Monday’s Friend: J Q Rose

Today I am pleased to welcome fellow MuseItUp author J Q Rose to the blog.

By J Q Rose

Hi Sara Jayne and Readers. I am delighted to be here today.

As a reader, I have a pet peeve when it comes to reading books or watching movies. I bet you do too. I like to have a satisfying ending to the book. (That doesn’t mean every book has to have a happy ending.) I get pretty frustrated with the author/movie maker when they draw me into the beginning of the story, but don’t deliver on the end.

As writers we always work hard to make the first sentence in a story pop to hook the reader. Do you put as much thought into writing the ending of your story? After all, the ending is a reward to the reader for finishing the book, and it should tie up all the loose ends of the sub-plots and main plots in a satisfactory way. When the reader closes the book, she should be happy she spent the time in those pages with your characters and story.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am a semi-pantser and a semi-plotter. I scribble out a few plans for the plot line, and then I begin writing. This kind of mini-outline keeps me focused on the story so I don’t get carried away with writing scenes that have no reason to be there.

The big question is, do I know the ending for the story before I begin writing it? Yes, I have an idea, but by the time I get to the ending it may change from my original conception.

In Coda to Murder I switched the killer in the blink of an eye. I didn’t even suspect the person until I’d written almost the entire story! See? The mystery was even a mystery to me until the end.

I’ve listed a few things I believe an ending should do for a reader. You are welcome to leave a comment with more suggestions to add to the list. Thank you.

• All readers want a satisfying ending where all sub-plots and major plot questions are answered.
• The ending should be plausible. After reading the ending, don’t have the reader wonder how in the world is that possible.
• Don’t you hate those unbelievable stories where the person wakes up at the end and we readers discover it was all a dream?
• Do not leave the reader hanging in order to sell the next book in the series. (Refer to the first bullet point.) If the reader falls in love with the characters, of course she will look up the sequel to the stories. After investing my time into reading a book, I get grumpy when I discover the answer may be in the next book. Or will I have to buy a third book to wrap up all the loose ends from the previous two books? I like each book to be a stand-alone. In Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum twenty book series she ties up the loose ends in every book. Her characters relationships keep readers coming back for the next adventure.
• Achieving a balance in revealing the answers to all the questions brought up through the story line is difficult. Authors need not race to reveal the ending because the reader will feel cheated of the emotional buildup, but we shouldn’t drag it out with re-telling the entire plot either.
• Spend as much time on the ending as you do on the first paragraph. Your readers will love you for it.

Coda To Murder 200x300Tagline for CODA TO MURDER

Pastor Christine Hobbs never imagined she would be caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.


Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.

Detective Cole Stephens doesn’t want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.

Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?


MuseItUp Publishing
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Get CODA TO MURDER free for a limited time only!  See the code below to learn how to get your copy.



After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction writing with her mysteries, Sunshine Boulevard and Coda to Murder released by MuseItUp Publishing. Blogging, reading, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. Spending winters in Florida with her husband allows Janet the opportunity to enjoy the life of a snowbird. Summer finds her camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.
Connect with J.Q. Rose online at
J.Q. Rose blog
Girls Succeed blog
Author website
J. Q. Rose Amazon Author Page

You Tube Book Trailer–



17 comments so far

  1. Meg Amor on

    Aloha, Thanks for that. I enjoyed that. I couldn’t agree more with every single point. 🙂 I do hate it when I get to the end and I feel that the author has gone…oh thank God, I’m finally at the end. Then it’s almost like they’ve scribbled out any old thing. I had that recently with an author I’d read a lot of over the years and I was quite annoyed with it.

    Good luck with the book. Looking good!

    Aloha Meg 🙂

    • J.Q. Rose on

      Aloha, Meg. I know when I’m writing I want to get to the end I want to just hurry up and finish it. So happy my crit group lets me know to slow down. LOL..Thanks for stopping by.

  2. J.Q. Rose on

    Sara-Jayne, thanks so much for hosting me today. Looking forward to readers adding their ideas about endings to the list.

  3. sayssara on

    Thank you, Meg, for stopping by and commenting. JQ, you make some wonderful points about endings. If a book doesn’t end properly I feel cheated (and I could name one or two). At a panel I was on this past weekend at SF Weekender there was a discussion about plotting. One writer on the panel is a meticulous plotter, another was a ‘pantser’. The plotter made the point that you have to plot to be able to end properly. I think she might have a point!

    • J.Q. Rose on

      Sara, I think cheated is the correct word to describe how a reader feels when the ending is not satisfying So true.

  4. HFBrainerd on

    Great post, JQ! I love that you didn’t suspect your “bad guy” until you were almost done with the book. As one of your readers, I appreciated this!

    • J.Q. Rose on

      Hi Heather, yes, I had planned for it to be another character, but this one made the plot even juicier.

  5. Penny Estelle on

    Wonderful post JQ. Such great input. thanks so much for sharing.
    I have Coda to Murder downloaded and can hardly wait to get to it!

    • J.Q. Rose on

      Yay, good news to hear you are going to read the story. Thanks for stopping in and letting me know.

  6. Helena Fairfax on

    Hi JQ, great post. I agree with all your points. As a reader I get invested in a story, and there’s nothing worse than feeling cheated at the end. Sometimes it feels as though the author has invested a lot of time getting readers hooked with the opening, and then rushed the ending. It’s so disappointing when that happens! I loved Coda to Murder and never guessed until the end who the killer was!

    • J.Q. Rose on

      Helena, you agree with all my points? That’s good. I think we as writers do spend a lot of time on the first chapter and then are so relieved to get to the end we just want to get it over!! That’s where I am now with my WIP. I know the killer, but have a lot of loose ends to tie up and that takes time. Thanks for stopping in today.

  7. Susan Bernhardt on

    Hi JQ. I agree with you. I want a satisfying ending to a book, not a continuation. I recently read a book, a 10 star book on a scale of 1-5 stars but there was no end. You had to read the next book. I think everything should be tied up in the end.

    Also in my mysteries, I don’t often know who murderer is until the story is written. I just finished my first draft of the Kay Driscoll mysteries and I changed the murderer twice. But I knew what would happen in the end, although there need to be more of a twist. That’s what revisions are for.

    Thank you for this post. Best wishes.


    • J.Q. Rose on

      Thanks, Susan. Yes, I just finished your Kay Driscoll mystery and you had me guessing right to the end. Fun to know even you had a to make the changes. Isn’t it great to be a writer and play with characters’ lives?

      • Susan Bernhardt on

        I just downloaded your mystery. 🙂

  8. Joan Curtis on

    Thanks for this great blog. I just Tweeted it. What I loved is the way JQ advised about paying close attention to the endings.

    Of course, John Grisham doesn’t seem to do that. At least he didn’t in his first runaway hit, the Firm. Later, when my husband was reading the Pelican Brief, I asked him, “Which Caribbean Island are the characters going to runaway to this time.” Yep, the endings of both books were disappointing.

    And then there was Gone Girl. I not only disliked the book, but the ending was horrible. Looking at JQ’s tips, particularly: The ending should be plausible. After reading the ending, don’t have the reader wonder how in the world is that possible.Gone Girl left me very frustrated as a reader.

    Indeed things change as we write, but the ending must tie everything up. I strive to do that in my books!

    • J.Q. Rose on

      Hi Joan, I have never read a Grisham book. I guess I shouldn’t base a book on watching the movie because the book is always better..or so it seems. How disappointing for you…yep, impossible endings are so disappointing. Thanks so much for leaving a comment.

  9. marsharwest on

    Hey, Sara and JQ. I admire you folks who don’t know who the bad guy is. Maybe that’s more common to mystery writers than suspense. I know the bad guy. He (Mine have all been “he”, but I’ve read a few women who were every bit as awful as my bad guys!) has a point of view. The reader gets to see into his mind. Usually he has a good reason (at least in his mind) for what he’s doing. And then I’m a plotter who only pantses a little. I’m not one of those colored post-it-note plotters, but I’ve got more than an idea. Usually my suspense part ends first and then the romance gets tied up.It doesn’t have to be that way, but mine have all been like that. Then I also (and I get this is a bit schmaltsy–never thought so until now–I use the title of the book in someway at the end. Probably the best was in my first book, Vermont Escape. It’s not bad in Truth Be Told. I just remembered how I did it in Second Chances and I like it.

    For those of you who haven’t read CODA, you are in for a treat. JQ has a great mystery and will keep you turning those pages. (Haven’t gotten to the other one, but am looking forward to it.)

    One last thing, for me. I want a HEA. I don’t need a wedding, but I need to feel it’s all worked out. The folks writing a series have a tough job to find that middle ground of tying up loose ends, but letting something remain. Second Chances is the first of a 4 parter. But each book is a stand alone. A different friend plays the heroine role. We get a hint of what her problem will be in the book before her book. I’ll pay special attention to getting the majority of those loose ends tied up. I don’t think I realized how strongly some people feel about that. Sorry for the length. I’m trying not to blog so much, so I can work on the WIP. Apparently, it all spued out here. 🙂 Good post. I’ll be sharing.

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