Twisting the End of a Series

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Endings are difficult and you need to be careful about being predictable.  You also need to creature closure and not draw it out for too long.  After years, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to end Legends of Windemere.  One thing I did decide on is that there was going to be a few twists and turns heading into the grand battle.  Yet, I’m not going to do the whole ‘fake ending’ trick because that’s just cruel after 15 books.

Many of the twists will revolve around the fates of the characters and how the battle will be going back and forth.  I’ve said a few times that nobody is getting out of this intact.  It could be a physical reminder or a mental one, but you can only find out when the book comes out.  Seriously though, I think throwing a small curve in the ending isn’t a bad thing.  People do love small surprises and action adventures like what I write have a dependence on a ‘wow’ factor.  It shouldn’t come before good storytelling, but you can have the two work together.  Much of it depends on setting things up in previous volumes to make sure the ending works.

To be honest, I tried my best to set up for the twists while not making them obvious.  A few hints that things weren’t what they seem and an allusion to the Baron having some influence over the champion prophecy.  The specifics weren’t designed until I did the final outline for the finale earlier this year.  Even then, I changed some things around when I was doing the writing.  It’s nerve-rattling to do this because you don’t get a second chance at an ending.  Previous plot twist mistakes can be explained or undone down the road in a volume with some creative writing.  In the last volume, you’re setting everything in stone and every twist has a risk.  Fingers crossed that I pull it off.

So, what do you look for in an ending twist?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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30 Responses to Twisting the End of a Series

  1. I really like it when the ending isn’t quite what I expected. All the clues were there, but they led me in another direction, then “wham” something a bit different. If you’re really brave, you could end with a big musical number.

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  2. Tina Frisco says:

    I like to be surprised ~ awestruck but not disappointed. My mind often betrays me, because it’s very good at anticipating the ending. A twist that comes out of nowhere but is truly believable is a thrill. All thought forms are measurable energy. Dream energy might be strong enough to thrust your characters into an alternate reality or another dimension, leaving their (dead) bodies here but catapulting their spirits into a new adventure ~ an adventure left to the imagination of the reader 🙂

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  3. I try to make twists have at least two directions. I can then pick the direction given the storyline. my hope is the twist is both unexpected and believable since I laid in enough information for the reader to accept they have been legitimately had.

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  4. L. Marie says:

    I don’t mind a twist if the author did the work of foreshadowing the possibility of a different outcome. I don’t like twists done just for shock value. Many of those seem empty.

    I recall a trilogy where the author led the readers to believe that a certain outcome was going to happen. But in the last book, she threw a curve ball. There was never any indication that the ending might veer in a different direction. Many readers were outraged. Granted an author can do what he or she wants in his/her series. But no one likes a bait and switch.

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    • Foreshadowing is tough when it comes to a character living or dying. I think it requires leaving both doors open in this case. Not sure if deaths in battle count as shock though.

      I’ve heard of various series like that. Do you remember which one it was?

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  5. You could put an epilogue, as Rowling did with the Harry Potter books, where some years later Harry took his kid to Platform 9-3/4 and reflected that his scar hadn’t hurt once in all that time. Tells you what you need to know about the character’s life going on in a satisfying way.

    If you’ve ever got to the end of a Bioware game, they have a series of codas relating the outcome of the braided plotlines. Some are more bittersweet.

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    • There will be an epilogue that takes place a few years later. Though, I put it more as a final chapter section instead of its own thing. Honestly, I’m more concerned with the outcome of the battle.

      Never played much of the Bioware games. Still on a PS2, so I’m very far behind in that world.

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  6. Pingback: Writing Links 11/27/17 – Where Genres Collide

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