author C.C.Cole's blog

Sunday, July 28, 2013

On Story Endings

"All That Jazz"

When I wrote the first two Gastar novellas, editors highly criticized the endings, especially for the second book of the series, “Children of Discord.”  While both stories built upon each other and have been reviewed separately as stand-alone books, the second one tends to leave the reader ready to pick up the third novella.  (Progress is going well.)

I completely respect and understand the criticisms from editors; but the creativity must come from the writer.  The story is our own, and some rules (to me, anyway) just have to be broken.  Not every chapter needs to be a single scene, dialogue can and does drive the plot in action stories, and not all endings need to be a couple kissing or a massive blowout destruction of a diabolical enemy.

Are there endings I don’t like?  Some Hitchcock films had weird endings with much unexplained, though I am a major fan.  (Why did those Birds show up?) Of course, the G.R.R.Martin mega-hit “A Song of Ice and Fire” (Game of Thrones) has sad endings in some of his books but one way or another, at least the first three, are memorable.  Many dark fantasy stories like the prototype LOTR and later Harry Potter led up to the “big battle,” and resolved the story.   Clichéd endings admittedly are not a favorite.  I don’t mind the couple getting together but give us more than a jealous ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend to get past to achieve the ending we expect.

What endings do I like?  Generally, if I like a novel, then I usually like the beginning, middle and ending.  Historical backdrops, especially involving war sometimes have tragic endings, but I appreciate that in a well written, moving story.  Over the top, insane endings are just as great.  My overall favorite endings would be tying characters together in a story like in “A Confederacy of Dunces.” 

So, new authors, there’s no real answer to a better ending to a story.  Just make it your ending.  As a reader and reviewer, the creativity is what I’m looking for, so go for it. 

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