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Story Endings—Quick or Drawn Out?

There seems to be two different types of endings on a story. One is the quick tie up and resolution. Speeding the reader so fast toward the end that if you blink you missed it and are staring at a blank page. The other is an epilogue that goes on for pages and pages. More than that it seems readers prefer either one or the other: quick and easy, hot on the heals of the climax, or filled with more tidbits of the characters lives.

I am part of the latter club. I often find myself wanting more when a book ends. I’m not done with the story, not done with the characters. Sometimes there is so much more that could go on and happen. The writer in me plays with the characters, ponders what they do next.

Perhaps I’m a sucker for Happily Ever After. I want to see the characters happy, see how they deal with that calming period after resolution. See what happens when the next conflicts surfaces. Because, let’s face it, even the happiest couple alive has some rough patches. There are obstacles in the road. In a romance the main characters have usually not known each other that long, so there is still a learning curve in the relationship.

To me it’s intriguing. Even if it’s just a brief glimpse into what comes next I’m wanting it. Especially on novels that end too quickly and I’m left feeling thrown off a cliff.

Yet many people hate those extended bits. The epilogues. I will be honest; I have yet to write something that doesn’t have an epilogue or epilogue type scene. I love what comes next too much not to give that to my readers. I have even gone so far as to write multiple scenes on what comes next. Not publishable scenes. But scenes I needed to write down to get out of my head. These are my characters and even though their story is done, I’m not ready to part with them just yet.

How much do you like to read after the resolution? Do you prefer to keep the future wide open to any possibility? Or do you like to see a little bit into the next phase of the characters lives?


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