How do I decide on the right ending for my story?

“You have to pick the right ending and tell it with conviction,” the Muse said.

I hadn’t written all morning.

I kept sitting there and staring out the window.

Don’t know what I expected to see.

It was dark.

The Muse was staring out the window, too.

He didn’t stare long.

He gets bored in a hurry.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“I’m at a crossroads,” I said.


“In my novel?”

“What’s wrong?”

He acted as if he cared.

I didn’t believe it for a moment.

“I’m near the end,” I said.

He nodded.

“It’s about time,” he said.

I nodded.

“I don’t know which way to go,” I said.

“What has you stumped?”

“I have two different endings in mind.”

“Pick the one that work’s best.”

“I’m afraid to choose that one.”


“It’s a sad ending.”

“Is it the most believable?”

“It’s really the only ending that works.”

The Muse kept staring.

He waited for the darkness to grow light.

It didn’t.

“What’s the other ending?” he asked.

“It’s a happy ending.”

“What kind of novel are you writing?”

“It’s not a mystery this time.”

“You writing romance?”

The Muse sounded incredulous.

I shrugged. “The story has some romance in it.”

“Some sex?”

“A little.”

“Well, one thing’s for certain.”

“What’s that?”

“You have to pick the right ending and tell it with conviction,” the Muse said.

“How do I decide?”

“Easy.” The Muse smiled. “Here’s the decision you have to make. Should you tell the story the way you want to tell it,” he said, “or should you tell your story the way the reader wants to read it.”

I nodded.

“What I think doesn’t count.”

“It never did,” the Muse said.

A bird was singing.

The morning wasn’t so dark anymore.

The Muse sat back and smiled.

I hate it when he smiles.

But I followed his advice, and here is the ending I wrote for Back Side of a Blue Moon. A gusher of oil is spilling down around Doc and Eudora. Doc is speaking:

            “You know,” he told Eudora as he leaned against the shattered rig floor, “I always hoped I’d find it. I always wanted to find it. I always dreamed of finding it. After a while, I feared it might not even exist, not for me anyway. I figured I was simply destined to go through life and never find it or know what it feels like. But I can touch it. I can taste it. For once in a lifetime, my life somehow feels like it might mean something after all.”

            “I believed you even when I had my doubts,” Eudora said softly.

            “It was here all the time,” Doc said, “here on the back side of a blue moon.”

            Eudora placed her head against his chest. “I knew you would find oil,” she said softly. “I knew it all the time.”

            Doc held her close and gently kissed the bruises on her face.

            “I wasn’t talking about oil,” he said.

Please click HERE to find Back Side of a Blue Moon on Amazon.

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