How to Discover the Expected Elements of Your Genre’s Book Endings

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” —Orson Welles

by Quozio
by Quozio

 In an earlier post, I talked about backloading sentences, paragraphs, and scenes. Meaningful words at the end of these leave the reader with what’s important. And backloading leads the reader to continue reading.


  • Do we need to backload a novel’s ending with specific elements?
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We want the reader to read our next book, right? But how do we discover what elements are expected in the ending of a novel in our genre?

Because I write inspirational romances, I researched that genre. I also took a look at non-inspirational legal thrillers. You can do the same for your genre.


  • How to Discover the Expected Elements of Book Endings for a Genre
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♥ I gathered 50 inspirational romances. These included: historical, suspense, contemporary, prairie, regency, and humorous romances. Forty-seven unique authors were represented. I used 10 novels by different authors for a quick look at inspirational legal thrillers.

♥ I read the last 2 pages of the last chapters—not of the epilogues, which many included. I considered epilogues extra explanations and not the ends of the romances. The last 2 pages proved sufficient in showing what the novels left us with in the backloading sense.

♥ I noted the repetitions of elements among the novels.

Inspirational Romances

id-10075211.jpgRepeated elements from 50 novels:

♥ 100% had happy endings. Almost always a given in this genre.

♥ 76% spoke of God. This ran from a mention of God to praising God. Overwhelmingly, though, the element was characters praising God for changes in their character, in their lives, or in the person they’ve grown to love.

♥ 56% had the hero and heroine share a real kiss.

♥ 40% included a marriage proposal or a wedding. Some couples are married from the beginning. Or the story continues after the wedding or the proposal. Or we’re left with the assurance the relationship will grow.

♥ 36% issued noble last words. Although several summarize realized growth in the last 2 pages, this percentage applies to the last few words. Words about how the character is prepared to face the future or about new beginnings.

♥ 32% had at least one character say, “I love you.” Several mulled over or spoke of love, but in this percentage, the actual “I love you” words were spoken.

♥ 18% worked the title of the novel into the ending.


  • Consider these elements for effective book endings in inspirational romances.
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Remember, though, how well we write these elements determines how good they are.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /

Non-inspirational Legal Thrillers

For my sample of 10 novels, the emerging elements were:

  • Discussion of the outcome. This could be wrap-up explanations or talk of appeals or of additional legal actions. (7)
  • Discussions with or about the victim, the guilty person, or the innocent defendant. (6)
  • Hope for the future or hint of spiritual recognition. (5)
  • Moments of the main character’s personal life. Opposed to his legal life. (4)
  • New action, post-case development, or a gotcha. (4)
  • Discussion of the verdict’s accuracy. (3)

Readers or writers, what elements do you expect in the last pages of your preferred genres?

When Can You Call Yourself a Writer or Artist—Comfortably?

“The artist finds a greater pleasure in painting than in having completed the picture.” — Lucius Seneca.


by veggiegretz
by veggiegretz

Do you dream of people buying your art masterpieces or reading your bestseller or attending your sold-out performance? Or do you picture the Most Creative Teacher of the Year Award resting on your mantle?

You’ve purchased the beret and the smock or the getup of your craft. You look marvelous. Then it comes time to study the craft. You realize it encompasses so much than you thought. Maybe God hasn’t called you to the craft.

Don’t get discouraged. Your desire may need to mature a bit. It did for me.

You’ll know you’re on the right track: 

  1. When you connect to everything you do through the perspective of your craft.
by vilhelm
by vilhelm

I’m a writer. My husband looks at the price and functionality in buying a tractor for our garden. I look at its seat and visualize my grandsons riding on Grandpa’s lap. I imagine their smiles and excitement. I picture them telling their children stories about Grandpa taking them for tractor rides. I see everything through story.

An artist told me her artist’s eye never shuts down. While she reads a novel, she sees paintings.

A creative preschool teacher looks at a toilet paper roll and pictures hundreds of uses for it as a craft or a learning tool.

  1. When you care less and less about fame-filled success.

I want my novels to sell, yes, but am I seeking fame as a bestselling author? No. I just want to write stories that will touch others as the stories have touched me. Through my relationship with God, I believe this is where I should be.

Two artists told me how the economy has made it tough for them. For one, it’s few people signing up for her art classes. For the other, it’s few sales. In their success slumps, did they quit offering art classes or stop painting? No.

  1. When you jump on opportunities to learn something new about your craft.

You actually practice what you learn from conferences and workshops you attend. Your bookshelf lined with books on your craft has expanded to two shelves. And you’ve read the books.

You spend time perusing the works of your betters, soaking in how they create something marvelous. You no longer care about looking marvelous.


  • Call yourself a writer or an artist when you view the world through your craft’s perspective.
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  • Call yourself a writer or an artist when you care more about the craft than the fame.
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  • Call yourself a writer or an artist when you dig deep into learning your craft.
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What made you comfortable to call yourself a writer or artist?

2 Seldom Recognized Habits That Rob From Your Creative Work

“Compared with what we ought to be, we are but half-awake.”  —William James

file4781300045861.jpgIf we realized we had these habits we wouldn’t allow them to rob our creative work. But they’re so subtle most of us are unaware we partake in them to some degree.

You’ve determined your creative work is what you’re supposed to be doing. For me, that was seeking God’s will and following His lead over many years of growth.

Now, be careful not to let these 2 habits rob from your creative work.

1.  Do you have the habit of being true to yourself, when it’s a false self you’re being true to?

file0001638098991.jpgThe world says push the limits on morality and good taste. It challenges us to shock people into noticing us. It whispers in our ears, “Life is all about you and getting ahead.” The questions below may help detect whether the subtle whispers have drawn you away from important work waiting within your true self.

  • Do you let the  values or methods of creative friends in your field influence your work so they’ll accept you?
  • Do you want to do something noble in your work, but you think you’ll be ridiculed for being outdated?
  • Are you a plotter, but you believe most people think it’s better to be a free-spirited, seat-of-the-pants artist? Or vice versa?


  • Are you robbing excellence from your creative work by emulating the wrong people?
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2.  Do you have the habit of thinking society needs you elsewhere?

This could be misplaced duty. The good, but not the best, use of your time.

A robbing activity is NOT an obvious procrastination activity. Or one necessary to take care of family. This is an activity you’re subtly lured into performing.

  • id-100205587.jpgIt’s an activity you’re good at. You’d pick you to do it every time, even if it keeps another person from doing it and growing.
  • It’s an activity that seems so right you’ve never bothered weighing the cost of what it’s doing to your creative work.

The following questions may help. For me, they may arise while talking to God to discern if He’s nudging me to perform the activity outside my creative work.


  • Does the activity need to be performed at all?
  • Are you the best person to perform the activity?
  • Are you the only person who can perform the activity?
  • Are you an obstacle for the person meant to perform the activity?
  • Is it right to perform the activity, but you’re spending more time on it than necessary?
  • Is this activity worth relegating your creative work to hobby status?


  • Are subtle, misguided attractions reeling you into activities that rob progress on your creative work?
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What other robbers steal from your creative work?