job. Seeing bad boy heroes redeemed and turn around for God are my favorite types of stories.

Becky said...

I agree that MaryLu did a superb job with THE RESTITUTION. It's no wonder she was a Christy nominee.

Kristy Dykes said...

I just re-read The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough. I hadn't read it in a long, long time. It definitely has a happy "ahhhh" ending. It's a sort of Cinderella story. Underdog becomes victor. I love those kind of stories.

Lacy J. Williams said...

Great endings from books I've read recently:

The Healing Season by Ruth Axtell Morren

The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang

Split Ends by Kristen Billerbeck

I love "the end" and will usually read it more than once if it's good.

Mary Connealy said...

I write book reviews for my local paper and I just turned a romance novel review by a well known author. One of the lines I wrote was, "I don't think this will spoil the book for you if I send, in the end 'love conquers all'.
I don't mind a book that asks tough questions and I don't mind if things aren't tidy in the end. BUT I really REALLY mind if I think I'm reading a romance novel and love DOESN'T conquer all. I expect a big warning in bright red letters on the front. "Yes, I'm a famous romance novelist, and that's what you're expecting, but BE WARNED, I'm trying a different genre. DO NOT EXPECT A ROMANCE NOVEL.
That's all I ask.

Darlene Franklin said...

The best book I've read recently also had the most satisfactory ending: The Last Juror by John Grisham. Don't let the book jacket blurb fool you. This a book about a time and a place (small town Mississippi in the '70s) and one unforgettable Christian woman, "the last juror."

Darlene Franklin said...

In response to Mary's comment: just as bad are mysteries that don't reveal the murderer! Quite awhile ago, I read a historical mystery by a famous Christian author where a natural disaster prevented the revelation of the bad guy. I never want to read that author again!

Jennifer Johnson said...

I am a romance junkie. I want the hero and heroine to be happy and at peace in the end.

One really good book caught me by surprise throughout the story. I loved it and pondered on the content and ending for days.

Courting Troube by Deanne Gist