To me, both as a writer and a reader, endings have always been about harmony and an unnameable feeling of elation, as if you’ve been holding your breath the entire time and a great sigh, shuddering with the pent-up emotions of a literary journey escapes you when you reach that final phrase. The end.
Many books have endings that function as epilogues rather than the ultimate climax, but I always found works that finish on the greatest reader engagement to be the most memorable. At the same time a bad ending can ruin a story especially when it seems to lead nowhere except a point past which the author appears to have lost interest in his or her own creation. As a reader, it makes you feel cheated, as if the writer tricked you into investing time and emotion in a story only to leave you stranded in the middle of the journey. You have to at least see the shore to find some level of satisfaction when you finally reach that last line. And if a writer has the power to land you safely on a new coast at the end of their work … well, that is what I call fine writing.
As for myself, I tend to write stories in two different ways: one starts from a simple idea that I develop as I go along and naturally reach the culmination of, and the other is when I already know the beginning and the ending and I just have to fill in the blanks. But knowing where you’re going before you start can be a curse…