I’ve been tweaking my novel ending (again) and wondering just how much I should wrap up. Should I leave any loose ends? Anything for a reader to ponder about later?
I read a recent post by author Sarah Ockler about novel endings:
“I like happy endings. I like to know that things worked out for my favorite fictional people just as I want things to work out for my favorite real life people.
But real life isn’t like that, is it? We don’t always get to know how things turn out for everyone we’ve ever loved. We don’t always get the final say. We don’t always get any say, because unfortunately, endings are just that — endings. And they’re often abrupt and unpredictable.”
I have two particular characters where at the novel’s end, you know where they’re going but they don’t necessarily have all their “issues” worked out — especially between each other. I’ve been wondering if I should try to solve them all before the end, but now I don’t think it’s necessary. In fact, it may feel too “forced” at the end to have their issues resolved. Wrapped up a little too tight and neat.
But there should also be a balance too. For example, you don’t want your major story question going unanswered or a major plot point never being addressed. It almost like needing to trust your writer’s instinct of how much to leave open and what to close.
As a writer, do you feel that you must resolve EVERYTHING or leave a little open for the reader to come to her own conclusion?
As a reader, what are some that things that really frustrate you about novel endings? For me, it’s cliffhanger endings. Ugh. Ha, ha.
Would love to hear some opinions! :)