Jennifer Lyon

Thursday, August 27th, 2009
When Is It THE END?

witch-waterI finished my book yesterday (unless I decide to add, change, delete, tweak or rewrite something else) and here’s what I’m wondering…

When is it THE END?

I debated on the ending for this book. I haven’t put in an epilogue type of scene, I just ended when the story was over. It might seem abrupt. I really debated over this for a couple weeks.

Then I figured I’ll see what my editor says.

Sure, I could put in a feel good ending, but the story is pretty much over.  My gut tells me to leave them wanting more :-)

What do you guys think?

And on a semi-related subject–there were a few times while writing this book that I didn’t think I’d ever get to the end.  Writing a book to the end–it takes a special kind of stubbornness (my family says I have stubbornness to spare!). It takes a willingness to stay with the characters when:

1) You’ve seen them so much of them they no longer seem all that interesting.

2) When their faults seem to outweigh their strengths.

3) When the conflict seems stale and the plot sucks.

4) When it feels like no amount of magic can save the book.

But of course, there’s a lot more work to be done–editorial revisions, line edits, copy edits…but I’m not going to think about that right now!

So back to endings…when/where is the best place to end the book? Do you like the ending right where the actions stops and you know things are going to be Happily Ever After, or do you like a glimpse of the Happily Ever After?

17 comments to “When Is It THE END?”

  1. B.E. Sanderson
    August 27th, 2009 at 7:03 am · Link

    Depends on the story. I’ve read books where I was left wondering what the hell happened to the end, and others where I wish they’d stopped a chapter or two earlier. Most books seem to end in the right spot, though, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I’m sure you’ll find the right end for this story.

  2. Kira Daniels
    August 27th, 2009 at 8:40 am · Link

    I tend to like to know what happened after. Not a lot, just a sneak peek into their lives after THE END.

  3. Val
    August 27th, 2009 at 9:00 am · Link

    I agree it depends on the story, and most seem to end just right.

    However, if the book is a part of a continuing series I do get a little miffed if the sneak peak is after the beginning of the next book. Then when I start reading the new book the first couple of chapters are difficult to read because I feel like I already read them.

  4. Margaret A. Golla
    August 27th, 2009 at 9:12 am · Link

    It’s done when it’s done.
    It depends on the genre and the story. Many times I want to see a HFN in paranormal or contemp, but I want a HEA in the historicals that I read.
    Series books with a continuing character are harder to pinpoint–I think a happy for now is good enough especially if they’ve had a rollercoaster ride throughout the book–I’m reading a Bobbie Faye book, and Toni writes incredible rollercoasters!! She has a way of putting my life into perspective–my craptastic days don’t even come close to Bobbie Faye’s!

  5. Erika
    August 27th, 2009 at 10:08 am · Link

    I like to see the HFN at the end. I’ve read a couple of books that don’t have the HEA and I’m okay with that, but I know that the characters are HFN.

    It really depends on the story. I know that doesn’t help does it? I’d be happy to read what you’ve got and let you know. ;)

  6. Amanda
    August 27th, 2009 at 10:56 am · Link

    I’m one of those readers that gets so into a book that I hate when it ends but I know it can’t go on forever. If I’m really enjoying a book I don’t want it to ever end and get mad at the ending no matter what just because it is over. I think sometimes though you do just have to end it where it ends and readers just deal with it. I know stories can’t go on and on. I have a quote that I like it says “You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”
    I probably didn’t help you any, sorry. :)

  7. Jen Lyon
    August 27th, 2009 at 11:00 am · Link

    B.E., I’ve had the same experiences. I’m just too close to the book right now, so I’m going to trust my editor to tell me :-)

  8. Jen Lyon
    August 27th, 2009 at 11:01 am · Link

    Kira, I think a lot of people like that. I’m swinging back and forth!

  9. Jen Lyon
    August 27th, 2009 at 11:02 am · Link

    Val, same here! I rarely read the first chapter of the next book that is sometimes in the back for that very reason.

  10. Jen Lyon
    August 27th, 2009 at 11:04 am · Link

    Margaret, my ending is more like, “The decks are cleared for happiness.” But Bobbie Faye??? LOLOL! Yeah, that’s a woman who attracts some serious bad luck! Toni is a genius!

  11. Jen Lyon
    August 27th, 2009 at 11:05 am · Link

    Erika, thanks so much for the offer :-) I sent it off to my editor just this morning.

    I am still dithering about it!

  12. Jen Lyon
    August 27th, 2009 at 11:07 am · Link

    Amanda, you are helping, actually! I was thinking that IF (BIG HUGE IF) the book worked, then this is the ending that will leave the reader knowing the characters will be happy, but still wanting more.

    Yeah, I just need a break from the book, LOL!

  13. Silver James
    August 27th, 2009 at 11:52 am · Link

    Amanda, that’s an amazing bit of wisdom!

    Jen, you know I’ve been waging this battle with one of mine, and having read the MS, you know why. I’ve resolved, in my head at least, my problem and will be writing toward that resolution.

    Books tend to know when the end happens and you should trust your gut with it. Otherwise, we’d all drive ourselves nuts with the “what if’s?” and as writers, we have enough of those battering our psyches. :D

    FYI, I’m finally on my own again! So much to do and Iffy has found the scissors! LOL! ;)

  14. Amanda
    August 27th, 2009 at 2:53 pm · Link

    Silver, I wish it was my wisdom but it isn’t, I just like the quote. :)

  15. Jen Lyon
    August 27th, 2009 at 4:47 pm · Link

    Silver YAY you! Time to yourself, finally! And Yeah, I know you’ve had this same struggle. All along, I kept telling myself I’d add a few more pages when I revised, but I just coudlnt’ bring myself to do it. Now if my editor says to do it, then I will.

    Izzy Put Down Those Scissors! :-) :-)

  16. Jen Lyon
    August 27th, 2009 at 4:47 pm · Link

    Amanda, but we all needed to hear the quote and you brought it to us!

  17. Cecile
    August 27th, 2009 at 9:32 pm · Link

    When the pen stops, that is when it ends. Or in this era… when the fingers stop typing.
    Seriously, I am not a write, so I will speak only as a reader… I love walking away from a book… feeling like I was by their sides the whole time… and now it is time to move on. When I finish a book, that is not part of a series, I normally have to wait a few days before I pick up another book. Why, because the story has unfold and ended… in my heart I have to accept that there is no more… the story made me fall in love, made me get made at someone, made me want to get even with someone… hell, if it was good… it made me want to have wild sex with someone… but it takes a few days to say that good bye I guess… I guess I am just weird that way! Yea… it’s okay… you can call me the weird witch, I don’t mind! I might cast a spell, but it will be harmless!!! =)

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