Writing Question: Satisfactory Book Endings

I’ve read a couple books over the past week–a true treat. I’m not going to give away titles, to respect the authors. This discussion is all about what makes a satisfactory book ending.

Book 1, a fantasy, overall was a good book. The story was quite clever, and I had a hard time putting it down. Until…it occurred to me, a couple times after the 3/4 point that this novel was going to continue in another book. Perhaps I should have assumed “series” since this is a fantasy novel; however, it bothered me the writer was setting me up for a second book when I wasn’t finished with Book 1 yet. The ending was okay, and would have been so much better if plot threads were tied up.
Book 2, a historical fiction novel, had such a satisfying ending, it took me by surprise there would be a continuation of the story. Don’t get me wrong. I’m looking forward to finding out what happens to the characters in the next book–I already have an idea of the story that needs to be told next; however, the author did such a beautiful job with plot and character arc, the novel was fine–as is. The story…the ending was perfect. Not a happily-ever-after ending. Not a dismal ending. Simply a courageous, realistic ending that worked so well for this time period.
This all makes me wonder, what do you think makes a satisfactory book ending–in a stand-alone book? in a book series? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Vivian Lee Mahoney

Consider yourself warned: I write books about rebels. I'm also a postergirlz for readergirlz, a literary advisory group for teens. Who knew going back to the teenage years would be so rewarding?

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