You must write an ending that satisfies and ties up your plot and all your subplots.
I recommend you start tying up your subplots even before your book’s climax.
Always remember, you have made a contract with your reader, you promised to write and deliver a well written journey with believable characters.
The ending is no place to let them down, create an ending that satisfies.
No one likes a contrived ending least of all the mystery reader.
The clues you have carefully hid throughout your manuscript should suddenly come to the forefront of the readers mind and an “aha!” should be on their lips.
If you are tempted to show the villain with some redeemable qualities and excuse his or her behavior at the end of your novel, don’t. Readers don’t want to know that Snow White’s witch and Hannibal Lecture both had unhappy childhood. They get it.
Note: Please remember from character development, it’s okay for your villain to be multilayered, it’s okay to give the reason as to why they are doing their evil deeds, its okay to show them as human---somewhere early in the novel.
In my book, Lights, Camera. Murder! The reader will remember the layers of clues given and understand the why he did the crime.
Make your villain human early in the book but at the end, make them worthy of a ghastly or long incarnation without the readers’ pity.
Most readers want the villains to suffer and experience a full measure for their crimes not meekly carted away in handcuffs to the nearest asylum for the mentally ill.
In my books, all my villains meet with horrible ends.
And of course, if love is a subplot, as most romantic suspense novels are your heroine wind up in the hero’s arms.
And even if your readers don’t hear that declaration of love, or that long, lingering kiss-- if this is a romantic suspense, the readers should know they are headed that way.
Tidy up all your loose ends, resolve your subplots as you head to your books climax.
What follows are endings all a different style but all endings that have satisfy.
At the end of the movie Star Wars, we are treated to Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker being given their reward after fighting The Empire. Its a bit long in my opinion but wow-the perfect grand ending!
At the end of the movie, Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark, while Indy and Marion Ravenwood, leave the courthouse steps arm and arm; the last scene takes you to a warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant is being stored in a warehouse, its value, worth, not understood to be lost once again to the ages. While Indiana Jones was triumphant over the bad guys and got the girl; the audience is still left with questions about the storage of the Ark and they are ready to see Steven Spielberg film.
At the end of Young Sherlock Homes, (Steven Spielberg, 1985-its a great movie) Young Sherlock defeats a young Professor from his school. Well, that is….. The young Professor is last seen going into a frozen river, supposedly never to be seen or his body to be found again. However, if you stay and watch the credits roll you will also see a horse and sleigh traveling through a snowy outdoor setting. When the credits stop, in the last moments of the film, it shows the sleigh stop before an Inn. The sleigh’s rider walks into the Inn where he signs Inn’s guestbook. You guessed it, he writes Moriarty, our dear Sherlock's sworn enemy. Once again, Steven Spielberg delivers a satisfying ending and an audience wanting more Spielberg films.
In the film, Gone with the Wind, Scarlett’s is defeated; she has lost her child, her best friend Melody, and Rhett Butler. Plus the man she thought she loved, who strung her along, is grief stricken that he has lost his beloved Melody. He never loved Scarlett and she, at last, realizes this. Everything is gone, hopeless or is it? Vivian Leigh looks upward and with the determination and spirit she has so vividly portrayed Scarlett O’Hara thoughout the movie; she remembers she does have something left, Tara, the home she has so valiantly guarded and after all; tomorrow is another day. The reader and the audience both believe Scarlett will triumphant and somehow win Rhett back. And ending with hope!
All are different styles of endings, all are endings that satisfy.
I recommend ending your novel within pages of the book’s climax as possible. If you have more to say, fast forward to an epilogue.
It is said you only get one chance to make a first impression. If your reader is reading a novel written by you, you want to give them a great ending. Also remember, your ending is your final farewell to the reader, it’s their last impression of you, your writing style, your ability to captivate them for the dollars they invested in your book and the time they gave reading it. Create an ending that satisfies and you will make them eager and ready for more of your novels.
In Lights, Camera. Murder! I develop a satisfying ending and tie up the loose ends but as this book is a series, so I added in an epilogue for the next book in the series: Cold River Murders
I take the reader to Sage’s father office in LA, where he is trying to reach his youngest daughter, Sage’s sister, Mallory. More of Sage and Jon were written but does not appear here. This is the adapted version of the epilogue to Lights, Camera. Murder!
From his corporate office overlooking Sunset Boulevard, Jack McCall stood looking out his window toward the Los Angeles skyline. My city, he thought with a measure of pride, my town.
Walking across the room, he looked at the photos of his beautiful wife Savannah, and his daughters Sage, Mallory and Fallon.
Reading the headlines, he dialed his youngest daughter’s phone number. No answer again.
He racked his hand through his thinning hair and leaned back in his chair. Fear and anxiety knotted inside him. He tried to brush away the disturbing thoughts but the chill within of him continued to grow.
“Where the hell are you?” He snapped glancing at Mallory’s photo. Blond hair, blue eyes, she looked back at him from the picture, flanked on either side by her German Shepard, Scout and her Golden Retriever, Hunter. In tight fitting jeans, her T-shirt read, K-9 Search and Rescue. She was smiling. She looked safe. She wasn’t. She was in danger.
Anxious, Jack picked up the phone and dialed her cell phone. His mouth was dry and his hands were clammy. Still, no answer.
She must have seen the headlines. Surely, she knew, there was a serial killer roaming the tall woods of Cold River.
The McCall Mysteries continues as Mallory McCall’s adventure begins in, The Cold River Murders.
Lights, Camera. Murder!
5 Stars, 5 Hearts, 5 Unicorns, 5 Cups of Coffee, 5 Angels
Next week we are going to look some of the elements you will need to market and promote your mystery! Have a great weekend everyone, I'll be around for questions, thoughts and do share excerpts of your novels!