Imagine this feather, which lodged in a pine tree in my backyard one day this summer, drifting and floating and settling into place after falling from a bluejay. It's a peaceful, quiet thing to see, that drifting feather.
Now read this with that settling feather in mind:
Not long ago I read these words in a blog post from PK Hrezo: "The ending to your story should be like dropping a feather--let it drift and settle. It's not a bowling ball that falls with a thud." In the blog post, PK was summarizing some notes she took during a writing conference, and I don't know about you, but those two sentences . . . hit me like a bowling ball.
Not in a bad way, but in a perfect way. It says what I've always thought about a book's ending and could never put to words. Strange for a writer, but true in this case. My favorite endings to books aren't those that surprise the pants off me or those that leave me hanging, but neither do I want a perfect ending. I want an ending that drifts and settles.
And so this image--this drifting, falling, settling feather--depicts a story's end. Where the ending lands is up for grabs, as it should be, but how the ending falls should be in tune with the story.
What great stuff have you heard about writing a story's ending? When you read, what makes you love an ending?