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.
** A must-read for those of us who will be participating in Suzanne Johnson's class in June--Quilting 101: Patchworking the Perfect Plot (Even If You're a Pantser).