Day 9 – The Last Chapter

9 Nov

You’ve been writing your next book faithfully for months. The process has been a mixture between fun, exciting, grueling, monotonous, and taxing, but finally, you reach the end, the last chapter. How will the story end? What will be the final words you leave with your readers? Will the main character get his or her happy ending? Will it be like many of Shakespeare’s works, a tragedy? Will the reader be left with a dozen questions because you left them hanging in anticipation of a sequel?

How important is the ending of a book? In my opinion, it is extremely important. The reader has invested both time and money into your book. By reading it, they have set off on a journey through the unknown seas of your story. By the time they flip the last page, they need closure. If you have taken them through gun fights, birth, death, bad relationships, a love affair, a car accident, a hostage situation, poverty, fortune, or whatever else you have dreamed up, they need to know that the characters that they have grown to love and root for are okay in the end. Some readers and writers will tell you that they don’t like happy endings, but I believe that those people are the minority. Everything in our society suggests people, for the most, part like happy endings from Lifetime to Oprah, from smiles at weddings to tears at funerals. Life is difficult enough, who really wants to be more depressed after reading a book?

Often writers tend to rush the ending. We’ve all seen it before; that great book or movie that seems to end quickly without warning or settlement. Bad endings are enough to make your reader decide to never, ever, ever read another book by you again. So, here are a few things to consider when writing that last chapter from someone who both loves to read and loves to write:

  1. Consider writing the ending first or midway through the book. By the time you finish the book, you may have to go back and make some adjustments to your proposed ending based on what has occurred during the book, but at least the ending won’t feel rushed because you got tired of writing.
  2. Ask yourself, “Have all the presented issues of the main and supporting characters been addressed?” Not all problems have to be solved and gift wrapped, but they at least need to be addressed enough to provide a sense of closure to your reader. A sequel may continue to play on issues that need more resolution, but unless your book is a suspense that is supposed to leave the reader hanging, or you plan to have the follow-up book available within 3-6 months, don’t tease your reader.
  3. Does your ending leave your reader in a worse place than they started? I used to be a counselor and one of the rules of therapy was containment: Don’t allow your client to fall apart during the session if you cannot pull them back together by the end of it. It is dangerous to have someone leave a session in a state of emotional uproar. Same applies to books: Don’t make your reader’s world crumble if you have no intentions of giving them hope in the end. That is just plain negligent.

Be kind to your readers. Give them great endings that put a spring in their step and make them run to the bookstore when your next title is released.

To learn more about Wife 101, the Book Release Party, or to check out the book trailer,


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From November 1 through November 30, 2011, A’ndrea will be blogging daily about her experience releasing her newest novel, Wife 101. Each day that you reply to her daily blog, you will be automatically entered into the contest. At the end of the month, two winners will be randomly selected to receive a free autographed copy of Wife 101. Only one entry per person per day. The more days you reply, the more chances to win. Winners will be notified by email no later than 12/31/11. Make sure to provide your email address or subscribe to the blog so that you can be notified if you are a winner.  You may also submit your email address to to receive periodic updates on book releases and events.



2 Responses to “Day 9 – The Last Chapter”

  1. Norlita brown November 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Very well written. Though, I do not agree with how you propose the book should end. Happy endings are not the minority they are the realist and to understand that is to understand that everything does not always have a happy ending. I would say stay true to your character and allow their dominoes to fall accordingly.

    • drawilson November 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

      I agree that happy endings are not always realistic, but life is real, why do books have to be? That is the beauty of fiction, not true, not real. Nonfiction provides us with true and real facts and stories. Fiction is our place of escape from what is “real.” Yes, we want fiction to be relateable, something we can feel and understand, but at the same time, we also want it to instill hope in us. In real life, the guy doesn’t get the girl, in fiction he does. In real life poor people stay poor, in fiction, they become rich or financially secure. That’s the wonder of fiction, a writer’s ability to control the world through his/her pen, to change what’s real and make it beautiful…Thanks for being a faithful reader and responder.

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