I often have an idea of what the outcome may be, but I have never demanded of a set of characters that they do things my way. On the contrary, I want them to do things their way. In some instances, the outcome is what I visualized. In most, however, it’s something I never expected. For a suspense novelist, this is a great thing. I am, after all, not just the novel’s creator but its first reader. And if I’m not able to guess with any accuracy how the damned thing is going to turn out, even with my inside knowledge of coming events, I can be pretty sure of keeping the reader in a state of page-turning anxiety. And why worry about the ending anyway? Why be such a control freak? Sooner or later every story comes out somewhere.
– Stephen King, from On Writing
If you choose to use a protagonist who is an admirable crook, do not fall into the moralistic trap of using the cliché ending in which, after all his trials and tribulations, the lead loses the stolen loot either through a quirk of fate, the machinations of an even more
crooked partner, or the cunning of the police. If you have established your crook as a sympathetic character and have gotten your reader to root for him throughout the bank
robbery (or whatever), your audience will only be frustrated when he loses everything simply because you feel that you must prove “crime doesn’t pay.”
– Dean Koontz, from Writing Popular Fiction
I can’t start writing until I have a closing line.
– Joseph Heller
I rewrote the ending of A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.
– Ernest Hemingway
Stories do not end.
– ANAÏS NIN