Novel Endings: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do

After going through my beta readers’ critiques, I noticed that each one felt differently about my novel ending. Two liked it as is and two had very different comments. I read their notes over and over, making sure I wasn’t missing something valuable that I needed to see. I read my novel ending a few more times and went back to my beta readers’ notes again and again. Then I read articles online about novel endings and about what to avoid and that’s when it hit me—my novel ending wasn’t strong enough. I thought that if I carefully combine the last two chapters of my book, I could come up with a stronger ending. So I did just that, along with rewriting and simplifying a few things. Now I feel more confident about my new ending for HIGH.

Here are a few helpful articles I found online about novel endings.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Novel Endings
Spoiler alert! What makes a great ending?

I think a great novel ending should sum up everything in the story. It should answer all the questions, connect all the dots and and most of all, it should leave the reader satisfied. I think the simpler the ending—the more powerful it is.

What about you? What do you think makes a great novel ending?


0 Replies to “Novel Endings: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do”

  1. Funny you should ask, Corey. Heh. I just finished the last chapter of my novel. I actually saved a confrontation for that last chapter, and finalized things between the two main characters (both women). However, I do feel there are some straggling details that I am going to bring together in an epilogue. It has a prologue, so I think the epilogue will be fitting. Thanks so much for the tips and the links.

    1. I think it’s a good idea for you to add an epilogue since you have a prologue. I don’t have either so I really needed to answer everything in my novel ending. I really hope I did. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  2. Oh, man, that’s a tough one. I had no clue how to end Catskinner’s Book, so I just kind of stopped. I broke all of the rules, introduced a new character, changed the rules of the game, completely altered the relationship between the two main characters.

    That was the number one complaint in the reviews I’ve gotten, actually, that the ending was unsatisfying. Several people did say the ending make them want to read the sequel, which is nice, but I felt like kind of a cheat ending it the way I did.

    1. Endings are tough. The good thing about what happened with yours is, like you mentioned, it made readers want to read the sequel. So I guess, in the end, it worked out.

  3. The thing I love most about my book – granted, it’s a memoir not a novel – is that it ends on a beginning. As it touches on some heavy material, I wanted to end on a high note.

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