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Member # 8149

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"the end"

Am I wrong in taking this part so seriously? Or do you all feel that the ending is the most critical part of your work. The first thirteen are cheap ad space, sold out to get people's attention. You're ending, though... Well, that's where you have to leave the taste in people's mouth. My goal is to move 'em enough that a person is left thinking. Not warm fuzzies, but maybe a little mellow introspection. That may be a bit on down the road for me, actually, right now, I just want something that lasts for people. An ending that gives enough closure to folks they don't feel ripped off but also opens the door in people's minds to new possibility. I don't just want to tell stories, I want to tell really great stories, and I think that the end is as much the book as the book is. That may be why I've spent another week re-writing two chapters.... for the third time.

I just want it to be... inspiring. And really, really good, too.

Y'all, please use the thread here to talk about, without quoting or anything, just broad description of either
a.) the best, most inspiring, most memorable ending you've either read or written.
b.) your pref. as a reader to endings: moral, simple, victory, depressing,realiism, happily ever after, etc
c.) any links to sites with GOOD insight on making a really lasting impression with the last impression.
d.) any personal advice or tactics you use in writing bomb endings.

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Member # 8227

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The single greatest ending I've ever read is from David Gemmell's Sotrmrider. It also one of my favorite books ever.

also I generally like the moral, and happy ending.

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Member # 8108

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I go against much of modern science fiction, but I prefer an ending where a great price has been paid, yet there is tremendous hope for the future.

My favorite endings of the books I have read are from Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, and Animal Farm.

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Member # 4849

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My favorite ending, ever, was to Brian Lumley's Necroscope. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it, but the end is:

1) Preordained by the antagonist

2) Just

3) Impossible without the protagonist's speculative element

4) Ironic

For me...it was very satisfying.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited September 27, 2008).]

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Member # 5137

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I like tidy endings, upbeat endings. The kind like in Harry Potter books where you wrap up the main conflict, then there's a little bit of falling action where the "gang" hangs out and digests what's happened to them, talks about the looming larger story arc, and goes their separate ways. Tidy. Neat.

I prefer upbeat to downbeat. Just the kind of person I am.

It really bugs the daylights out of me when an author ends a book with a gazillion cliffhangers as a way to entice me to buy their next book(s.) I have stopped reading series' that behave like this. Too aggravating. You made me a promise in the beginning of *this* book to tell me *this* story - so wrap the darn thing up already and tell me *another* story in your next book. It can have the same characters, it can start right where this one left off, but let it be another story.

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Crystal Stevens
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KayTi; I couldn't agree more. The ending of any story should be where everything that's been told so far comes together to complete a whole. Everything should be brought together and all the major conflicts solved. Without this, a story just isn't finished and will sound like the writer just quit writing without any thought of going any further. I've read several books that did this to me. They seemed to be leading nowhere, but I just kept reading thinking the author would tie everything up in the end and explain what I had read so far. And then "BOOM!" the story is over and I'm left wondering "WHAT HAPPENED????".

If the book is one in a series, I do expect the main conflict of that series to continue, but everything else better be finished. Otherwise--to me, at least--the story is left unfinished and very, very lacking. In this case, I doubt if I would buy another book by this same author. JMHO

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Member # 5952

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I'm a sucker for the bittersweet, kind of like what Philocinemas said. So, something terrible, not everything worked out perfectly, sacrifices were made, prices were paid, but there is hope.

I thought the best ending ever was The Return of the King (the book, not the movie). Here, there is a great loss, both literal and figurative (I won't give it away in the off chance no one's seen this) and yet there is tremendous hope and joy. I would get teary eyed for days after I finish this book.

Lloyd Alexander's The Beggar Queen (part of a series) is also great. It has a similar theme, I think--innocence lost, that the transition to adulthood can only be made with great cost, but with it comes all the joys, and responsibilities, of mastery. Similarly themed is the Prydain series, of which I thought The High King to be the greatest.

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Member # 7974

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Endings are important. I typically won't buy a book until I've read it at least once (by borrowing from another person or a library). If the ending disappoints or frustrates me, then I won't buy the book. That means the author loses money from their bad ending.

I prefer endings that are more upbeat--that is, romantic, hopeful, etcetera--and bring some amount of closure to the story.

I think you know what works, and knowing brings you halfway to success.

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Member # 7990

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This has been brewing in my mind for a while now, and I finally remembered two of the better endings I've read. One was Bruce Coville's My Teacher Flunked the Planet and the other was O.T. Nelson's The Girl Who Owned a City. Both are YA novels.

****** SPOILER WARNING *******

In My Teacher Flunked the Planet, the 6th grade MC's have just taken a tour of the most inspiring and horrific parts of planet Earth and are standing before the council of aliens who will vote on whether humanity is dangerous enough to destroy. They say to the aliens, "Send us teachers", and then the first-person narrator knocks on the fourth wall and says, "So if you ever have a teacher who seems a little odd...."

This one stuck with me for a few reasons. One, the aliens tell the kids specifically that they chose children their age to represent humanity because they were old enough to understand but young enough not to be jaded - a hugely empowering idea to a twelve-year-old. Two, the message of hope: we are worth saving, just teach us how to be better. Three, the kids came up with the request and spoke before the aliens entirely on their own, without human adult guidance.

In The Girl Who Owned a City, the ending scene really made an impact because it was so similar to what I would want for myself at the end of an adventure. The 10-year-old MC has successfully established a settlement of kids in a post-apocalyptic world. At the end we see her working by candlelight in her study, making maps and plans and designs to expand the settlement. It's so rare that pure creativity is celebrated as crowning virtue for an MC, rather than courage or strength or any of the classic hero attributes (though she had her fair share of those too).

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Member # 3619

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I think they're the juiciest, most exquisite words ever.
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Member # 8250

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My very favorites tend to be bittersweet. A great sacrifice made, but with the intended result.

A few specific endings (that may or may not meet the above criteria):

some of my favorite endings:

The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
Nice wrapup of the plot of the book, while explaining some of the unusual events, and giving me enough interest to read book 2 while not being annoying with dangling plotlines.

The Dragon Reborn, Robert Jordan
This one actually wraps up books 1-3 relatively well if you consider it one big plot arc.

Gestella(short story), Susan Palwick
I read this one a few weeks ago. It gave me nightmares, and I don't scare easily. I won't say I "liked" it, exactly, but the ending has made me think about this story many times in the following weeks.

Harry Potter series, JK Rowling

some of my LEAST favorite endings:
His Dark Materials series, Philip Pullman
I liked the first book so much I slogged through the rest, and regretted it (but I've already ranted about this a bit on another thread haha). The whole 3rd book, including the ending, left me realizing I would rather have spent the time talking to pushy timeshare salesmen.

Dark Tower series, Stephen King
I like the whole series... Except the last 20 pages or so

Prey by Michael Crichton
I've also ranted about this on another thread. I must be in a ranting mood today.

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