Of course the point at which a short story ends is very different from the point at which a novel ends. A novel usually provides resolution where a short story ends with, of just after the climax.
Even so, as a reader, I get very frustrated when a story or novel doesn’t end well. Some of the types of ending that annoy me most are as follows.
The story runs on – often happens in short stories where the writer writes on beyond the story’s natural end. I’ve done this myself often enough :-)
The story fizzles out – almost as if the writer got bored and didn’t really know how to end it. I get really annoyed with these.
Loose ends are left hanging – OK if they are part of the set up for a series or sequel, but really annoying if they are just the writer being sloppy.
So what makes for a good ending? Well for me the best ones are those that resonate and haunt me for the rest of the day. When you get that feeling that you don’t want to pick up another book just yet. That’s when I’ve read a truly satisfying ending.
Of course, it’s one thing to spot these, quite another thing to pull it off myself. So did I manage it? I’ll tell you when I get there!