Do writers struggle with the ending scene of their novel? Will a publisher ask that an ending be changed? Can a less than satisfying ending ruin a story? Does any of this matter if the beginning 90% is in promising shape?
I typically have one of three reactions to reading an ending. #1. Satisfying. It left me feeling good about the journey and choices the main character made. #2. Where’s the rest? As I turn the page and see background notes or an author’s bio, I wonder why certain plot points were never resolved. Please don’t leave me hanging. Or #3. Not what I expected, but also very thought provoking. I never would of thought that would happen, but it makes sense.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about endings as I come close to finishing a second middle grade manuscript. I started out by having an outline for a solid beginning, a somewhat muddled middle, and a focused ending. Now that I have written the solid beginning and made the middle come to life, the ending I had always envisioned doesn’t seem to fit. Sure it ties up all the plot points, but I kept having this feeling it was too clean of a break from what I had set up.
What to do? I went back and reread that 90%, beginning the editing and rewriting process. As I went along a new ending surfaced. It was more of a surprise ending (close to #3 above) but also gave the final pages of my story more punch.
Next step is finding out what others think. It will be an interesting couple of months. That’s not my ending here, I have found a better one and it’s a quote:
“Life’s just a bunch of accidents, connected by one perfect end.”
—Daniel C. Tomas