One of the hardest things to write is a good ending. The writer has to resolve the conflict, but not too easily, or else what was the whole book about? All the loose threads need to be tied up, with the right balance of emotion. And God forbid you leave out the “I love yous!” (I’ve done that a couple of times, on shorter stories. Oops.)
I love the ending of the very first book I finished. This book was a behemoth—600 pages, three couples, various family members. The ending was an epilogue, maybe 3 years after the book ended, at a town barbecue. I showed the main hero and heroine with a child, the heroine pregnant again after a miscarriage, so the hero was solicitous. The main heroine’s grandmother, who had disapproved of the relationship, was grudging in her approval of the hero. The secondary hero and heroine had their own HEA, and the third hero was divorced from his wife, but had found new love. The rest of the story is, well, a first book, but I want to revisit it at some point just because I love that ending.
Subsequent books have had their problems. In fact, the first three books I sold, I had to rewrite the endings before I could go to contract! I didn’t have the emotional punch I needed. I think I have a dozen different endings for Hot Shot alone! So definitely I tend to lock up before writing the last 20 pages of a book. And that last line—I can’t tell you how I stress over the last line. It has to fit the tone, the character and the situation, and I try to do it in one line. I’m a glutton for punishment that way.
I like endings that show the hero and heroine appreciating each other for who they are, like in Beneath the Surface (not really a spoiler, because, you know, romance!)
I like the hero and heroine forgiving each other, like in Where There’s Smoke. A big grovel on the hero’s part never hurts, either.
I love endings where the hero and heroine recognize themselves in each other, like in Don’t Look Back (which may be my favorite of all the endings I’ve written.)
What kinds of endings do you like? And what are some of your favorite endings?
MJ Fredrick knows about chasing dreams. Twelve years after she completed her first novel, she signed her first publishing contract. Now she divides her days between teaching fourth grade students how to write and diving into her own writing, traveling everywhere in her mind, from Belize to Honduras to Africa to the past.