Sunday, January 20, 2013

THE END----or is it?

THE END --- or is it
Today I'm going to talk about ending a story. What is your preference? Do you prefer a story that leaves off with many unanswered questions or one in which the conflict is resolved? It may end in an HEA (Happily Ever After) a HFN (Happily For Now) or it may have an unhappy ending, but it has an ending.
My personal preference is stories that have a conclusion, even if they are a part of a series. I dislike ones that end with the conclusion in limbo or worse yet in the middle of a scene. I've read some of these and come away from them dissatisfied. My opinion is, if a reader buys a book he/she is entitled to a complete story. One that has a beginning, a middle and an end. This even if it is a short story. There may be unanswered questions that will be answered later in the series but the story and the main conflict is resolved.
But leaving things unfinished is a great way to get the reader to buy your next in the series you say. Maybe they will or maybe, like me, it will discourage them from doing so because they assume the next in the series will end the same way and the next and the next. There may not even be a conclusion in the last book of the series. Sort of like a TV series that is discontinued and never ends. I read a story once, granted it was a short story, but it ended in the middle of a sex scene and I mean right in the middle. It left me saying, "what the hell?" and thinking maybe I hadn't downloaded the complete story.
Now don't misunderstand me, I like series. I've written several of my own. They are popular and when you're lucky enough to develop a following your readers will like them. If your stories involve the same characters the reader will grow to love or hate them increasingly as the series continues.
What I try to do is solve the major conflict in the story. I write HEAs so my characters end on a happy note. If it is part of a series, I will write further after ending the story and introduce new conflicts to be solved in the next book of the series. If there is a villain, he may escape to create problems in the next book. Or maybe the next in the series will have a new villain, but at the end of each of my stores the hero/heroin characters are left anticipating what the future seems to offer. Another method I use to entice readers into reading my next book, is to add a teaser, an excerpt from it, after the end of the current book.
What are your thoughts? What kind of ending do you like? As always, comments are welcome. 
Have a fantaboulous day and write on.

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