I finished my novella some time ago and absolutely loved my ending. It left me endeared to my characters and a smile on my face. I felt that even though the story is a little creepy with a couple of evil characters, the ending would leave the reader feeling good. After all, those evil characters were put in their place--so to speak.
However, I sent my manuscript to beta readers and agreed with all their suggestions. They were easy to make. One, whose opinion I really value because she reads across the board, said she thought my ending needed more punch. The story didn’t end with action--just a sweetness. I could see exactly what she meant. My sweet ending was easily incorporated into “the punch” except for one thing: I have no ending now. I don’t have satisfaction, a paragraph or two that makes me feel the story has truly ended. I can’t find that comfortable wrap-up, and that final satisfying sentence that makes me nod, or smile or wipe away a tear.
I keep putting my characters in different locations to see if something sparks my imagination: a brother’s condo where they share a cup of coffee and wrap up loose ends. Doesn’t work.
I’ve put them in a hotel, in the breakfast bar, with swollen eyes from weeping and lack of sleep. That’s okay, but I don’t have the right dialogue for a wrap-up.
Now, I’m investigating them standing around a safety-deposit box, discovering some things they didn’t know. They’re together and they’re getting more answers. This seems like just one more chapter I’ll need before the final wrap-up.
My endings have always been fairly easy, evolving from the characters and their situation. I’m at a complete loss.
Do you know your ending before you finish your book? If not, how do you determine what works and what doesn’t, and what leaves the reader satisfied? Do you change your ending often? If you have no clue to your ending, how do you create one?
I'm desperate for comments and suggestions.