I am trying to write the last chapter in the book I’m revising. My crit group opined that I hadn’t tied up enough of the plot thingymabobbers. Let me just say right here, endings suck.
So, I’m going to ask you all what kind of endings you prefer. Does the protagonist need to be happy, healthy, and satisfied with his lot? Does the antagonist need to be dead, incarcerated, or reformed? Do you need to know if the secondary characters are living productive lives as you turn the last page? These are the nagging questions I’m asking myself on behalf of my prospective readers. I just don’t know how much I want to tie up.
Time for some ferinstances.
Egon, the protagonist, has some feelings for this girl he met while recruiting men to help him defeat the witch, Katerina. He kissed her, he thinks about her time to time, he’s kinda got a thing for her. When last he saw Jessica she was pissed because two of her brothers were killed and one maimed while fighting Katerina. Heat of the moment, he’d just told her they were dead, she tells him she never wants to see him again. Done? Or do you need to know more in the last chapter?
Acinom, a secondary protagonist, a winged humanoid female and the last of her kind has helped Egon become a leader and gave him tools to defeat Katerina. She’s kind of a mentor though a very unconventional one. She has been flirting with Egon throughout and the two developed a psychic connection. She is an alluring, wanton, free spirit without many boundaries and has told Egon that she and he should start a new race, half her, half him. Oh, and she’s okay with Jessica being in the mix. Haven’t seen much of her toward the end because mentors have to fade. She’ll make an appearance in the last chapter but do you need to know if Egon is going to father her babies?
Lars, a sixteen year old boy and one of the first to join Egon. He’s a smartass and he hears the whispers of dragons. We last saw him on the back of the dragon circling above the castle. He’ll have at least a mention in the final chapter but how much do you need to know?
I see him living in a stone cottage near a cavern high atop a cliff. Gradually, the constant whispers of the dragon drive him mad. He takes to stealing chickens and kidnaping robust middle-aged women. I won’t go into detail here but suffice it to say, mental illness is a terrible thing. But, someone else might have a different imagining of Lars’ future. Someone else might imagine him married with three kids living on a small farm. He’d have a herd of dairy goats, the dragon would keep the predators away and he’d teach his children to make yogurt. How do I end it with Lars?
How much does the reader want? How much do I give them? How much control do I exert over the direction the story takes from here? That’s the real question isn’t it? And I haven’t a clue.
How about you? Do you like everything wrapped up? Do you like to wrap everything up. Or do you like to let your reader’s imaginations wander willy-nilly?