How do you want the book you’re reading to end? Take a moment and think about it. If you could write the last chapter, would the hero and heroine ride off together into the sunset, living happily ever after? Or would it read like a Scorsese film having every character with any redeeming quality die a horrible death in the final pages? Perhaps you would leave the story hanging, primed for a sequel?
How ever you decide to conclude the story, I think matters a great deal. After all it’s the taste you’re leaving in the mouth of your readership. I’m working on a series that has now grown to four books. Since I’ve passed what you would call a trilogy, I suppose I could call it a quadrilogy. If the series continues to a fifth novel, then sencrilogy would be next in line according to my reckoning.
Inventing new words has become a favorite pastime of mine and since Microsoft Word has the “add to dictionary” option it’s now perfectly legitimate. Just like words, there are so many different ways to end a book. The storyline, along with a consideration, or two aimed toward a good finish will go a long way in making the reader continue to think even after the last word is read. Otherwise a great story becomes mediocre with a lack luster conclusion.
Here are some rules I end by. If the book stands alone with no sequel the ending can be anywhere from a twist that no one expected to a simple “the end” where everyone say’s their goodbye’s and goes about their business. I’d rather mine end a bit more thought-provoking, raising a question or two, yet not with so much fanfare as to cloud the story.
With a series, I like to complete the story and then in the last chapter leave the reader hanging by a thread as a segue into the next book. Ya know… the more I think about it every book has its own challenges when it comes to crafting a suitable ending. So in conclusion, I’ll end my books; you end your books; and I’ll consider this posting a rhetorical question.