Thursday, March 13, 2014

On Endings

This morning, while exploring other people's reviews of books that I've reviewed on Goodreads, I saw these two reviews juxtaposed and it made me smile:

Now, it's probably no coincidence, in that the ending to Under the Dome seems to be the most controversial thing about it . . . well, that and the politics.

Me? I’d argue that it’s not a deus ex machina ending at all. Certainly, the ending of The Stand is (for the unititiated, "deus ex machina" is Latin for “God in the machine,” a much critized and well worn cliché ending often used by writers who have left themselves nowhere else to go or just want to end the damn thing. Wikipedia explanation here.)

The Stand used a quite literal machine (the one that Trashcan brought into Las Vegas with him thinking he was doing everyone a favor) to sort out the good people from the bad and bring things to a nice, tidy conclusion. But Under the Dome? Well . . . of COURSE that's what it was. What else could it be? In fact, I'd be curious to know what the above reviewer thought it was. A force of nature?

In fact, as I blogged while reading it, I thought Under the Dome was fairly “meh” UNTIL the ending, which salvaged it for me. But then, you’re never going to please everyone.

Which got me thinking about the ending to my most recent novel, SINCERELY DEAD, as well as the endings to some of my other novels and short stories. Now, I don’t give myself credit for much, but I do think I do endings fairly well.

I love the ending to my pirate adventure, SWASH!, which I liken to the feel-good ending of Willy Wonka. I like the ending to SUMNER GARDENS too (a book that has LOTS of other things wrong with it) in that it ends almost exactly the way it begins and (I think) wraps everything up nicely. I like the endings to many of my short stories.

But with my most recent ending . . . I took a risk, and by that I mean, I'm fairly sure it doesn’t necessarily end the way a reader may think it might. In fact, it might have a slight deus ex machina ending of its own (though even that is somewhat in keeping with all that came before it.)

Funny thing though, the only feedback I've gotten thus far on the ending of SINCERELY DEAD wasn't the feedback I expected. Yes, the reader thought something else was going to happen, but what he thought was going to happen was (to my mind) never going to happen. In fact, I never even contemplated going in that direction. I only hope right now that opinion is an outlier . . .

At any rate, please read it and judge for yourself! I can’t wait to hear what you think, good or bad. I've got thick skin! I can take it. Really.

And as always, thanks for reading my stuff.

PS: If you're interested in acquiring the TRUE FIRST EDITION of SINCERELY DEAD, then make sure you order your paperback copy in the next few days (it's currently on sale at Amazon for only $6.29!)

I found a couple of minor errors (I mean, really minor. So minor in fact that I bet you can't find them. But I know they're there. ) that I plan on correcting over the weekend. After that, the FIRST EDITION will be forever unavailable. Act now!

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