How Important Are Endings In Novels?

We’ve all been there, you’ve neglected your usual chores or duties for a few days and slammed the door in search of some peace and quiet. You’ve finally reached the milestone, you’ve made it to the last page and NOBODY can ruin this book for you … Or can they?

The answer is … possibly.

Today we’re going to talk about endings in novels and how important YOU the reader think they are to the story. Which camp do you fall under …

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Yes, the ending IS important!

You invest your time reading a book, where (hopefully!) each page should be building towards the climax and the ending is where we see all the pieces fit together.

So, let’s see why endings ARE important:

  • A good ending needs to make the reader FEEL something, to leave an impact or lasting impression.
  • Must PAY OFF, the reader has spent time building towards this i.e. the big reveal/hero’s happy ending/aftermath etc.
  • The ending doesn’t have to be liked by the reader, but it must SERVE and make SENSE to the rest of the story.
  • The ending of a book can determine whether the reader will come back to this author again. If we can’t form an OPINION on what we’ve just read likelihood is, we won’t return. 

Check out these titles that have been voted to have the best endings:

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

NO, the ending ISN’T important!

Is it fair to judge an entire book because of a dud ending? For some readers, a good ending isn’t important because it doesn’t affect their opinion of the of REST of the story.

Let’s take a look at why endings might not be that important:

  • The characters and story should be GRIPPING enough to stay with you long after, therefore leaving the ending unimportant.
  • Sometimes CLOSURE isn’t always needed, not all questions need to be answered.
  • Endings that don’t tie up loose ends can leave the reader WANTING more and room for potential series.

Icing On the Cake

Personally, I fall into the YES category and feel an ending can dramatically affect how I receive the book as a whole. It’s a fine line between giving enough to satisfy the reader and writing an ending that’s truthful to the story. The final page is the icing on the cake, and if it leaves a bad taste in our mouths, we won’t be coming back for more.

What do YOU think?

How do you feel about endings in a novel, let us know!

BIO: Olivia Brennan works as a Freelance Writer, Blogger, Script Assistant & Assistant Script Editor. Follow Olivia as @LivSFB on Twitter and check out her website, HERE.

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