Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Endings

On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2011
April 5, 2012
Day 5

Guilty as charged! The accusation has been made that a KC Kendricks book reads like a, well, a KC Kendricks book! And the ending of a KC Kendricks book will generally have a wrap-up that takes place three to six months after the characters make the commitment to see how things might work out in the long run for them.

Endings are not easy. Too abrupt, and the reviewers hammer you. Too long, and the reviewers hammer you. It pays to remember those who criticize can’t do it any better and ignore them.

Beating your head on your desk is pointless and unproductive, not to mention painful. So what’s an author to do?

First off, accept the fact that perfect endings are few and far between. You don’t want to abandon the characters you love. The readers don’t want to be forced to close the book on the characters they’ve come to love. But the book has to end somewhere.

I struggle with each and every ending. I want to leave the reader feeling good about the characters and their future. If I can infuse the reader with a sense of hopeful completion, I’ve done what I set out to do.

So how does the writer do that?

I think it begins by envisioning the characters as settled into their relationship. What’s the form of their pairing? Did they marry? Are they still monogamous? Those questions are secondary to asking are they happy together? That’s the crux of the issue. A good ending in romance fiction will show the main characters happy and hopeful for their future. It doesn’t matter if they’re on the sofa watching a movie or cleaning the garage.

I also happen to think the ending is a great place for the “fade to black” sex scene, provided you’ve already got a lot of heat in the story. Using the fade-to-black at the end without any prior heat won’t make anyone happy. Using it after the heat leaves the reader feeling upbeat.

Just like how you develop the story, go with your gut instinct. If you don’t like the ending, rework it. If you think you’ve gone overboard, rework it.

If you read it and wonder if you should maybe perhaps tweak it just a wee bit because, well, this word could be a little better if I just maybe change it to something else but I don’t know what….LEAVE IT ALONE.

The End.

KC Kendricks


Kyra Lennon said...

Endings are my nightmare. I always struggle with them, mainly because I hate letting go of my characters lol! It is very difficult to create the perfect ending.

mooderino said...


good post. I thinbk endings are tricky because all the momentum has sort of gone away and you want to provide a definite thing but still leave room for a life that continues after the last page.

thanks for visiting my blog, now foillowing yours.

Moody Writing

Sue H said...

Endings are!
Sometimes I don't want to believe that my characters cease to exist at the end of a story - there's always that hope that their story goes on, regardless of whether anyone reads of it!

Thanks for calling in at my blog earlier, btw - see, having to come up with an ending to each of my posts for A-Z so that readers come back for more was a white-knuckle ride! ;-)

SueH I refuse to go quietly!

MAJK said...

Endings are hard! I agree. So is knowing when to leave it alone. Great post.

Twitter: @Safireblade
A to Z Blog Challenge

Sarah Pearson said...

It's not usually the ending I have the problem with - it's getting to that point. I tend to have what I think is a great last couple of paragraphs, and I hate it when the road doesn't lead to exactly that :-)

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

I'm revising my first book, which is a series. This is a challenge. I know where it needs to end and I have it there, but being a series makes it tricky. I want it to be a satisfying ending, yet I want a cliffhanger.

Fun dilemma.