Endings

Cbkpirate
Hi everyone. It’s Jo with a pirate CBK. Yo-ho-ho! I’m back and with a new, faster computer and I even remembered how to get into Typepad to create this post. Yay!

I thought I’d pick up a question from a Canadian.

Wendy from Halifax asked, “I have a question and it is completely off topic, but it popped into my head recently – have you ever finished a book, sent it in, had it published and then wished you had added another chapter to the end of it, or changed how it ended?”

Hi, Wendy. We spent 7 wonderful years in Halifax when we first came to Canada and it’s still one of my favorite places. Except for the long winter. It does go on a bit. This is a picture I took there a few years ago of some of the lovely 18th century houses down near the waterfront.W0130

Your question’s hard for me to answer because I tend to forget such details after a while, but generally by the time I send a book in I’ve decided I’ve done my very best with it. I don’t think I’ve ever realized later that I’d made a terrible mistake. The end might not be perfect, but it’s the best I can do.

Endngs are an interesting subject in themselves, however. In one sense the end of a romance is a no-brainer, but there are all kinds of subtleties that can make or break them.

Pacing, for example. A novel usually builds to some dramatic point and resolution. Round about there the story more or less ends, but if the book ends there it’s horrible. The characters and the reader need some wind-down to recover and enjoy. Sort of like after orgasm. 🙂 Getting enough ease-down and opportunity to savor is part of pacing.

Sometimes as a reader I come to the end of a novel and turn the page expecting more. That’s not usually a good sign. Certainly with a really good book I don’t want it to end, but that’s not what I’m talking about. In that case I’ll sometimes flip back and read the later chapters again. I’m talking about the sort of page turn that needs more, that’s not quite satisfied yet.

On the other hand, but more rarely, the ending goes on too long so I’m thinking, Enough, already. This flaw isn’t so bad because I can just skip, but it still gives an off taste. And the thing about endings, the thing that makes them so important, is how they can colour our feelings about the whole book. I’ve read books that thrilled me down to my toes but that did something at the end that stole some of the pleasure and I never got it back. I’m unlikely to re-read that book, and I might be hesitant to buy the author’s next book.

There’s a saying. The beginning sells the book. The ending sells the next book.

Of course giving me an unexpectedly tragic twist at the end is guaranteed to ruin a book. To me, that makes the heroic journey of the characters meaningless. But even a bittersweet ending can ruin it. Particularly in romance, I want the characters to have bliss after the fight. They have their future, after all, and some rain will pour on their parade now and then, but at the end of the book, right then, after their courageous struggles, I want to read bliss.

In other genres, I will accept a heroic tragedy — if it’s the only way to defeat evil, for example. But not Romjul
a “shit happens” tragedy. The death and suffering has to be meaningful and it has to achieve something. Sorry, but I think the ending of Romeo and Juliet is of the shit happens type.

Shit happening is one of the conventions of the literary fiction genre and often people will see bittersweet, tragic, or even meaninglessly depressing endings as proof of art. There’s another saying. Tragedy is easy. Comedy is hard.

In romance, in addition to present bliss, I want future stability. Heading off into the wilderness, or boarding ship to go in search of somewhere to put down roots doesn’t work for me. What if there’s a ship-wreck? What if they end up on a tropical island and get eaten by cannibals? That sort of thing is for the story, not for after the last page. Afterward is for peace, prosperity, stability, and security. But I know that is a quirk of mine, so I’m not saying it’s essential for a satisfying romance.

One thing I don’t require in a romance ending is the “I love you” moment. Some readers really need the man say the words and if he doesn’t, it spoils the book. To me, the proof of his love and devotion is in everything he does during the novel, so it’s worked or not worked by the end. I don’t mind if it’s there. It’s just not important to me.

So, what sort of endings do you most enjoy in romance novels? Are there things you have to read there for it to be perfect?

Do you have different preferences for different genres?

What about historical novels based on real people? If you know that the character will come to a nasty end a few years after the book ends, does that bother you?
Dragon

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Dragon Lovers, which could appear on shelves at any time.
Guaranteed happy endings and I hope they’re all satisfying.

Thanks for the inspiration, Wendy. E-mail me to say what book you’d like.

Jo 🙂

84 thoughts on “Endings”

  1. Halifax! What fun in the summer with all the artists and vendors on the waterfront. I’ve been in the winter too and you can go a long way about the city indoors through all those neat walkways and never feel any weather. O.K. Enough of my travels.
    I love a little epilogue. I know some find them overly sentimental but it’s always nice to see the sex of the baby… and know the couple have managed to keep their fire burning.
    When I was a Pre-Romance reader, I always thought I had to be bummed out when I read, the bleaker the better. I am soo over that.I feel kind of bad for all those tortured writers trying to deconstruct hell on earth. I want to be entertained at this point in my life—moved, yes, but with joy and not depression. So I put my money where my heart is and save the sad stuff for the library.

    Reply
  2. Halifax! What fun in the summer with all the artists and vendors on the waterfront. I’ve been in the winter too and you can go a long way about the city indoors through all those neat walkways and never feel any weather. O.K. Enough of my travels.
    I love a little epilogue. I know some find them overly sentimental but it’s always nice to see the sex of the baby… and know the couple have managed to keep their fire burning.
    When I was a Pre-Romance reader, I always thought I had to be bummed out when I read, the bleaker the better. I am soo over that.I feel kind of bad for all those tortured writers trying to deconstruct hell on earth. I want to be entertained at this point in my life—moved, yes, but with joy and not depression. So I put my money where my heart is and save the sad stuff for the library.

    Reply
  3. Halifax! What fun in the summer with all the artists and vendors on the waterfront. I’ve been in the winter too and you can go a long way about the city indoors through all those neat walkways and never feel any weather. O.K. Enough of my travels.
    I love a little epilogue. I know some find them overly sentimental but it’s always nice to see the sex of the baby… and know the couple have managed to keep their fire burning.
    When I was a Pre-Romance reader, I always thought I had to be bummed out when I read, the bleaker the better. I am soo over that.I feel kind of bad for all those tortured writers trying to deconstruct hell on earth. I want to be entertained at this point in my life—moved, yes, but with joy and not depression. So I put my money where my heart is and save the sad stuff for the library.

    Reply
  4. Halifax! What fun in the summer with all the artists and vendors on the waterfront. I’ve been in the winter too and you can go a long way about the city indoors through all those neat walkways and never feel any weather. O.K. Enough of my travels.
    I love a little epilogue. I know some find them overly sentimental but it’s always nice to see the sex of the baby… and know the couple have managed to keep their fire burning.
    When I was a Pre-Romance reader, I always thought I had to be bummed out when I read, the bleaker the better. I am soo over that.I feel kind of bad for all those tortured writers trying to deconstruct hell on earth. I want to be entertained at this point in my life—moved, yes, but with joy and not depression. So I put my money where my heart is and save the sad stuff for the library.

    Reply
  5. Great post, Jo! I agree with you on needing some wind-down at the end. I’ve read several books where the last page is the “I love yous” or equivalent, and then… it’s over. I don’t get to share in the transition from star-crossed lovers to committed couple, and I want to! I don’t always need an epilogue, but at least a couple pages past the resolution of the relationship.
    As for reading a book where I know one of the main characters dies… in non-fiction books, it’s sad but then life so often is. I’m happy for the time they have to be happy. In fiction it’s tougher. Stephanie Laurens wrote about the romance of the parents of her main family after she was several books into the series and we knew the father died young. I enjoyed the romance, but knowing they didn’t have a long life together did temper my pleasure, and gave the ending a bittersweet flavor. I almost didn’t read it because I knew it would make me sad.
    Which makes me think of some questions… When you all are writing characters you obviously care about, is it hard to put them in difficult situations? Are you ever reluctant to hurt (physically or emotionally) or kill someone in one of your books even when you know for the sake of the plot it has to happen? Do you ever cry when you write?

    Reply
  6. Great post, Jo! I agree with you on needing some wind-down at the end. I’ve read several books where the last page is the “I love yous” or equivalent, and then… it’s over. I don’t get to share in the transition from star-crossed lovers to committed couple, and I want to! I don’t always need an epilogue, but at least a couple pages past the resolution of the relationship.
    As for reading a book where I know one of the main characters dies… in non-fiction books, it’s sad but then life so often is. I’m happy for the time they have to be happy. In fiction it’s tougher. Stephanie Laurens wrote about the romance of the parents of her main family after she was several books into the series and we knew the father died young. I enjoyed the romance, but knowing they didn’t have a long life together did temper my pleasure, and gave the ending a bittersweet flavor. I almost didn’t read it because I knew it would make me sad.
    Which makes me think of some questions… When you all are writing characters you obviously care about, is it hard to put them in difficult situations? Are you ever reluctant to hurt (physically or emotionally) or kill someone in one of your books even when you know for the sake of the plot it has to happen? Do you ever cry when you write?

    Reply
  7. Great post, Jo! I agree with you on needing some wind-down at the end. I’ve read several books where the last page is the “I love yous” or equivalent, and then… it’s over. I don’t get to share in the transition from star-crossed lovers to committed couple, and I want to! I don’t always need an epilogue, but at least a couple pages past the resolution of the relationship.
    As for reading a book where I know one of the main characters dies… in non-fiction books, it’s sad but then life so often is. I’m happy for the time they have to be happy. In fiction it’s tougher. Stephanie Laurens wrote about the romance of the parents of her main family after she was several books into the series and we knew the father died young. I enjoyed the romance, but knowing they didn’t have a long life together did temper my pleasure, and gave the ending a bittersweet flavor. I almost didn’t read it because I knew it would make me sad.
    Which makes me think of some questions… When you all are writing characters you obviously care about, is it hard to put them in difficult situations? Are you ever reluctant to hurt (physically or emotionally) or kill someone in one of your books even when you know for the sake of the plot it has to happen? Do you ever cry when you write?

    Reply
  8. Great post, Jo! I agree with you on needing some wind-down at the end. I’ve read several books where the last page is the “I love yous” or equivalent, and then… it’s over. I don’t get to share in the transition from star-crossed lovers to committed couple, and I want to! I don’t always need an epilogue, but at least a couple pages past the resolution of the relationship.
    As for reading a book where I know one of the main characters dies… in non-fiction books, it’s sad but then life so often is. I’m happy for the time they have to be happy. In fiction it’s tougher. Stephanie Laurens wrote about the romance of the parents of her main family after she was several books into the series and we knew the father died young. I enjoyed the romance, but knowing they didn’t have a long life together did temper my pleasure, and gave the ending a bittersweet flavor. I almost didn’t read it because I knew it would make me sad.
    Which makes me think of some questions… When you all are writing characters you obviously care about, is it hard to put them in difficult situations? Are you ever reluctant to hurt (physically or emotionally) or kill someone in one of your books even when you know for the sake of the plot it has to happen? Do you ever cry when you write?

    Reply
  9. I am one of those readers who reads the ending first–often before I buy the book. If I don’t like the destination, I’m not interested in the journey. I don’t think an epilogue is always necessary, although some of them are lovely. Sigh! But, like you, Jo, I want to be assured that life for the H/H is blessed with deep happiness. I know the HEA is seen by some as unnecessarily limiting, but I don’t want sadness or ambiguity in my romance endings. Carla Kelly’s Reforming Lord Ragsdale and Connie Brockway’s All Through the Night are exceptions to the journey ending for me since only such an ending allows the reader to believe that the H/H can end up together.
    I don’t want to seem too much the fangirl, but I have to say that Devilish has one of my favorite endings–absolutely perfect!

    Reply
  10. I am one of those readers who reads the ending first–often before I buy the book. If I don’t like the destination, I’m not interested in the journey. I don’t think an epilogue is always necessary, although some of them are lovely. Sigh! But, like you, Jo, I want to be assured that life for the H/H is blessed with deep happiness. I know the HEA is seen by some as unnecessarily limiting, but I don’t want sadness or ambiguity in my romance endings. Carla Kelly’s Reforming Lord Ragsdale and Connie Brockway’s All Through the Night are exceptions to the journey ending for me since only such an ending allows the reader to believe that the H/H can end up together.
    I don’t want to seem too much the fangirl, but I have to say that Devilish has one of my favorite endings–absolutely perfect!

    Reply
  11. I am one of those readers who reads the ending first–often before I buy the book. If I don’t like the destination, I’m not interested in the journey. I don’t think an epilogue is always necessary, although some of them are lovely. Sigh! But, like you, Jo, I want to be assured that life for the H/H is blessed with deep happiness. I know the HEA is seen by some as unnecessarily limiting, but I don’t want sadness or ambiguity in my romance endings. Carla Kelly’s Reforming Lord Ragsdale and Connie Brockway’s All Through the Night are exceptions to the journey ending for me since only such an ending allows the reader to believe that the H/H can end up together.
    I don’t want to seem too much the fangirl, but I have to say that Devilish has one of my favorite endings–absolutely perfect!

    Reply
  12. I am one of those readers who reads the ending first–often before I buy the book. If I don’t like the destination, I’m not interested in the journey. I don’t think an epilogue is always necessary, although some of them are lovely. Sigh! But, like you, Jo, I want to be assured that life for the H/H is blessed with deep happiness. I know the HEA is seen by some as unnecessarily limiting, but I don’t want sadness or ambiguity in my romance endings. Carla Kelly’s Reforming Lord Ragsdale and Connie Brockway’s All Through the Night are exceptions to the journey ending for me since only such an ending allows the reader to believe that the H/H can end up together.
    I don’t want to seem too much the fangirl, but I have to say that Devilish has one of my favorite endings–absolutely perfect!

    Reply
  13. Excellent post, Jo! I totally agree about Romeo & Juliet. One of the many things that lured me to writing romance was the potential for rewriting tales I felt did not come out right, with important characters dying unnecessarily. The Victorians in particular sure did like to kill people off or make their lives unredeemingly miserable, either as punishment for what I regarded as minor sins or as a cruel twist of Fate. I do not regard the HEA in romance as limiting, but as challenging and satisfying.
    Funny, though, how I want all the loose ends tied up in most genre fiction but the Patrick O’Brian books, with their abrupt endings, don’t bother me in the least.

    Reply
  14. Excellent post, Jo! I totally agree about Romeo & Juliet. One of the many things that lured me to writing romance was the potential for rewriting tales I felt did not come out right, with important characters dying unnecessarily. The Victorians in particular sure did like to kill people off or make their lives unredeemingly miserable, either as punishment for what I regarded as minor sins or as a cruel twist of Fate. I do not regard the HEA in romance as limiting, but as challenging and satisfying.
    Funny, though, how I want all the loose ends tied up in most genre fiction but the Patrick O’Brian books, with their abrupt endings, don’t bother me in the least.

    Reply
  15. Excellent post, Jo! I totally agree about Romeo & Juliet. One of the many things that lured me to writing romance was the potential for rewriting tales I felt did not come out right, with important characters dying unnecessarily. The Victorians in particular sure did like to kill people off or make their lives unredeemingly miserable, either as punishment for what I regarded as minor sins or as a cruel twist of Fate. I do not regard the HEA in romance as limiting, but as challenging and satisfying.
    Funny, though, how I want all the loose ends tied up in most genre fiction but the Patrick O’Brian books, with their abrupt endings, don’t bother me in the least.

    Reply
  16. Excellent post, Jo! I totally agree about Romeo & Juliet. One of the many things that lured me to writing romance was the potential for rewriting tales I felt did not come out right, with important characters dying unnecessarily. The Victorians in particular sure did like to kill people off or make their lives unredeemingly miserable, either as punishment for what I regarded as minor sins or as a cruel twist of Fate. I do not regard the HEA in romance as limiting, but as challenging and satisfying.
    Funny, though, how I want all the loose ends tied up in most genre fiction but the Patrick O’Brian books, with their abrupt endings, don’t bother me in the least.

    Reply
  17. Hi Jo,
    You said: “The death and suffering has to be meaningful and it has to achieve something.”
    AMEN! This is so important to me when I read a story–perhaps because this is my main task and hope in life, to understand my own life’s meaning and to help others find meaning. This is, in my opinion, the Chief Task of any spiritual leader whatever the tradition–probably one reason why I’m in the “ministry” field as a profession.
    Really, when you come right down to it, isn’t “making meaning” THE Chief Task of The Human Being in the World? What’s the use of a “shit happens” book or a “shit happens” life anyway? (reminds me of that saying “Life’s a bitch and then you die.”)
    I second Janga’s comment about DEVILISH. It’s just perfect in every way and every time I read it I see and feel something new. I would definitely take it to a desert island (and maybe I should pack a copy in my earthquake survival kit with the canned chili and the bottled water? Hmmm. . .).
    I’m in love with Canada since my trip to Victoria four or so years ago. Sometime I would love for you to write a blog called “A Victoria Travelogue” or some such that would tell us about your favorite places, tall tales and historical must-sees–with photos of course!
    Admiringly,
    Melinda

    Reply
  18. Hi Jo,
    You said: “The death and suffering has to be meaningful and it has to achieve something.”
    AMEN! This is so important to me when I read a story–perhaps because this is my main task and hope in life, to understand my own life’s meaning and to help others find meaning. This is, in my opinion, the Chief Task of any spiritual leader whatever the tradition–probably one reason why I’m in the “ministry” field as a profession.
    Really, when you come right down to it, isn’t “making meaning” THE Chief Task of The Human Being in the World? What’s the use of a “shit happens” book or a “shit happens” life anyway? (reminds me of that saying “Life’s a bitch and then you die.”)
    I second Janga’s comment about DEVILISH. It’s just perfect in every way and every time I read it I see and feel something new. I would definitely take it to a desert island (and maybe I should pack a copy in my earthquake survival kit with the canned chili and the bottled water? Hmmm. . .).
    I’m in love with Canada since my trip to Victoria four or so years ago. Sometime I would love for you to write a blog called “A Victoria Travelogue” or some such that would tell us about your favorite places, tall tales and historical must-sees–with photos of course!
    Admiringly,
    Melinda

    Reply
  19. Hi Jo,
    You said: “The death and suffering has to be meaningful and it has to achieve something.”
    AMEN! This is so important to me when I read a story–perhaps because this is my main task and hope in life, to understand my own life’s meaning and to help others find meaning. This is, in my opinion, the Chief Task of any spiritual leader whatever the tradition–probably one reason why I’m in the “ministry” field as a profession.
    Really, when you come right down to it, isn’t “making meaning” THE Chief Task of The Human Being in the World? What’s the use of a “shit happens” book or a “shit happens” life anyway? (reminds me of that saying “Life’s a bitch and then you die.”)
    I second Janga’s comment about DEVILISH. It’s just perfect in every way and every time I read it I see and feel something new. I would definitely take it to a desert island (and maybe I should pack a copy in my earthquake survival kit with the canned chili and the bottled water? Hmmm. . .).
    I’m in love with Canada since my trip to Victoria four or so years ago. Sometime I would love for you to write a blog called “A Victoria Travelogue” or some such that would tell us about your favorite places, tall tales and historical must-sees–with photos of course!
    Admiringly,
    Melinda

    Reply
  20. Hi Jo,
    You said: “The death and suffering has to be meaningful and it has to achieve something.”
    AMEN! This is so important to me when I read a story–perhaps because this is my main task and hope in life, to understand my own life’s meaning and to help others find meaning. This is, in my opinion, the Chief Task of any spiritual leader whatever the tradition–probably one reason why I’m in the “ministry” field as a profession.
    Really, when you come right down to it, isn’t “making meaning” THE Chief Task of The Human Being in the World? What’s the use of a “shit happens” book or a “shit happens” life anyway? (reminds me of that saying “Life’s a bitch and then you die.”)
    I second Janga’s comment about DEVILISH. It’s just perfect in every way and every time I read it I see and feel something new. I would definitely take it to a desert island (and maybe I should pack a copy in my earthquake survival kit with the canned chili and the bottled water? Hmmm. . .).
    I’m in love with Canada since my trip to Victoria four or so years ago. Sometime I would love for you to write a blog called “A Victoria Travelogue” or some such that would tell us about your favorite places, tall tales and historical must-sees–with photos of course!
    Admiringly,
    Melinda

    Reply
  21. Unlike Jo, I *love* endings where the h/h head off into the wilderness or sail off into the sunset together. I trust the HEA to mean they’ll have a long, happy life, and I like to think of that life as being filled with change and new discoveries–it’s the ending I’d want if *I* were the heroine! Personal quirk, I guess. And they’re not the only kind of ending I enjoy, of course–just a nice bonus on the rare occasions I can find them.
    But I also dislike too-abrupt endings, especially ones that sneak up on you. You know, it *seems* like there are plenty of pages left for a nice, proper denouement where you get the pleasure of seeing the characters enjoying their well-earned happiness. But then the book just STOPS, and it turns out the remaining pages are the teaser chapter for the author’s NEXT book, or advertising for the rest of the publisher’s line.
    (Not that I’m opposed to teaser chapters or ads in the back as such–it’s just when they’re combined with an abrupt, unsatisfying endings.)

    Reply
  22. Unlike Jo, I *love* endings where the h/h head off into the wilderness or sail off into the sunset together. I trust the HEA to mean they’ll have a long, happy life, and I like to think of that life as being filled with change and new discoveries–it’s the ending I’d want if *I* were the heroine! Personal quirk, I guess. And they’re not the only kind of ending I enjoy, of course–just a nice bonus on the rare occasions I can find them.
    But I also dislike too-abrupt endings, especially ones that sneak up on you. You know, it *seems* like there are plenty of pages left for a nice, proper denouement where you get the pleasure of seeing the characters enjoying their well-earned happiness. But then the book just STOPS, and it turns out the remaining pages are the teaser chapter for the author’s NEXT book, or advertising for the rest of the publisher’s line.
    (Not that I’m opposed to teaser chapters or ads in the back as such–it’s just when they’re combined with an abrupt, unsatisfying endings.)

    Reply
  23. Unlike Jo, I *love* endings where the h/h head off into the wilderness or sail off into the sunset together. I trust the HEA to mean they’ll have a long, happy life, and I like to think of that life as being filled with change and new discoveries–it’s the ending I’d want if *I* were the heroine! Personal quirk, I guess. And they’re not the only kind of ending I enjoy, of course–just a nice bonus on the rare occasions I can find them.
    But I also dislike too-abrupt endings, especially ones that sneak up on you. You know, it *seems* like there are plenty of pages left for a nice, proper denouement where you get the pleasure of seeing the characters enjoying their well-earned happiness. But then the book just STOPS, and it turns out the remaining pages are the teaser chapter for the author’s NEXT book, or advertising for the rest of the publisher’s line.
    (Not that I’m opposed to teaser chapters or ads in the back as such–it’s just when they’re combined with an abrupt, unsatisfying endings.)

    Reply
  24. Unlike Jo, I *love* endings where the h/h head off into the wilderness or sail off into the sunset together. I trust the HEA to mean they’ll have a long, happy life, and I like to think of that life as being filled with change and new discoveries–it’s the ending I’d want if *I* were the heroine! Personal quirk, I guess. And they’re not the only kind of ending I enjoy, of course–just a nice bonus on the rare occasions I can find them.
    But I also dislike too-abrupt endings, especially ones that sneak up on you. You know, it *seems* like there are plenty of pages left for a nice, proper denouement where you get the pleasure of seeing the characters enjoying their well-earned happiness. But then the book just STOPS, and it turns out the remaining pages are the teaser chapter for the author’s NEXT book, or advertising for the rest of the publisher’s line.
    (Not that I’m opposed to teaser chapters or ads in the back as such–it’s just when they’re combined with an abrupt, unsatisfying endings.)

    Reply
  25. ***Shit happening is one of the conventions of the literary fiction genre and often people will see bittersweet, tragic, or even meaninglessly depressing endings as proof of art. There’s another saying. Tragedy is easy. Comedy is hard.***
    Hear! Hear! And sentimentality is even harder, if not a downright dirty word.
    I’m an art school survivor, (loved it, but it wasn’t easy either). There is a misconception amongst artists that their job is to point out society’s ills for those of us to dense to see them. I always laughed at that as an incredible conceit.
    It was easy to hang a piece of art that fell into what I call the “Mad Dog and Dead Baby” school of painting, but hang something with a touch of sweetness? Torn to shreds.
    But I’m not advocating treacle. Nicholas Sparks, for me, falls into this category, *even* when he tacks on a shit happens ending! He’s good at dialogue, though.
    Thanks for a great post, Jo!

    Reply
  26. ***Shit happening is one of the conventions of the literary fiction genre and often people will see bittersweet, tragic, or even meaninglessly depressing endings as proof of art. There’s another saying. Tragedy is easy. Comedy is hard.***
    Hear! Hear! And sentimentality is even harder, if not a downright dirty word.
    I’m an art school survivor, (loved it, but it wasn’t easy either). There is a misconception amongst artists that their job is to point out society’s ills for those of us to dense to see them. I always laughed at that as an incredible conceit.
    It was easy to hang a piece of art that fell into what I call the “Mad Dog and Dead Baby” school of painting, but hang something with a touch of sweetness? Torn to shreds.
    But I’m not advocating treacle. Nicholas Sparks, for me, falls into this category, *even* when he tacks on a shit happens ending! He’s good at dialogue, though.
    Thanks for a great post, Jo!

    Reply
  27. ***Shit happening is one of the conventions of the literary fiction genre and often people will see bittersweet, tragic, or even meaninglessly depressing endings as proof of art. There’s another saying. Tragedy is easy. Comedy is hard.***
    Hear! Hear! And sentimentality is even harder, if not a downright dirty word.
    I’m an art school survivor, (loved it, but it wasn’t easy either). There is a misconception amongst artists that their job is to point out society’s ills for those of us to dense to see them. I always laughed at that as an incredible conceit.
    It was easy to hang a piece of art that fell into what I call the “Mad Dog and Dead Baby” school of painting, but hang something with a touch of sweetness? Torn to shreds.
    But I’m not advocating treacle. Nicholas Sparks, for me, falls into this category, *even* when he tacks on a shit happens ending! He’s good at dialogue, though.
    Thanks for a great post, Jo!

    Reply
  28. ***Shit happening is one of the conventions of the literary fiction genre and often people will see bittersweet, tragic, or even meaninglessly depressing endings as proof of art. There’s another saying. Tragedy is easy. Comedy is hard.***
    Hear! Hear! And sentimentality is even harder, if not a downright dirty word.
    I’m an art school survivor, (loved it, but it wasn’t easy either). There is a misconception amongst artists that their job is to point out society’s ills for those of us to dense to see them. I always laughed at that as an incredible conceit.
    It was easy to hang a piece of art that fell into what I call the “Mad Dog and Dead Baby” school of painting, but hang something with a touch of sweetness? Torn to shreds.
    But I’m not advocating treacle. Nicholas Sparks, for me, falls into this category, *even* when he tacks on a shit happens ending! He’s good at dialogue, though.
    Thanks for a great post, Jo!

    Reply
  29. “The beginning sells the book. The ending sells the next book.”
    Ohhhhhh, I love that! It is so perfect, and so true.
    I like HEA endings, though I’m not fond of epilogues because they often seem anticlimactic. Nor do I need the man to say “I love you” at the end of the book. As you said, Jo, the man’s behavior throughout the book is proof of his love. Or should be.
    I remember one book where the heroine resisted the hero right to the end, until a lynch mob tries to hang him. (I forget what he is accused of, but if he spoke up to save himself, it would cause the heroine’s ruin, so he remains silent.) When the aghast heroine pushes her way through the mob to beg him to save himself, the villain says he would do anything to protect the heroine. The hero, noose around his neck and moments from being hanged, replies, “Yes, but would you die for her?” Oh, melt!

    Reply
  30. “The beginning sells the book. The ending sells the next book.”
    Ohhhhhh, I love that! It is so perfect, and so true.
    I like HEA endings, though I’m not fond of epilogues because they often seem anticlimactic. Nor do I need the man to say “I love you” at the end of the book. As you said, Jo, the man’s behavior throughout the book is proof of his love. Or should be.
    I remember one book where the heroine resisted the hero right to the end, until a lynch mob tries to hang him. (I forget what he is accused of, but if he spoke up to save himself, it would cause the heroine’s ruin, so he remains silent.) When the aghast heroine pushes her way through the mob to beg him to save himself, the villain says he would do anything to protect the heroine. The hero, noose around his neck and moments from being hanged, replies, “Yes, but would you die for her?” Oh, melt!

    Reply
  31. “The beginning sells the book. The ending sells the next book.”
    Ohhhhhh, I love that! It is so perfect, and so true.
    I like HEA endings, though I’m not fond of epilogues because they often seem anticlimactic. Nor do I need the man to say “I love you” at the end of the book. As you said, Jo, the man’s behavior throughout the book is proof of his love. Or should be.
    I remember one book where the heroine resisted the hero right to the end, until a lynch mob tries to hang him. (I forget what he is accused of, but if he spoke up to save himself, it would cause the heroine’s ruin, so he remains silent.) When the aghast heroine pushes her way through the mob to beg him to save himself, the villain says he would do anything to protect the heroine. The hero, noose around his neck and moments from being hanged, replies, “Yes, but would you die for her?” Oh, melt!

    Reply
  32. “The beginning sells the book. The ending sells the next book.”
    Ohhhhhh, I love that! It is so perfect, and so true.
    I like HEA endings, though I’m not fond of epilogues because they often seem anticlimactic. Nor do I need the man to say “I love you” at the end of the book. As you said, Jo, the man’s behavior throughout the book is proof of his love. Or should be.
    I remember one book where the heroine resisted the hero right to the end, until a lynch mob tries to hang him. (I forget what he is accused of, but if he spoke up to save himself, it would cause the heroine’s ruin, so he remains silent.) When the aghast heroine pushes her way through the mob to beg him to save himself, the villain says he would do anything to protect the heroine. The hero, noose around his neck and moments from being hanged, replies, “Yes, but would you die for her?” Oh, melt!

    Reply
  33. Do you think good things have to happen to all the characters for an ending to be satisfying? What if the ending is satisfying for the hero & heroine, but some of the secondary characters don’t wind up happy?
    Is the obvious set-up-for-sequel a turn-off?

    Reply
  34. Do you think good things have to happen to all the characters for an ending to be satisfying? What if the ending is satisfying for the hero & heroine, but some of the secondary characters don’t wind up happy?
    Is the obvious set-up-for-sequel a turn-off?

    Reply
  35. Do you think good things have to happen to all the characters for an ending to be satisfying? What if the ending is satisfying for the hero & heroine, but some of the secondary characters don’t wind up happy?
    Is the obvious set-up-for-sequel a turn-off?

    Reply
  36. Do you think good things have to happen to all the characters for an ending to be satisfying? What if the ending is satisfying for the hero & heroine, but some of the secondary characters don’t wind up happy?
    Is the obvious set-up-for-sequel a turn-off?

    Reply
  37. SusanW, I agree on those deceptive books where it looks as if there’s more to come than there is.
    I remember reading once that a difference between watching a movie and reading a book is that we easily get lost in a movie and have little sense of how much is left to come whereas the physical presence of the book is always with us.
    If there’s not much left we know things are going to resolve pretty quickly. If the heroes look as if they’re going to die in the middle of the book we’re 99% sure they won’t. That sort of thing.
    Thanks for the praise for Devilish. I felt I’d hit the spot with that one. It’s not at all easy.
    Jo

    Reply
  38. SusanW, I agree on those deceptive books where it looks as if there’s more to come than there is.
    I remember reading once that a difference between watching a movie and reading a book is that we easily get lost in a movie and have little sense of how much is left to come whereas the physical presence of the book is always with us.
    If there’s not much left we know things are going to resolve pretty quickly. If the heroes look as if they’re going to die in the middle of the book we’re 99% sure they won’t. That sort of thing.
    Thanks for the praise for Devilish. I felt I’d hit the spot with that one. It’s not at all easy.
    Jo

    Reply
  39. SusanW, I agree on those deceptive books where it looks as if there’s more to come than there is.
    I remember reading once that a difference between watching a movie and reading a book is that we easily get lost in a movie and have little sense of how much is left to come whereas the physical presence of the book is always with us.
    If there’s not much left we know things are going to resolve pretty quickly. If the heroes look as if they’re going to die in the middle of the book we’re 99% sure they won’t. That sort of thing.
    Thanks for the praise for Devilish. I felt I’d hit the spot with that one. It’s not at all easy.
    Jo

    Reply
  40. SusanW, I agree on those deceptive books where it looks as if there’s more to come than there is.
    I remember reading once that a difference between watching a movie and reading a book is that we easily get lost in a movie and have little sense of how much is left to come whereas the physical presence of the book is always with us.
    If there’s not much left we know things are going to resolve pretty quickly. If the heroes look as if they’re going to die in the middle of the book we’re 99% sure they won’t. That sort of thing.
    Thanks for the praise for Devilish. I felt I’d hit the spot with that one. It’s not at all easy.
    Jo

    Reply
  41. Good post, Jo!
    Endings are hard. On the one hand, I’m usually at the point that I’m just dying to write the last words because it’s TIME, but often I’ve become so attached to my characters that I really don’t want to say good-bye. My DH knows not to bother me while I’m writing final chapters, because I always cry, tears streaming down my face as I type. Quite a scene. *g*
    Jo wrote: “What about historical novels based on real people? If you know that the character will come to a nasty end a few years after the book ends, does that bother you?”
    This has been a challenge for me — not only knowing where to start with a book based on real people, but where to end. “Cradle to grave” books tend to feel too much like nonfiction biographies, and besides, most people just don’t have a rip-snorting time every one of their days.
    I think because I’m coming from a romance background, I always try to find a point in the real person’s life that “feels” like a HEA — or at least reasonably upbeat. I want the reader to feel as if the character changed, evolved, overcame obstacles, and triumphed at the end — even if their whole life story then plummets downhill. I ended DUCHESS with John and Sarah returning to England from exile; I didn’t want to go on to the point when John has a series of strokes and eventually dies, or have Sarah outlive him for many, many years, picking so many fights with their children and grandchildren that no family members are with her when she dies. Nope, better to leave her and John smiling together in the sunshine….
    And yes, the ending to DEVILISH was particularly satisfying, not only because it finished that book, but in a way finished the whole series. No mean trick!

    Reply
  42. Good post, Jo!
    Endings are hard. On the one hand, I’m usually at the point that I’m just dying to write the last words because it’s TIME, but often I’ve become so attached to my characters that I really don’t want to say good-bye. My DH knows not to bother me while I’m writing final chapters, because I always cry, tears streaming down my face as I type. Quite a scene. *g*
    Jo wrote: “What about historical novels based on real people? If you know that the character will come to a nasty end a few years after the book ends, does that bother you?”
    This has been a challenge for me — not only knowing where to start with a book based on real people, but where to end. “Cradle to grave” books tend to feel too much like nonfiction biographies, and besides, most people just don’t have a rip-snorting time every one of their days.
    I think because I’m coming from a romance background, I always try to find a point in the real person’s life that “feels” like a HEA — or at least reasonably upbeat. I want the reader to feel as if the character changed, evolved, overcame obstacles, and triumphed at the end — even if their whole life story then plummets downhill. I ended DUCHESS with John and Sarah returning to England from exile; I didn’t want to go on to the point when John has a series of strokes and eventually dies, or have Sarah outlive him for many, many years, picking so many fights with their children and grandchildren that no family members are with her when she dies. Nope, better to leave her and John smiling together in the sunshine….
    And yes, the ending to DEVILISH was particularly satisfying, not only because it finished that book, but in a way finished the whole series. No mean trick!

    Reply
  43. Good post, Jo!
    Endings are hard. On the one hand, I’m usually at the point that I’m just dying to write the last words because it’s TIME, but often I’ve become so attached to my characters that I really don’t want to say good-bye. My DH knows not to bother me while I’m writing final chapters, because I always cry, tears streaming down my face as I type. Quite a scene. *g*
    Jo wrote: “What about historical novels based on real people? If you know that the character will come to a nasty end a few years after the book ends, does that bother you?”
    This has been a challenge for me — not only knowing where to start with a book based on real people, but where to end. “Cradle to grave” books tend to feel too much like nonfiction biographies, and besides, most people just don’t have a rip-snorting time every one of their days.
    I think because I’m coming from a romance background, I always try to find a point in the real person’s life that “feels” like a HEA — or at least reasonably upbeat. I want the reader to feel as if the character changed, evolved, overcame obstacles, and triumphed at the end — even if their whole life story then plummets downhill. I ended DUCHESS with John and Sarah returning to England from exile; I didn’t want to go on to the point when John has a series of strokes and eventually dies, or have Sarah outlive him for many, many years, picking so many fights with their children and grandchildren that no family members are with her when she dies. Nope, better to leave her and John smiling together in the sunshine….
    And yes, the ending to DEVILISH was particularly satisfying, not only because it finished that book, but in a way finished the whole series. No mean trick!

    Reply
  44. Good post, Jo!
    Endings are hard. On the one hand, I’m usually at the point that I’m just dying to write the last words because it’s TIME, but often I’ve become so attached to my characters that I really don’t want to say good-bye. My DH knows not to bother me while I’m writing final chapters, because I always cry, tears streaming down my face as I type. Quite a scene. *g*
    Jo wrote: “What about historical novels based on real people? If you know that the character will come to a nasty end a few years after the book ends, does that bother you?”
    This has been a challenge for me — not only knowing where to start with a book based on real people, but where to end. “Cradle to grave” books tend to feel too much like nonfiction biographies, and besides, most people just don’t have a rip-snorting time every one of their days.
    I think because I’m coming from a romance background, I always try to find a point in the real person’s life that “feels” like a HEA — or at least reasonably upbeat. I want the reader to feel as if the character changed, evolved, overcame obstacles, and triumphed at the end — even if their whole life story then plummets downhill. I ended DUCHESS with John and Sarah returning to England from exile; I didn’t want to go on to the point when John has a series of strokes and eventually dies, or have Sarah outlive him for many, many years, picking so many fights with their children and grandchildren that no family members are with her when she dies. Nope, better to leave her and John smiling together in the sunshine….
    And yes, the ending to DEVILISH was particularly satisfying, not only because it finished that book, but in a way finished the whole series. No mean trick!

    Reply
  45. Sign me up as another fan girl for DEVILISH. But then Jo always gives good endings. LOL!
    And I’m another who doesn’t need the big “I love you.” “No, I love you.” conversation. I much prefer something of an in joke instead. An exchange where you KNOW, and they KNOW, that “I love you.” is what’s being said, even if the words are something else entirely.

    Reply
  46. Sign me up as another fan girl for DEVILISH. But then Jo always gives good endings. LOL!
    And I’m another who doesn’t need the big “I love you.” “No, I love you.” conversation. I much prefer something of an in joke instead. An exchange where you KNOW, and they KNOW, that “I love you.” is what’s being said, even if the words are something else entirely.

    Reply
  47. Sign me up as another fan girl for DEVILISH. But then Jo always gives good endings. LOL!
    And I’m another who doesn’t need the big “I love you.” “No, I love you.” conversation. I much prefer something of an in joke instead. An exchange where you KNOW, and they KNOW, that “I love you.” is what’s being said, even if the words are something else entirely.

    Reply
  48. Sign me up as another fan girl for DEVILISH. But then Jo always gives good endings. LOL!
    And I’m another who doesn’t need the big “I love you.” “No, I love you.” conversation. I much prefer something of an in joke instead. An exchange where you KNOW, and they KNOW, that “I love you.” is what’s being said, even if the words are something else entirely.

    Reply
  49. I don’t mind the characters sailing off into the sunset if that’s what will make them happy. The whole point is to give the characters what they want so they can finally be happy together.
    But I do like a big happy family get together kind of ending so we see that the whole family is happy for them, or the neighbors, or their friends, or whatever was used in the story. I’d rather not do smushy I love you’s (although my editors tend to insist on them) but I pour on the smush with those big endings.
    lovely post for a nasty day! (and a very retrograde one. Typepad and aol are apparently not speaking to each other today. I’ve tried three times to post this. four. I give up. I’m trying from Mozilla now)

    Reply
  50. I don’t mind the characters sailing off into the sunset if that’s what will make them happy. The whole point is to give the characters what they want so they can finally be happy together.
    But I do like a big happy family get together kind of ending so we see that the whole family is happy for them, or the neighbors, or their friends, or whatever was used in the story. I’d rather not do smushy I love you’s (although my editors tend to insist on them) but I pour on the smush with those big endings.
    lovely post for a nasty day! (and a very retrograde one. Typepad and aol are apparently not speaking to each other today. I’ve tried three times to post this. four. I give up. I’m trying from Mozilla now)

    Reply
  51. I don’t mind the characters sailing off into the sunset if that’s what will make them happy. The whole point is to give the characters what they want so they can finally be happy together.
    But I do like a big happy family get together kind of ending so we see that the whole family is happy for them, or the neighbors, or their friends, or whatever was used in the story. I’d rather not do smushy I love you’s (although my editors tend to insist on them) but I pour on the smush with those big endings.
    lovely post for a nasty day! (and a very retrograde one. Typepad and aol are apparently not speaking to each other today. I’ve tried three times to post this. four. I give up. I’m trying from Mozilla now)

    Reply
  52. I don’t mind the characters sailing off into the sunset if that’s what will make them happy. The whole point is to give the characters what they want so they can finally be happy together.
    But I do like a big happy family get together kind of ending so we see that the whole family is happy for them, or the neighbors, or their friends, or whatever was used in the story. I’d rather not do smushy I love you’s (although my editors tend to insist on them) but I pour on the smush with those big endings.
    lovely post for a nasty day! (and a very retrograde one. Typepad and aol are apparently not speaking to each other today. I’ve tried three times to post this. four. I give up. I’m trying from Mozilla now)

    Reply
  53. CM, I think some strings can be left dangling, but mainly if they haven’t been made important. But it’s one of those subtle things.
    I think one reason I like a stability ending is because in a romance, especially a historical, the couple are usually heading into marriage and children. The woman especially is going to have a demanding time, I want her to have financial stability, a home she likes, and, to use the modern term, a “support network” for herself and the children.
    Not travel and wilderness. BTW, the wife of Captain Barclay, for whom the Barclay Sound out here is named, married him at 16 and spent the next decade or so on the seas and in the wilderness giving birth to numerous kids. Brave lady, but not a fate I’d chose for one of my heroines,
    Jo

    Reply
  54. CM, I think some strings can be left dangling, but mainly if they haven’t been made important. But it’s one of those subtle things.
    I think one reason I like a stability ending is because in a romance, especially a historical, the couple are usually heading into marriage and children. The woman especially is going to have a demanding time, I want her to have financial stability, a home she likes, and, to use the modern term, a “support network” for herself and the children.
    Not travel and wilderness. BTW, the wife of Captain Barclay, for whom the Barclay Sound out here is named, married him at 16 and spent the next decade or so on the seas and in the wilderness giving birth to numerous kids. Brave lady, but not a fate I’d chose for one of my heroines,
    Jo

    Reply
  55. CM, I think some strings can be left dangling, but mainly if they haven’t been made important. But it’s one of those subtle things.
    I think one reason I like a stability ending is because in a romance, especially a historical, the couple are usually heading into marriage and children. The woman especially is going to have a demanding time, I want her to have financial stability, a home she likes, and, to use the modern term, a “support network” for herself and the children.
    Not travel and wilderness. BTW, the wife of Captain Barclay, for whom the Barclay Sound out here is named, married him at 16 and spent the next decade or so on the seas and in the wilderness giving birth to numerous kids. Brave lady, but not a fate I’d chose for one of my heroines,
    Jo

    Reply
  56. CM, I think some strings can be left dangling, but mainly if they haven’t been made important. But it’s one of those subtle things.
    I think one reason I like a stability ending is because in a romance, especially a historical, the couple are usually heading into marriage and children. The woman especially is going to have a demanding time, I want her to have financial stability, a home she likes, and, to use the modern term, a “support network” for herself and the children.
    Not travel and wilderness. BTW, the wife of Captain Barclay, for whom the Barclay Sound out here is named, married him at 16 and spent the next decade or so on the seas and in the wilderness giving birth to numerous kids. Brave lady, but not a fate I’d chose for one of my heroines,
    Jo

    Reply
  57. Oh wow. I had to go look up the ending of DEVILISH because I didnt remember it. At all.
    Truthfully, I only remember two types of endings.
    One is the “to be continued” type of ending because I hate those with a passion.
    The second is where a motif that is used throughout the book is repeated and ends on that note. I LOVE those. Good examples of that type of ending is UNCOMMON VOWS by MJP or THE SINNER by Madeline Hunter

    Reply
  58. Oh wow. I had to go look up the ending of DEVILISH because I didnt remember it. At all.
    Truthfully, I only remember two types of endings.
    One is the “to be continued” type of ending because I hate those with a passion.
    The second is where a motif that is used throughout the book is repeated and ends on that note. I LOVE those. Good examples of that type of ending is UNCOMMON VOWS by MJP or THE SINNER by Madeline Hunter

    Reply
  59. Oh wow. I had to go look up the ending of DEVILISH because I didnt remember it. At all.
    Truthfully, I only remember two types of endings.
    One is the “to be continued” type of ending because I hate those with a passion.
    The second is where a motif that is used throughout the book is repeated and ends on that note. I LOVE those. Good examples of that type of ending is UNCOMMON VOWS by MJP or THE SINNER by Madeline Hunter

    Reply
  60. Oh wow. I had to go look up the ending of DEVILISH because I didnt remember it. At all.
    Truthfully, I only remember two types of endings.
    One is the “to be continued” type of ending because I hate those with a passion.
    The second is where a motif that is used throughout the book is repeated and ends on that note. I LOVE those. Good examples of that type of ending is UNCOMMON VOWS by MJP or THE SINNER by Madeline Hunter

    Reply
  61. That makes total sense, Jo. I’m just in a place in my life where it’s been four years since I’ve been anywhere I’ve never been before, and TEN years since I last crossed an ocean, and it’s likely to be a few years before that changes. Since I’ve always been itchy-footed and wanderlustful, right now a life of adventure and ever-changing horizons is one of my major unrealistic fantasies that I try to fulfill through books!

    Reply
  62. That makes total sense, Jo. I’m just in a place in my life where it’s been four years since I’ve been anywhere I’ve never been before, and TEN years since I last crossed an ocean, and it’s likely to be a few years before that changes. Since I’ve always been itchy-footed and wanderlustful, right now a life of adventure and ever-changing horizons is one of my major unrealistic fantasies that I try to fulfill through books!

    Reply
  63. That makes total sense, Jo. I’m just in a place in my life where it’s been four years since I’ve been anywhere I’ve never been before, and TEN years since I last crossed an ocean, and it’s likely to be a few years before that changes. Since I’ve always been itchy-footed and wanderlustful, right now a life of adventure and ever-changing horizons is one of my major unrealistic fantasies that I try to fulfill through books!

    Reply
  64. That makes total sense, Jo. I’m just in a place in my life where it’s been four years since I’ve been anywhere I’ve never been before, and TEN years since I last crossed an ocean, and it’s likely to be a few years before that changes. Since I’ve always been itchy-footed and wanderlustful, right now a life of adventure and ever-changing horizons is one of my major unrealistic fantasies that I try to fulfill through books!

    Reply
  65. “Sometimes as a reader I come to the end of a novel and turn the page expecting more. That’s not usually a good sign…. I’m talking about the sort of page turn that needs more, that’s not quite satisfied yet.”
    Oh, I definitley dislike that kind of ending. To me, it’s like the author has decided ‘Okay, that’s enough…I don’t want to write anymore.’ and it is very, very disappointing. I am not usually inclined to even look for anything else by that author.
    I need everything, if not tied up in a pretty bow, at least have the story, the characters and the HEA to arrive to some definitive conclusion. I love epilogues! But some authors also provide an epilogue-type ending that shows that, yes, there is an HEA here, that they are aware of likely difficulties, but nothing that’s a deal-breaker.
    Excellent topic, Jo!

    Reply
  66. “Sometimes as a reader I come to the end of a novel and turn the page expecting more. That’s not usually a good sign…. I’m talking about the sort of page turn that needs more, that’s not quite satisfied yet.”
    Oh, I definitley dislike that kind of ending. To me, it’s like the author has decided ‘Okay, that’s enough…I don’t want to write anymore.’ and it is very, very disappointing. I am not usually inclined to even look for anything else by that author.
    I need everything, if not tied up in a pretty bow, at least have the story, the characters and the HEA to arrive to some definitive conclusion. I love epilogues! But some authors also provide an epilogue-type ending that shows that, yes, there is an HEA here, that they are aware of likely difficulties, but nothing that’s a deal-breaker.
    Excellent topic, Jo!

    Reply
  67. “Sometimes as a reader I come to the end of a novel and turn the page expecting more. That’s not usually a good sign…. I’m talking about the sort of page turn that needs more, that’s not quite satisfied yet.”
    Oh, I definitley dislike that kind of ending. To me, it’s like the author has decided ‘Okay, that’s enough…I don’t want to write anymore.’ and it is very, very disappointing. I am not usually inclined to even look for anything else by that author.
    I need everything, if not tied up in a pretty bow, at least have the story, the characters and the HEA to arrive to some definitive conclusion. I love epilogues! But some authors also provide an epilogue-type ending that shows that, yes, there is an HEA here, that they are aware of likely difficulties, but nothing that’s a deal-breaker.
    Excellent topic, Jo!

    Reply
  68. “Sometimes as a reader I come to the end of a novel and turn the page expecting more. That’s not usually a good sign…. I’m talking about the sort of page turn that needs more, that’s not quite satisfied yet.”
    Oh, I definitley dislike that kind of ending. To me, it’s like the author has decided ‘Okay, that’s enough…I don’t want to write anymore.’ and it is very, very disappointing. I am not usually inclined to even look for anything else by that author.
    I need everything, if not tied up in a pretty bow, at least have the story, the characters and the HEA to arrive to some definitive conclusion. I love epilogues! But some authors also provide an epilogue-type ending that shows that, yes, there is an HEA here, that they are aware of likely difficulties, but nothing that’s a deal-breaker.
    Excellent topic, Jo!

    Reply
  69. Kathy, I think sometimes the chopped-off endings are literally that. The book was too long and the author truncated the end.
    That’s always a huge mistake. To me, shortening a book is like gathering a skirt into a waistband. You don’t usually just take a lump in one place, or even a few lumps. Usually, you take tiny bits all the way along.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  70. Kathy, I think sometimes the chopped-off endings are literally that. The book was too long and the author truncated the end.
    That’s always a huge mistake. To me, shortening a book is like gathering a skirt into a waistband. You don’t usually just take a lump in one place, or even a few lumps. Usually, you take tiny bits all the way along.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  71. Kathy, I think sometimes the chopped-off endings are literally that. The book was too long and the author truncated the end.
    That’s always a huge mistake. To me, shortening a book is like gathering a skirt into a waistband. You don’t usually just take a lump in one place, or even a few lumps. Usually, you take tiny bits all the way along.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  72. Kathy, I think sometimes the chopped-off endings are literally that. The book was too long and the author truncated the end.
    That’s always a huge mistake. To me, shortening a book is like gathering a skirt into a waistband. You don’t usually just take a lump in one place, or even a few lumps. Usually, you take tiny bits all the way along.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  73. What do readers think about books (not romances) where the ending is ambiguous and you have to decide what really happens? I find those sooo disappointing.

    Reply
  74. What do readers think about books (not romances) where the ending is ambiguous and you have to decide what really happens? I find those sooo disappointing.

    Reply
  75. What do readers think about books (not romances) where the ending is ambiguous and you have to decide what really happens? I find those sooo disappointing.

    Reply
  76. What do readers think about books (not romances) where the ending is ambiguous and you have to decide what really happens? I find those sooo disappointing.

    Reply

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