Lindsey R. Loucks

Author of Romance and Other Scary Things

Wrap It Up With Pretty Ribbon Or Give It To Your Cat

It’s that time of year when I bang my head against the wall and hope to rattle ideas loose for gifts to give everyone. Yay.

But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about story endings. Lately, most everyone has been dying at the end of all my short stories. Am I being lazy? Is that a cheap way out? Yes and yes. But these stories weren’t search-inside-your-soul types, then suddenly a bomb explodes and limbs are piled on top of souls. Eep, sorry about that image. Nope, these stories were dark to begin with, and if readers thought at the beginning that everything was going to be okay, then maybe they’ve been banging their heads against walls too hard.

I have been known to write a story or six where no one dies. It’s crazy, I know! The endings to these are tricky, though, probably because I’m lazy. Am I supposed to make everything pretty like that present up above? Because I suck at making things pretty.

Or can I leave endings looking like my cat got ahold of it? Maybe something like this:

This is Christmas after Jesse took over. See his butt?

This picture doesn’t quite capture it, but wrapping paper was everywhere and kids were crying. It was messy. This kind of resembles my current novel’s ending (that’s how I see it anyway) where everything is all over the place and down is now up. A few loose ends have been tied, but most dangle loose. Is that okay?

I suppose I could detonate a bomb at the very end and kill everyone…

What are your thoughts on endings? Do you wrap everything up nicely? Or does it look like a cat pounced on your ending? Any ideas for gifts for people who already have everything?


  1. Co-incidentally, the ending of my novel is just finishing up its critique cycle today and it’s been fascinating seeing how people react.

    Yes, I killed off a load of people. Some bad, some good, which means it’s not all happily-ever-after. I tried to tie up the main threads, the ones people should most care about, but I also tried to surreptitiously leave enough loose ends to make life interesting in a sequel.

    Sorry, I’m clean out of gift ideas.

  2. Gifts–try something homemade. Either homemade ornaments or candy or cookies. You can buy pretty Christmas tins to give those in. Just ask–I’ve got tons of recipes and ideas.

    I hate killing off people I’ve come to love, but I’ve done it in SS, maybe…we’ll see anyway 🙂 Since my books are supposed to be stand-alone, but characters carry over, I am trying to tie up loose ends firmly. Each plot is its own thing so it needs a satisfactory ending, even if it’s not birdies singing and sun shining. Might be slightly overcast, but should leave you with a stuffed to the brim with THE END feeling.

  3. I don’t usually kill people at the end…unless I really don’t like them. Or think it would scar the reader (I’m evil like that).
    So far, I’ve never killed off an MC. I just might this time round. I’ve reached the first novel I’m going to have 2 endings for 😀
    PS – love cats at Christmas.

  4. Botanist – Yes, I’d like to make life interesting in the sequel, too, but I’d also like the first book to feel complete. Writing is hard.

    Mysti – You do a great job of wrapping things up firmly. I must take notes on how you do this. Homemade! I’ll give that some thought…

    Stef – Two endings? I’m intrigued…

  5. Endings are quite tricky… at least for me… trying to wrap things up, not make it a boring or predictable ending.. not to mention ensuring the characters got there in believable ways… argh… my head hurts.. I’m almost at the end with my current draft and facing these challenges…

  6. Tania – I know exactly what you mean. Thank goodness for second and third and fourth drafts!

  7. Mine don’t look like either the cat one or the pretty present. Mine look like they’ve been thrown into a brown paper back and folded neatly at the top with a here-ya-go! I used to curse Phillip K. Dick for his rushed endings, and now I’m guilty of it. I tie the important things up, but everything’s rushed. Working on getting a fuller ending….

  8. Maybe you’re riding the high of almost being finished, and you want to get there fast? That happened to me, too. An editor told me to end my WIP on a slightly more hopeful note, which meant stretching it out a bit more. I did, but I still don’t know if I succeeded.

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