Saturday, October 13, 2012

The end

I have been thinking about endings a lot lately. For two reasons. Firstly because I am giving a talk to a group of novel writing students in a week or so about getting the climax and ending right, and secondly because I am working on my revisions for Portraits of Celina and working diligently on, among other things, getting the climax and ending right. (And it has been SO hard, but I think I am getting there. Slowly.)

Endings are important. Endings are worth the effort.

Because after all - and I don't know where this quote originated (sorry) - "Your opening will sell this book, but it is your ending that will sell your next."

A while back I blogged some killer openers. So in the interests of symmetry and fairness, here are some cracker endings.

The Book Thief, Markus Zuzak

"All I was able to do was turn to Liesel Meminger and tell her the only truth I truly know. I said it to the book thief and I say it now to you. 
I am haunted by humans."

Looking for Alibrandi, Melina Marchetta

"You know, a wonderful thing happened to me when I reflected back on my year.
'One day" came.
Because finally I understood."

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

"Maybe I ain't too old to start over, I think and I laugh and cry at the same time at this. Cause just last night I thought I was finished with everything new."

Chocolat, Joanne Harris

"Hoping that this time it will remain a lullaby. That this time the wind will not hear. That this time - please, just this once - it will leave without us."

All That I Am, Anna Funder

"Bev tips the half-cup of black fluid down the sink. She pulls the phone from its cradle in the wall, dials the necessary number and starts to clean."

My favourites here have to be The Book Thief and Chocolat, but they all give you that wonderful sense of completion, don't you think?


  1. I met a librarian once who told me she always read the ending of a novel first. I almost wept. Every part of a story is important but I think endings are the most important. For me, stories are created so that you can write/read those final pages. So they better be good ones!

  2. Absolutely. Those last pages need ten times more love and attention than is given to those showy, attention-seeking openers. There is nothing worse than investing all that time in reading a novel only to feel ripped off or less than satisfied by the ending. What's it all about Alfie? The ending should tell you. Yes?