Today we're going to talk about endings.
I'm currently writing Book #2 and it was totally inspired by its ending. I have some leeway in how exactly I want the end to turn out, but Herodotus supplied me with a pretty killer finish that was pretty hard to pass up. So I didn't.
According to James Scott Bell, author of Plot and Structure, and ending should do the following:
1. Tie up all loose ends.
There's almost nothing worse than an ending where you're still left wondering what happened to the smoking gun or the body of the chainsmoking transexual. I once read a quote that said roughly, "If there's a smoking gun in a book, it better go off."
2. Give a feeling of resonance.
The best endings have me thinking for a long time after I close the book. Life of Pi, The Time Traveler's Wife, and Jude the Obscure all have endings that I'll never forget. The story should mean something in the larger sense. Maybe you don't know what that is when you first set out to write, but by the time the book hits the shelves there's hopefully something for the reader to take with them.
So, which endings in books have hit home for you? How do endings fit into your writing?