How to Breathe Life into Your Characters
Endings: The All Important Stop
Next to your beginning hook, your ending may very well be the most challenging to write. Readers want to be satisfied, to be carried through “the dream” they’ve been exposed to. And, no, I’m not saying here to wake your reader up to an, “It was all a dream,” storyline. What I’m getting at is that the all important stop has to resonate with the reader, to the point of them saying, “Yes, that’s the way it happened.”
In your end, you want to tie up loose knots. That’s not to say if you plan sequels that you have to tighten them all, some can remain unraveled. Even if a single story. For instance, we don’t need to be told a character’s future. We can leave that up to the reader to decide what happens, if they got their “happily-ever-after,” or if things just didn’t work out. How do we do this?
We give a little taste of what is to come. This is your shot, your chance to hook the reader into buying your next book and the one after that. Always leave them hungering for more. So how do you know you put the right ending on? You should feel it down in your bones. That this couldn’t happen any other way. It should capture the joy or sadness of the characters depending on the outcome. It should leave the door open a smidgeon for us to guess what happens next in their lives. If they survive.
Sometimes heroes go down on the job. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen. There are times when, no matter which way we look at it, the main character has to give their life in order for others/the world to go on. But along with all the grief, you want to leave the message that their life counted for something. That others will go on because of it.
An ending can make or break us. We can lose readers from a half-hearted effort, we can gain word-of-mouth from a glorious one. So pay as much attention to the ending as you do the beginning. Give us a teaser that will make us want to read more of your books. Good luck with your writing.