Okay, so I decided that today should be a blogging day… but I didn’t know what exactly to blog about.
Now, isn’t that always the case?
So, anyway, I opened the notepad on my phone (which is where all my story ideas and most random thoughts go) and found a note that literally just said, ‘sometimes the best endings are the least expected, because that’s what happens in real life.’ I have absolutely no memory of writing that sentence, so I’m guessing it was one of those things I wrote when I woke up at 4 am from a weird dream or something. It also could have been something I read or heard somewhere… but that first thing happens all the time, so I’m just assuming that was probably the case.
But, since I can barely even recall writing that message… I have no clue what it’s supposed to mean, either.
I do, however, have a few guesses.
Remember a while ago when I talked about how endings are important… but to take your time figuring it out? Well… here’s a little bit more detail on how to figure it out… at least, I think so.
Sometimes… the best endings are the unexpected ones.
I mean, clichés are okay and all for endings… but the more original you can be, the better. Like, I do love a good rom-com… but we all know how it’s going to end, every time. It’s just always so obvious. If, however, you could throw an unexpected twist in there… (like, maybe the girl caught in the love triangle picks the guy she isn’t leaning towards the entire story)… then it’ll be much more original. And it’s not like you can’t still have the ‘right feeling’ ending (she can still pick that guy…), but you still need to throw something at the reader to make them question what the ending will be. That way, no matter what happens, it won’t be completely expected.
Aside from clichés and rom-coms, though, some endings can be… just unexpected. For example… in mystery novels. Who done it, right? You could steer your readers in one direction, and then shock them in the end with an entirely different result. You don’t have to go full out psychological thriller or anything, though. (What!!! The narrator wasn’t who he said he was the whole time???) Still, just give some unexpected twists wherever possible.
Or, when you strip back all the genres and want to think of something that will work across the board… you could just… well, not steer the reader towards any specific ending. Stop dropping hints; leave the options wide open.
The whole reason your readers will be thankful when you give them the unexpected ending, though… is, like I had written down, that’s how things happen in real life. Things don’t always go as planned, no matter how hard someone may try… so, why should things be any different for your characters? Sometimes, our real lives take unexpected turns.
The best thing to do when those turns occur, then?
…Reflect them in your fictional writing!
All in the end, though (…haha), unexpected endings can really enhance your writing overall and leave your readers with the big finale they’re searching for in the last few pages. Remember, life takes unexpected turns… and so do realistic stories.
This all just my advice though… like I always say, you do you, and you take what you want from this. Please don’t take my word for prophecy or anything. And, even if you really want to… I still just said ‘sometimes’ in the title!
Now, go plan your next twisty turn in your next hit novel!
…And also be sure to let me know how you feel about unexpected endings in the comments below!