Story Endings (Or, Johnny Depp & Alan Rickman in the same post.)

I’m having a time brainstorming a couple of picture book endings. I usually start strong with a single idea that somehow chases a rascally rabbit down a deep dark hole. Which leads me to Johnny Depp when I’d started with an outdoor garden party. Some of you may be wondering what’s the problem.

Cohesiveness. And one thing logically leading to another, instead of a smattering of events.
I stayed up way too late last night thinking about endings I like and why. I like endings that . . .

1. Satisfy the reader, bring resolution. Tie up nagging loose ends and show that everything (whether events, items, people) have purpose. Thinking A Sick Day for Amos McGee.
2. Echo the beginning.
3. Reveal the character’s growth.
4. Add an element of surprise, an unexpected twist. Leave me gobsmacked. I loved O. Henry shorts as a kid.
5. Provide a promise of good things to come. (I keep thinking of the blue butterfly (Alan Rickman) in the Alice in Wonderland remake.)
6. Don’t feel too abrupt, or leave me feeling like I was dropped.
7. Make me laugh, or cry, or stare in awe. Or laugh louder. (These are usually the result of any of the above.)
8. Keep their promise, the unwritten secret code between the writer and the reader. The story stays true to itself. No genre hopping.
9. I am having so much fun, I don’t realize I’m learning something. I come away feeling smarter. (In The Kitchen Daughter, the protagonist doesn’t twist the biscuit cutter because that would seal the edges and prevent a rise.)
10. Leave me wanting more. More time with the characters, in their world. (Hello, LOST. As maddening as some episodes were.)
I’m curious. What is your favorite ending and why?

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