What makes the best endings in my opinion?
In a word: Resonance.
I want to come up for air from amid those final pages gasping and reeling from the emotional impact of an ending so powerful, that I need to sit in my overstuffed chair holding the book and just basking in the post-read glow.
hmmm... is that too much? *sorry*
I want to feel giddy with the symmetry and structure of the perfectly executed plot timing.
I want emotional payoff.
I want to have never in a million years have seen that coming, but once I get there, I can't see it working out any other way.
And as a writer, I want to know how to do this. ;)
I have been studying this topic, having just started the revision process on my own WIP, and here is what I have come up with thus far: (only time and you guys with tell if I am on the right track.)
All of the loose ends (plot threads) must tie up, and the two main characters (not necessarily lovers) must reconcile from a conflict, while solving the big problem, and inflicting poetic justice upon the villain, which simultaneously addresses the main characters internal conflict...and all of these things must happen very close together, but in a natural and believable way.
LOL! I have a bit of a headache just looking at that paragraph.
*rolls up sleeves*
Wish me luck, you guys!
Some of my favorite super-satisfying endings:
(sorry, I had to make #1 a movie...
the ending was that good!)
5. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
4. Bag of Bones by Stephen King
3. The Taking by Dean Koontz
2. Duma Key by Stephen King
1. Se7en by Andrew Kevin Walker
p.s. sorry if I wrongly led you to believe that I had some kind of formula or quick fix for endings... the truth is...there isn't one...but it sure is fun to dream about, huh?!
p.p.s here is an awesome set of audio pod casts about endings by some people who are super good at them: http://www.writingexcuses.com/tag/endings/