Lessons Learned...The Rejection Way #4

Monday, March 8, 2010
Easy Endings

This is number four of my "Lessons Learned" series. I started this sequence of posts, hoping to help others avoid rejection by telling them a couple of reasons why I myself have received rejections on book submissions. And today, the topic of rejection is the "Easy Ending."

How many books have you read or written that base their entire conflict on misunderstanding? The hero thinks one thing about the heroine and the heroine thinks something else about the hero, and this misunderstanding is the sole reason they are not together. If the two would merely have one honest, open conversation, then everything would be resolved and the story would be over...In fact, that is how the story usually ends...with the two main characters finally discovering the truth and everything being right in the world again. The end.

Well, this is a cope-out ending. I've been guilty of doing it, but that still makes it too easy of an ending.

In college, I learned that the end of a story has to show change in your main character or has to teach them something new about the world or themselves. And simply realizing they were misunderstood about a minor fact doesn't really help develop their character. It's not a very sustainable ending. They need to show some kind of growth or development by the time "the end" rolls around.

So, the next time you're working on a story, try come up with something more creative than, "Oh, so you've really loved me all along? Why didn't you just say so on page ten, so this could've been a short story instead of the long, drawn-out disaster it was?" Otherwise, you may be joining ranks with me in the rejections pile. But, hey, at least I would've be all alone in there then!

Good luck on your manuscript and your submissions.


  1. Wonderful tip, Linda! It's so easy to build a conflict around misunderstandings. But you're right, it needs to be so much deeper than that. Hope all is well for you and that new sweet baby!

  2. When I read a book like that, I want to insert myself into the book and lock both characters in a room until they either kill each other or resolve the misunderstanding! That drives me CRAZY when they refuse to communicate!

  3. Good tip. I want to throw up when a missunderstanding ends like that. :O)

  4. I actually read a book recently--I wish I could remember the name!--that dealt with a big misunderstanding at the end. I was so mad when I finished it!
    You're right. Nothing is more disappointing for an ending.

  5. Ahhh, that is rather lame, isn't it? Misunderstanding isn't exactly conflict, is it? And we all know it is all about conflict!

  6. Great tip. If you're stuck for conflict ideas, give the h/h opposing goals... or even better give them the same goal but vastly different ways to get there and watch the sparks fly. (Anyone who has been married more than 6 months knows how maddening it is when spouse wants to do it "his" way when yours is clearly better. lol)

  7. Misunderstandings as conflict make me scream. I want to shake the characters and say "talk to one another for heaven's sake!" "Grow up!"

    Good advice. This is something brand new writers do a lot.