Writing “The End”

No, I’m not finished the book, the one that was overdue and the one I was going to finish before RWA. I gave it a good try but finally had to email my editor at midnight the day before going to RWA that I wasn’t going to make it. I also realized during the conference that I’d made a misstep in the plot so I had to go back and fix that. Then I received the copy edits for Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady (Dec 2009)…So I’m just now back to writing the last 50 pages of the book. With luck, I will turn it in on Friday.

I’ve been thinking about what makes for a satisfying ending of a book. In Romance, of course, it is the Happily-Ever-After. I guarantee that will be a part of my ending. I see the ending of the book as starting with the “Black Moment,” the moment in the plot when it seems like the hero and heroine will never wind up together. The end, of course, is when the hero and heroine are together and nothing can tear them apart again.

Besides this happy ending, what else is important?

1. The ending should tie up loose ends. Subplots need resolving. Story questions need to be answered. This doesn’t mean that everything works out fine. In real life not everything works our perfectly so I like to leave some things imperfect. I think that makes the ending more memorable.

2. The hero and heroine should bring about their own happy ending. This is not the time for the friend to solve their problems for them. The hero and heroine have to figure it out and take action.

3. The ending should not be rushed. It has to be developed at a pace consistent with the rest of the book. I think this is hard to do. At this point in the writing process, most of us just want it to be over.

4. The ending should be logical and foreshadowed. This is not the time for a Deus Ex Machina to show up, the person or event created by the author to pop up and solve the ending, even though there was no inkling of this at the beginning of the book. The reader should be able to look back and realize the elements for the happy ending were in the plot all along.

5. Not an essential, but something I like to strive for is a parallel to the beginning of the book. I like to try to recreate that first scene in the ending.

What do you think is essential for a good story ending? What mistakes have you seen made?

I have absolutely nothing new on my website, but there is still time to enter the new contest.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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