Nailing the ‘Close’

Happy Monday! It’s the start of a new week, one that I hope treats you well!

This week I want to finish my current WIP. I said ‘want’ because every time I think I’m only one writing session away from being done, my Muse or the characters (lately it’s TOTALLY the characters) throw out more for me to write. So I won’t jinx myself today and say for sure The Dry Lands will be done by Friday…but there’s a big fat chance it will be. πŸ˜‰

Which leads me to today’s topic – The Close. There all kinds of ways a book can end, but one thing is certain for them all – they DO end. Some close out with a tidy ending…one wrapped up nicely in a bow, leaving no major plot questions for the reader to ponder over, no suspense over what might happen next to the characters they’ve become attached to. Others close with a cliffhanger, which is the exact opposite of a tidy ending. There are some in between, as well. Regardless of how the story ends, the close is important for not only the writer – but the reader. Do you like your romance to end with the main characters running off into the first sunset of their happily ever after? If you’re reading a series, do you like the uncertainty of not knowing whether the antagonist is really dead or the protagonist is going to live? Each reader takes something different away with them from a book, which is how it’s supposed to be. But for the author, I think there are things to consider when writing up your big conclusion:

  • Is the ending consistent with the flow of storytelling? By this, I mean – if you like to embellish and go into great detail throughout 60k words of telling your story – and then ‘end’ it with one paragraph, chances are the reader won’t find the ending satisfactory – unless you’ve been building up to it quite well.
  • Does the ending make sense for the characters? The ending is NOT the best time to suddenly turn your MC (Main Character) from a straight-arrow cowboy into an alcoholic alien. If the ending is confusing, the readers may not ‘get’ it. Again – not the most satisfactory ending. Tho, if written properly, this could be a fantastic time for a plot twist in a series.
  • Did you leave the characters hanging in ‘limbo’? As a reader myself, the only time I consider it okay to leave the characters dangling over a cliff, in between that anticipatory kiss, being discovered with a bloody dagger in their hand, or right smack in the middle of an action scene that hints at the demise of a beloved character, etc. is when there will be another book. For the author this can actually be a fun thing to do. I know readers might hate us for it, but really – it keeps people coming back for more of the story! But be careful with this. Like mentioned earlier, there ARE readers who like a story wrapped up in that shiny and pretty little bow. If each book in your series can stand alone – you can ‘close’ each out with their own ending. But if not – have fun with the continuations between books.
  • Does your ending have ‘WOW’ factor? You can take this any way you want, but the books I will love forever are the ones that made me laugh, cry, scream or shake at the end. It’s an author’s job to evoke emotion (of ANY kind, really) from their readers. Remember everyone gets something a little different from each book they read, so what makes one person cry from joy might make another scream in frustration. But emotion is emotion – and books just aren’t the same without it.

So now that I’ve put a few things up for you to consider when closing out your next story, I leave you with this: The story should tell itself, but the Author must tell the story. Don’t force the flow of things but pay attention – especially at the close. πŸ˜‰

Happy reading and writing, everyone!

2 thoughts on “Nailing the ‘Close’

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