You might consider … whether the ending of your book is a high point of satisfaction for the reader. If not, is there another scene or circumstance that might make a better ending?

– Sol Stein, from Stein on Writing

Mother Jones: You’ve said that you usually write the ending of a book first. How would you write the ending of this interview?

Larry McMurtry: I have never written the end of any of my novels, but I do conceive of the ending before writing. I write to get to that ending. The ending of this interview? Thank you.

Interview with Larry McMurtry

 

John Mullan: The ending is always what people complain about if they complain about a novel. I do a thing every month for the Guardian newspaper in England where we actually get a contemporary novelist in to talk to readers and to me about a novel that everybody’s read, and when the readers ask the novelist questions, if they have some kind of puzzlement or dissatisfaction it’s always the ending they focus on; why did you end it like this? Why didn’t you do this with this character or that with the other? And it’s almost as if…if you enter into an elaborate contract with a novelist as a reader, the ending is where you’re paid or you’re not, the novelist does justice to you and the characters or doesn’t.

from The Book Show: interview with John Mullan

Ramona Koval: And even though you say ‘in life there are no proper endings, we expect proper endings in books.

I hate hate hate when the ends of chapters say things like, “I would look back on this day for years and wonder what ever happened to that cat.” You’ve just sucked me into a wonderful chapter and I’m eager to see what comes next, but with that one line you draw attention to the fact that this is a story I’m being told and it takes me right out of the immediacy of it and kills all the tension. Also, if this is a murder mystery or the character is being chased, you’ve just told me that character survives for years and so they probably live at the end of this story. What’s the point of continuing to read if the reader knows the ending?

– CA Marshall, editor

  1. Writing Fiction: Killer Novel Endings from WD
  2. The Top 10 Best Closing Lines Of Novels from Lit Reactor
  3. The 10 Best Closing Lines Of Books — In Pictures from The Guardian
  4. The Ten Best Book Endings from PW
  5. The Importance Of Endings from Book Riot
  6. 10 Fantastic Novels with Disappointing Endings from The Atlantic
  7. 10 Better Endings For Classic Books from Book Riot
  8. Literary fiction has a problem with happy endings from The Guardian
  9. The Top 10 Best Closing Lines Of Novels from Lit Reactor
  10. The 10 Best Closing Lines Of Books — In Pictures from The Guardian
  11. The Ten Best Book Endings from PW
  12. The Importance Of Endings from Book Riot
  13. 10 Fantastic Novels with Disappointing Endings from The Atlantic
  14. 10 Better Endings For Classic Books from Book Riot