“Hold everything!” Dr. Hiller shouted as he burst into the room. “[PROTAGONIST’S NAME], my studies conclusively prove that you’ve been dead this entire time!”
As [MALE PROTAGONIST] and [FEMALE PROTAGONIST] shared their first kiss, [MALE PROTAGONIST] slowly lowered his hand from her face and gently cupped her breast, then her other breast, then, to his astonishment, yet another breast.
Suddenly, [PROTAGONIST] noticed darting shadows in the corner of the ballroom. Ninjas!
“Wait a minute,” said [PROTAGONIST]. “So, as I understand it, [RECAP MAJOR PLOT POINTS OF NOVEL SO FAR]?”
“Yes,” replied [MINOR CHARACTER].
Note: This is not necessarily thrilling, but writers usually underestimate the importance of frequent plot recaps. No one likes coming back to a book after setting it down for a month and having to re-read the whole thing.
“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.
[PROTAGONIST] grimly shook his head, knowing that his plan was not working, and also that the person reading this book has no idea that right now there is a Mad About You marathon on TV.
Note: This is a long shot, but if it works, the reader will be totally freaked out.
“Does this mean we’re breaking up?” [MALE PROTAGONIST] asked, struggling to keep his voice from breaking.
“I think so,” [FEMALE PROTAGONIST] whispered, as tears rolled down her cheek. “I just think we’ve grown apart … I’m so sorry.”
[MALE PROTAGONIST] slowly nodded, and his thoughts briefly flitted to the day they first met, that summer after freshman year, when the world seemed to BOO!
Note: Ideally, this ending should be used in conjunction with some sort of timed firecracker device hidden in the book’s binding. Talk to your publisher.
The crowd suddenly hushed. There, in the doorway, stood the evil Colonel Maldefore.
Note: Colonel Maldefore does not need to be a major character in your novel for this ending to work. In fact, the thrilling effect may be greater if he just randomly shows up every now and then.
[PROTAGONIST] walked down the shore. The wind was howling, and the first drops of rain had begun to splatter into the sand.
Note: On the opposite page is a notice from the government stating that the act of purchasing your novel has bound the reader to a two-year term of service in the U.S. Army. The reader is ordered to appear at the nearest recruiting office within 24 hours.