Questionable: Endings

S asked:

I’d love to hear more about endings. About how we wrap things up in a novel in general. I’ve heard terms bandied about like ‘the obligatory scene’ and a ‘circular ending’. I’ve been told the ending is written in ‘falling conflict’ not ‘rising conflict’. What are romance writers expected to do structurally, compared to other novelists when ending a book? Also, do we have to give the reader a Happy-Ever-After? I’ve noticed in my critique group how everyone ties everything up neatly at the end of their book but I prefer it if some things are left unanswered – is that a bad idea? I always think there’s nothing left for the reader to think about after they finish the book, if every question in the book is answered. Are we supposed to answer every question? How does the story question relate to endings? Are we supposed to resolve the hero’s wound? What about the emotional arc and the ending? How is a sub-plot wrap-up different to the main plot wrap-up? Really, what I need is a Hoover and access to your brain…

JenniferNennifer: I vote with S for more about endings, not because I am going to write anything, but because so often I have read a book that was good for the first 3/4 and then ……… either an additional conflict is introduced, which just feels like it was put in to keep the book going a requisite number of pages, or the relationship quits growing while we wrap up the plot and it is less satisfying.

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