Building a relationship with readers is super important, so equally important is that you don’t disappoint or mis-deliver on your ending. In today’s episode, Rekka and Brian talk about common pitfalls to avoid when writing the ending to your novel.
The Entire Plot Was A Dream
Whether a nightmare that the protagonist wakes from, or a magical portal fantasy where the main character returns home by waking up, the Dream Plot can be very frustrating for readers, especially if the setup of the world-building or foreshadowing of plot doesn’t tie into changes in states of consciousness. Inception, Wizard of Oz, and a few others made it look good, and tempted too many authors to try it as well.
Deus Ex Machina
Literally translated as “God From The Machine,” in such stories, an all-powerful mechanism (either character or plot development) delivers the protagonist from the climax of the story, and drains away all the tension you’ve been building up to that point.
Happily Ever After
It’s a convention, a trope, and in some genre cases, it’s not an option. But there’s a difference between satisfying the reader and tying things up so neatly that you can’t imagine the lives and world presented in the story have anything else to do beyond the plot of the book.
You Give Your Character Expertise and Then Set Up Unwarranted Disbelief for [Plot Reasons]
Like it says on the tin: your character is an elite expert, the best at doing whatever it is they do. So in order to manufacture tension, no one believes their professional opinion. Especially if they’re right.
The Moral of this Story Is:
Make sure that the ending to your story draws from the plot and characters you set up as your plot moves along. Surprising the reader is good, but knocking them back with a hefty dose of “Where did that come from?” is 99% of the time, not so swell.
If your reader is satisfied by your ending, they’ll want to come back for your next title, and your next. If the book doesn’t hit the right notes, linger on the tongue, and lots of other wine and cheese metaphors, they won’t care what you promise them with your next book: they’ve been hurt by you before.
Stories we referenced in this episode:
For our Patreon supporters: Sorry, we kept it tight this week! To hear the usual ramblecast from each week’s episode, along with a special episode each month wherein Rekka and Brian talk about their favorite (or not so favorite) movies, visit our Patreon page and pledge your support of our podcast starting at just a dollar per month. Thanks for your consideration!