Friday, April 19, 2013

When will I see you again?*

While in the muddle of revisions, I’ve been thinking a lot about endings. Specifically, endings for single title books vs. endings that signal a series. 

Here’s a series ending that’s on-the-nose:
When the excitement died down, Nancy began to feel rather pensive--a feeling she always had when a mystery was completely solved. She was hoping that another challenging case would come along soon. And it did, when Nancy had the opportunity to solve The Spider Sapphire Mystery
 To be fair, seven paragraphs of dialogue follow this set up. But has a clearer example of how to pull the reader out of the story ever made it into print? Not that “Carolyn Keene” ever suffered because of it. 
How about this famous ending? It sets up a sequel, but Margaret Mitchell never got around to a follow-up for Gone with the Wind
I’ll think of it all tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.
Dark Lover, the first novel in J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series**, ends with an Epilogue and these words:
Fritz brought in dessert. 
“Please, if you would,” the butler said, “no throwing the linens. Peaches, anyone?”
Though the Brotherhood has unfinished business, the ending takes place at a happily ever after dinner party. If the book had not become a best seller, it could have stood alone.  
Southern Magic members write single title novels, series, and trilogies. (Not to mention serials!) Care to tip us off about how you craft the perfect ending? Feel free to post a favorite! 

* A 70s song title. I’d say “bad 70s song,” but that’s redundant. I hope if you recognize it that you don’t have to suffer through singing it all day. 


Chris Bailey said...

In my most recent ending, I mirrored the beginning. The setting is similar, but there are significant relationship reversals because the protagonist has changed.

Carla Swafford said...

Rarely does an ending scene make an impression on me. By that time, I don't necessarily want it to end (reading to the end means to me that it was an enjoyable book), but I'm ready to move on to another book (sometimes in a series or trilogy). Or if it's a great book, I'm want to go back to those certain scenes I can't get out of my mind.

So with saying that, I will add that I do love ending my books with a funny comment or thought. And here are the endings to my three books.

"What about your brother and the Circle? she asked.
He gave her a crooked grin.
"Let him get his own woman."
She giggled.
"Do you want to get the handcuffs or should I?"

She shook her head. "You really need to learn to say three new words."
"I'm all yours?"
He grinned, knowing she never got tired of him saying it. For that matter, neither did he.
"I love you?"
"Those are the ones, but with feeling," she teased.
"I love you, Mrs. Marie Ryker."
"Aww, now that's more like it."
"Yes, ma'am."
He knew who was mistress of his heart.

"What are you up to, Mr. Drago?"
"Well, Mrs. Drago, there's no way in hell I'm waiting to reach that balcony. I've never made love in a limo before, and there's nothing like the present to see how it feels. Having you waiting for me all naked and ready for my touch . . . I may kill someone if they get in the way."
"Oh, Mr. Drago. You read my mind."

I like leaving the reader feeling like my characters are having a great life and extremely happy with each other. You know, that wonderful happily ever after.

Chris Bailey said...

Carla--those are LOL funny! I love them!

Meda White said...

I like your idea of mirroring the beginning. I like when things come full circle, so to speak. I also like epilogues that tell what happens after they say "I do" or however they end up.