I love a good ending, though the more I study them and watch for them the more I realize how rare they really are. Plenty of stories have passable ending, and some have outright terrible endings, but an ending that really works really well is a scarce and wonderful thing.
Why do I study endings so much? Because I’m not very good at them. I think my Serial Killer books have pretty good endings, but only because I workshopped them and revised them and really went crazy trying to make the endings as good as they could be. My middles go through two, maybe three drafts; my beginnings go through three or four. My endings go through eight or nine drafts before they’re good enough to see the light of day, and even then I worry about them.
So what makes an ending good? I’m going to shake things up today and not the answer the question; instead I’ll just turn it around and ask you guys what you like in and ending. And I don’t just want descriptions, I want examples. I want to know what books/movies/plays etc. have your favorite endings, even if you don’t know why.
I’ll start you off: the best book series finale/wrap-up I’ve read in a very long time is the third Mistborn book, Hero of Ages. Everything came together, in a way that managed to be, yes, both surprising and inevitable. On the movie front, no ending in recent memory has hit me as powerfully as the recent remake of 3:10 to Yuma–it was just so…perfect. I don’t even know how to explain, because I’m not sure why it worked as well as it did. That’s why I’m studying these, to figure out what works and why.
So please, post your comments: What are your favorite endings? What knocked your socks off? What do you think is awesome, and why?