What is your favorite type of story ending? The surprise ending, the wrapped-up and tidy ending, or that something which leaves you pondering ending? The type of story depends a lot on how the end should end, and I think this is where the trouble resides. How do you choose an appropriate ending for your story?
Much of it depends on taste, and this has certainly been a reason for my rejected stories. In the past I’ve fixed it to get the story published, like I did with “The Dream Depot,” but I wasn’t happy with the new ending, and it turns out a few of the readers weren’t either, so I’ll rethink this in the future.
Recent books I’ve read have also sparked my curiosity in endings. While I loved Gillian Flynn’s writing in her book, Dark Places, I thought the ending was terrible. It was a surprise ending, and a disappointing one at that, without enough logical ties to it. I didn’t feel that it connected well enough to the rest of the book. I’m also not a fan of neat and tidy endings like what John Hart has in most of his books, but he always has a few killer lines to finish them off with, like this one in The Last Child:
“We might have died without Levi Freemantle.”
Silence. Sunlight on new-cut marble.
“He told me life is a circle.”
His mother looked at the trees, the rows of stone. She put an arm around Johnny’s shoulders.
“Maybe it is.”
Here is Kurt Vonnegut’s take on endings:
“To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.”
And Orson Welles:
“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”
And Chuck Palahniuk:
“Discovering the ‘impossible’ ending to a new book makes me sick with joy and relief.”
Given the story is speculative in nature, what is your favorite type of ending? Your least favorite? Have you changed your endings to get published and been satisfied, or were you still fond of your original ending?