Happy Endings

Happy Endings! I finished Leo’s Story in time and sent it to the editor (who gave me 5 extra days which I sorely needed). So I am breathing a sigh of relief.

It is always hard to know how exactly to bring a story to the end. There are things I want my endings to have and I’m not always sure they do until the readers read them.
Off the top of my head, here is a list of “must-haves” for endings.
1. They must be logical. The reader should think they make sense.
2. Even though they make sense, they should also have some element of surprise
3. Little clues should occur earlier in the book so that, at the end, the reader sees why it couldn’t end any other way.
4. Loose ends should be tied up. The reader should know what happens to all the characters.
5. In romance, the ending should be happy. Or “satisfying” as RWA now defines it. Mine are always happy for the hero and heroine. Not for me to have the hero and heroine find love, then the hero goes out sailing and drowns.
My husband and I just watched a movie on Netflix that had one sort of ending that I hate. I don’t know the title of the movie, but it was all about the hero trying to rescue the heroine from a coven of witches who want to have her as a human sacrifice on winter solstice. Everything he tries doesn’t work but he does get to her in time right when the sacrifice is going to happen. Instead of the hero saving her, though, it turns out that the whole thing was a set-up and the hero becomes the human sacrifice. Then you see the heroine set up the next fellow in the exact same way.
Horror movies often have this sort of ending. Just when you think all is well, you find out it is just going to start all over again.
I’m not saying these sorts of endings are wrong. Only that I don’t like them. I much prefer the happy ending of a romance novel.
What elements to you think are important in story endings? What kind of endings do you like? What kinds don’t you like?
Thanks to all in our “Risky Community” who have been with me these last few weeks while I’ve lamented and obsessed about needing to make my deadline. I have felt very supported!

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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