It’s often said that how your book opens can determine whether or not a reader will continue. With literally millions of stories to choose from, the importance of your First Chapter has gone to First Page has gone to First Paragraph, and has gone to (in some instances) First Sentence.
I think there’s validity in that opinion.
It’s also often said that how your book ends can determine whether or not a reader will want to continue reading your other titles.
I think that’s also true.
I read a book that I enjoyed until I got to the ending where the author clearly left the story in cliffhanger mode so people would buy her next book. I was done and done and felt like I’d been scammed.
Does a cliffhanger ending work for some readers? Apparently.
The On and On
Like the adage of dropping into a scene for pacing (or having your story actually begin at Chapter Six because well, that’s where it begins), I think it’s equally important to know when your story is finished. Just because you love your characters doesn’t mean every reader is going to care about their new job (unless it relates to the story) or what they posted on Facebook, or anything else about their lives.
Some readers must like this though, because I’ve gotten called on my wrap-ups wrapping up before readers are ready.
The What What Huh
This is the ending that simply isn’t there. The reader creates their own.
Honestly, the only time this has worked for me is with PARANOIA by Joseph Finder. The story was so good that had he handed me an ending—whatever it was—I would’ve been disappointed.
This is what I like and how I write. The major denouement has occurred. Tiny threads have been tied off. Holes have been buttoned and we can easily imagine what comes next.
We know all there is to know.
Time to close the cover and move on.
(Having said that, if I’ve done my job, bits of the story will continue to resonate long after the cover is closed.)
Okay, I just realized that my descriptive titles are totally biased. But this is my post and these are my current opinions. If you quote me, date me. I can be swayed.
How do you take your endings? While they are only a part of the whole, are they important enough to determine whether you’ll read more by an author?
It’s all better with friends.