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Unpredictable Endings

December 3, 2008 4 comments

As most writers, I read a lot of books and enjoy a great book, but as I come close to the end, I find myself guessing the ending before I read it. For example, romances usually end with the man getting the woman and they live happily ever after. You know what I'm talking about, right? I have no problem with those endings, but the endings I love the most are the unpredictable endings, the ones you can't predict until the very end. Furthermore, even though the ending was unpredictable, you're still satisfied with it and anxious to rush to your nearest bookstore or favorite online retailer to buy another book by the same author.

While unpredictable endings are great and make a book unforgettable, as a writer I understand how difficult it can be to give your readers an unpredictable ending that will still leave them happy with the way you wrapped up the story. That said, one of my goals for 2009 is to create unpredictable endings for as many of my upcoming Christian fiction novels as I can. Since I know this goal may be a tough one to accomplish, I plan to study as many resources as I can for tips on how to create unpredictable endings. Why not join me and make it one of your goals for the upcoming New Year as well.

What are your thoughts on unpredictable endings? Have your read any novels with unpredictable endings you'd like to recommend? Have you ever written and published a novel or short story with an unpredictable ending? Please share your thoughts and/or tips on this topic in the comments area below.

Photo credit: Wesley Fryer

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4 comments: to “ Unpredictable Endings so far...

  • Michelle Kafka 11:50 AM CST

    I have read a few books with unpredictable endings. Sometimes days afterwards I am still scratching my head asking myself did I miss something? Or I go back and re-read if I didn't understand.
    I don't remember the titles though.

    Unpredictable ends are a nice, fresh change after reading so many common endings as I am a frequent reader of romances - Harelquin Intrigue, Silhouette Nocture, etc. And suspense/thriller, crime novels.

    I am still taking my Creative writing course and do recommend the book "Beginnings,Middles & Ends" by Nancy Kress from the "Elements of Fiction Writing" series by Writer's Digest Books.

    Good luck to you on finding all the resources you need to give your novels unpredictable endings!

    When I write my novels sometime in the future, I will use unpredictable endings too.

  • Misti Sandefur, Christian author/freelance writer 1:44 AM CST


    I've read quite a few Harelquin novels as well, and they're great, but I enjoy Christian romances and other Christian fiction novels more.

    Best of luck to you with your Creative Writing course, and thanks for the recommendation -- I'll have to look that book up to help me create unpredictable endings. Writer's Digest publishes some great titles!

  • Diane 11:55 AM CST

    Misti - I'm with you on this one. I love unpredictable endings that seem appropriate and not like the author was trying to force the book to end and couldnt' figure out lose ends. (Wouldn't more editing fix that? If someone had a deadline to meet, that could cause such a problem perhaps).

    I also depend on some books to have a predictable you said, we like to see the man get the woman or vice-versa because we want to see how they solved their problems to make it all "happy ever after" and not have a real-life ending that they broke up after 6 months, you know?

    I like your idea of a challenge, but I'm not working on fiction right now. I'm actually trying to do what you do - set myself to work and support my financial needs - through my writing and I don't think fiction would get me there quickest. What are your thoughts on that?


  • Misti Sandefur, Christian author/freelance writer 3:27 PM CST


    Next time you do begin a fiction book or story, feel free to take advantage of my challenge. I think it's a way to try something new... or should I say add something new. It may or may not work for you, but I think it's certainly worth a try.

    Fiction may not support our financial needs as quickly as writing non-fiction, but I know there are markets for fiction stories that pay well. I've been trying to write non-fiction articles and fiction stories, but I've yet to submit my fiction to paying fiction markets. However, I have plans to submit to fiction markets soon, because I'd like to focus more on writing my fiction stories. Once I test these waters, I'll be sure to blog about my progress here at Life of a Writer.

    As for my thoughts on earning an income by writing fiction, I think one could earn a decent living only by writing fiction. All it takes is time and commitment.

    When we write non-fiction, we spend time searching for non-fiction markets, submitting queries and writing the articles. That said, I don't think it would be any different with fiction. In other words, instead of focusing on non-fiction markets one should focus on fiction markets. As I said, I plan to test this soon, so I'll keep you up-to-date here at Life of a Writer.