Endings are really tricky… a short while ago I was commenting on ‘Dissolution’ by C.J. Sansom, a marvellous book that I reread for my book club; although I had enjoyed and been as gripped by it as the previous times I read it, I did think the ending was overlong. Not a criticism, but a comment – there were things which needed to be explained after an exciting and climatic resolution to the puzzle – who was the murderer in the monastery, and there needed to be a wind-down for the remaining characters. There needed to be a proper conclusion to the whole novel, because there were other minor plot lines in apart from the murder. I just felt that it was rather extended, and there was a particular conclusion to one of the story lines which I felt was a bit ‘soft’ and unnecessary. I can’t tell you what, as you may not have read the novel, and may want to – and I do recommend that you do! Without giving anything away, there is a very effective and memorable image of a little oil lamp, still alight, floating on a marshy pool, just glimmering in the darkness… A later explanation, rather ruins the effectiveness, I think… but that’s just my opinion.
I thought about this when I was speaking to a friend in the pub last night; he has just finished my latest book Lucky Portbraddon, and he said some very complimentary things about. There were a couple of points I asked him about, including the use of flashbacks to explain why one character behaves as he does – I was relieved when my friend said it was fine and worked well! However, he did say he though the end was a bit abrupt… I really struggled over the end, the last chapters, and rewrote them several times and it’s always a fine balance about how much of a conclusion to have. He said the final scenes made a good ending, but was rather too brief in his opinion.
This is definitely something I need to consider with my next book… but getting the balance right… not too long to be boring, and losing pace, but not too short so the reader wants a little more.
If you read Lucky Portbraddon, I would be really grateful for your opinion! here is a link:
… and for Mr Sansom: