A word about endings. I have a problem with endings, generally. I was reminded of this a few minutes ago while chatting with a friend of mine on the telephone, and we were talking about the series finale to HBO’s Entourage, which I wasn’t too fond of: Ari quitting his job to reunite with his estranged wife, Eric making up with a pregnant Sloan and Vince heading off to Paris to get married. It all seemed so… I don’t know, safe. And perfect. Boys get girls. Friends heading off into the sunset. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I felt let down.
Nor was I fond of the series finale of Lost (they were dead?!), or with the ending to The Hunger Games, which I felt was a nonending. Although I am a fan of the book and the entire trilogy, I thought the first book’s ending functioned simply to set up the second book in the series. I remember finishing the book and tossing it onto the sofa and groaning. Actually, I wasn’t all that thrilled with Catching Fire’s ending either. See what I mean? (I have 50 pages to go in Mockingjay; you can imagine my nervousness.)
I’m starting to think it’s me, the writer in me — I have a tendency to dream up my own little ending as I read a book or watch a film or TV show, and then often the REAL ending falls short of my expectations. Kind of like how you picture characters in your mind as you are reading a book and then are disappointed when you see the actors and actresses who have been chosen to play them. It’s never what you pictured.
Not that I don’t like happy surprises! Those are the best, particularly when I’m SURE I know what’s going to happen in a film or book, and then I’m totally wrong — but in a good way. The writers, instead of playing it safe, went above and beyond, into directions that were new and exciting.
Which brings me to my own ending for Baby Grand. For a girl who has a problem with endings, imagine writing one? The pressure!
Indeed, I know that writing an ending is a tall order — having to wrap things up in a way that feels complete, while leaving a few questions or teasers lingering, if you feel so inclined.
And I have no idea if I succeeded.
But all you can do — I think, all any writer can do — is write the ending you see in your head, be true to your voice and end your book in a way that feels right — satisfying — to you.
And hope that satisfaction extends to your readers as well.