I was just sitting in the pub the other night when a friend came over especially to comment on my latest novel, ‘Loving Judah’. I was so thrilled with her appreciation and pleased that she enjoyed it, and afterwards I thought a lot about what she said.
One of the things she thought was successful, was the ending; endings are something which I really work hard at as I’ve mentioned before. Although I want to solve the puzzles in my books, and answer all the questions the reader may have, I don’t want an unrealistic happy-ever-after- ending because my characters are in situations where they might have to work hard to achieve the happiness they deserve. On the other hand, I don’t want a miserable downbeat ending, so the reader chucks my book in the bin and vows never to read me again (OK, with an e-book it would have to be an imaginary bin).
I don’t want the ending to be too abrupt so the reader comes to the last page and thinks ‘What??Is that it??’ and feel as if they have been hurried to the conclusion because a) I was fed up with writing b) I couldn’t think of any other way to end it c) it’s just a rubbish ending. I also don’t want there to be an exciting climax and then it all dribbles away with a lot of padding, as if I can’t bear to let go and say goodbye to my characters.
Something I feel important is that the characters should be believable to have a life after the ‘THE END’… in my head I know what their future is, but I would like my readers to imagine their own future. I could write follow-on novels; definitely Deke and Michael from ‘Farholm’ have interesting futures once they leave the island, and maybe one day I’ll write their story. For Tyche too her life after leaving Easthope continues in my imagination but I am not sure there is such a story to be written about her. As for Aislin, from ‘Loving Judah’ it is apparent from the first page that her life is going to change and I think it is pretty clear by the end of the book what direction that change is going to take her… but who knows? The reader can decide for themselves!
So… going back to my friend in the pub, when she said she particularly liked the ending of ‘Judah’ I really was very pleased that I had succeeded in making a satisfactory ending.