Possible endings

As I’m currently working on what could (in some vague way) be considered a political thriller (maybe…) I found McSweeny’s article on endings I could use to be exceedingly helpful.
I especially like this one:

“By the way,” [PROTAGONIST] said with a knowing smile, “did I happen to mention that I’m black?”
Note: This ending exploits the white bias of the reader’s imagination, and works best if you do not give away the surprise early. Be sure not to give the protagonist any stereotypical “black” characteristics, which you really should be trying to avoid anyway.

3 thoughts on “Possible endings

  1. I have a character in my book who is black . . . and I thought I made that pretty clear. He ends up with a white girl though, so apparently that makes people think he’s white. I mentioned something about him being black to my sister the other day and she was totally surprised. So then I asked my mom if she knew that and she was shocked too. She turns to my brother and asks him if he knows what this character looks like and–good comprehending 15 year old that he is–he said, “Oh yeah. He’s a big black guy with a big sword.”
    At least somebody picked up on it.
    Funny article.:)
    Maprilynne

  2. Jaye – There are already too many ninjas in Washington DC, it doesn’t need any more.
    Aprilynne – That’s a funny story. At the other end of the spectrum is one of my readers who requested extensive biographical information about a character that was totally outside the use of the novel. Sort of like a person’s bio at a dating site.

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