I'm not sure whether it's a reduction in attention span or a general trend towards sloppy writing but, based on the numerous books I’ve read recently and what I've observed on the idiot's lantern (TV in case you wondered) that adorns our wall, abrupt endings are definitely in vogue. More’s the pity.
But why do we accept them?
|It's not a race!|
- Part 1 - grab the attention with something dramatic
- Part 2 - introduce the characters and the situation
- Part 3 - stuff happens
- Part 4 - more stuff happens that changes or resolves Part 3
- Part 5 - the end
The French, bless their little cotton socks, even have a word for the resolution of a story - the dénouement. The official definition of dénouement is the final revelation of the intricacies of the plot - note the words 'intricacies'. This is no 'and they all lived happily ever after' ending, a book must flow like a river from its furthermost spring to its marine estuary and, while there may be the odd waterfall near the source, they just don't belong in the river's lower reaches.
If you reflect on the literary classics, you'll find that endings were not rushed - look at Bronte and Hardy; they didn't just stop on a sixpence. Perhaps it was because books were relatively expensive in those days or perhaps the advent of the computer game and the need for a quick resolution has taken over. Whatever the reason, the abrupt and premature ending of a book gives rise to a poor reader experience and that diminishes the probability that you'll get repeat business for your next title.
Before you type those final two words 'The End' or put your 3 asterisks in the center of the page, just stop and ask yourself if the ending has:
- Received as much care and attention as the rest of the book
- Arisen plausibly and with total continuity of style
- Included all the dialogue (often truncated, I've found) and actions necessary to achieve whatever resolution you've decided upon
- Followed all of the characters to their natural termination points
- Maintained integrity with the rest of the book
Anything less just can't be called a happy ending.
About the author
Struggling with your formatting, cover design, ghost-writing, marketing or distribution? Contact Any Subject Books and we'll be only too pleased to help you. We're a family firm with old-fashioned standards of accuracy, attention to detail and decency in its trading. Because we endeavour to 'get it right first time', our overheads are lower and our prices highly competitive. Check it out now by clicking this link - Any Subject Books.